David Harsanyi

If a candidate asserts that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and a "monstrous lie," I may agree (because I read Cato white papers!), but he'd better have some innovative ideas to offer voters instead -- ideas that can pithily and reassuringly convince baby boomers they won't be cracking open dog food canisters to survive in a few years. Decades of reliance on flawed New Deal policies doesn't just end. They need to be reformed or replaced -- unlikely as that is to happen.

When a candidate claims that Medicare is another "fraudulent" system "designed to take in a lot of money at the front and pay out none in the end," he sure is right, but he'd better be able to deftly handle policy questions and transcend talking points -- which it seems to me is all Perry has offered so far.

This requires the only form of intelligence that matters in politics: the ability to synthesize complex ideas and sell them to us.