[...] Rick Perry is the spitting image of George W. Bush, but with all remaining nuance stripped out. He is the Bush id, with any pretenses at compassion or sincerity stripped away, leaving just the dumb, mean-spirited parts.
I suspect that will have more appeal to conservative die-hards than pundits are currently willing to admit. There is a hunger for mean, among the conservative base, and a hunger for punishing the nebulous other, whether that means the unemployed, the poor, the sick, the old, union workers, public sector workers, immigrants, disaster victims, Muslims, or anyone else. Rick Perry may suit them in a way that a Bachmann, Santorum, or Cain could not. He is just as fringe as any of those tea party favorites, but he has something each of them lacks: He looks like a Republican president. Specifically, he looks like their most recent Republican president.
The Republican base isn't looking for a new Reagan: Reagan was too moderate. They're looking for a new George W. Bush.
Only not so intellectual this time.