They want someone who can stand up for what they believe in and won't back down under criticism. That's why Palin, despite her occasional self-inflicting wounds, continues to enthrall so many. It's why a carnival barker named Trump rose to the top of the polls for daring to question the birth cert and showing no fear of the consequences. Think of the current GOP names--Romney, Pawlenty, Huntsman, blah.
In this speech Rick Perry grabs a hint of what the electorate wants..
For the record, not sure they want another white conservative Texan who isn't that slick with words, but they definitely don't want a perceived weakling who practically apologizes to the media and left while triangulating their core beliefs to curry favor with the moderate voters. Maybe it's not Perry, but it's certainly someone like him.