On the individual cases, Perry vs. Obama, there is a better case to be made that Obama has benefited from luck, from others' guilt, from social promotion, and from his instinct to conceal what he really thinks, than Rick Perry has. Perry learned to fly military aircraft, has built an impressive undefeated election record in bona fide contests, and led Texas as that state leads the nation in just about every economic category. In a political blind taste test -- cover their names and political affiliations -- Perry is by far the more impressive of the two.We're to believe that Barack Obama is the smartest man alive (and Hillary Clinton was the smartest woman) even though Obama has a record of failure. Because his policies meet the liberal test for "caring and compassion", he therefore must be smart.
The fact is, east coast elitists are prone to treating anyone not from the east coast or Chicago, or who speaks with a flyover country twang, as their inferiors. And a corollary fact is, East Coast elites tend to treat anyone with Harvard on their resume as automatically brilliant no matter how they actually got into Harvard (unless they're a Republican, in which case the insults fly). Bush was dumb though he attended both Harvard and Yale and was a successful pro baseball team owner and governor; Obama is smart despite his record of failure in the presidency and his lack of real achievement prior to. Reagan was dumb because he went to Eureka College. Perry is dumb because he majored in animal science at Texas A&M.
Meanwhile, Republicans with solid records of achievement and success in office are dumb because they don't believe in rainbows and unicorns. They tried this approach with Ronald Reagan, a successful two term governor of California before he ran for president, against VP Dan Quayle who despite some verbal miscues was no slouch in the intelligence department, against George W. Bush who was a successful businessman and two term governor of Texas (not to mention a fighter-interceptor pilot in the Air National Guard), against Sarah Palin despite success at several levels of government including governor of Alaska, and now against Rick Perry, the three term governor of Texas who has also been very successful in real estate and flew C-130's in the Air Force.
Interestingly, this tactic of calling Republicans "dumb" wasn't used to any significant extent against George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole or John McCain...or for that matter, Mitt Romney. When you're not a solid conservative the left is willing to give you more credit for intelligence, whether valid or not.
The "conservatives are dumb" meme is so predictable that I doubt it will have much effect. Perry has a record of achievement that Obama could only dream of. It won't stick and will only serve to remind voters that the Democrats have no record of achievement to which they can point.