On the question of whether Rick Perry would be a solid general election candidate, which was a topic running around these intertubes yesterday, I strongly side with Matt Yglesias against Kevin Drum: on paper, based on what we know, there's no reason to believe that he'd be a weak general election candidate.
In the event, of course, Perry could turn out to be a dud candidate. If he is, however, he'll likely fail to win the nomination. If he makes it through that hurdle, and barring scandal or some other major shocker, I'd think he'd be as good as anyone. Yglesias is right: reasonably successful (well, at least re-elected) governor of a big state...that's a solid presidential candidate, right there.
There's a clear possibility in my view that GOP nomination politics will be so nutty that the eventual nominee, whoever it is, will be at least somewhat damaged by it; as I've said before, the odds of the Republicans nominating a crazy candidate aren't very high, but the odds of them nominating someone who has said crazy things keep increasing. That applies to Perry, but also to Romney and Pawlenty. The truth is that in a general election, they're all basically interchangeable. Any differences are likely to be around the margins (my guess is the biggest variable would be if religion really does prevent Romney from capturing some votes, but I just don't really see that in a general election). Now, a Bachmann or a Palin or a Cain or a Santorum would stand a good chance of doing worse -- say, 3 to 5 points worse -- than a generic Republican, but Perry? I don't see why.