The Mitt Romney Two-Step

How the former governor can learn to love Iowa and knock off Rick Perry early

Illustration by Ed Nacional for TIME

Conventional wisdom holds that Rick Perry, last week's inevitable GOP presidential nominee, is now toast. Is that correct? Or will the race offer more surprises in the weeks to come?

I'm betting the latter. No doubt Perry has problems. Many of the GOP's fundraising barons fear that a twangy Sun Belt candidate singing the fundamentalist anthems of the Tea Party cannot win a general election, even against an incumbent as weak as Barack Obama.

Also, Perry's early debate performances have not been inspiring. Like a past-his-prime boxer, he has often seemed confused and strangely passive while the other candidates have pounded...