It has been a fairly regular feature of Montana Headlines to engage in honest self-analysis of the right side of the political spectrum. After all, does it really hurt to admit that those on the left are smarter, better educated, more sophisticated, better read, more widely traveled, etc.? Why argue with the obvious, after all? Certainly here at Montana Headlines, with manure still clinging to our boots, we know our place.
A commenter in the last post compared Republicans to Nazis, but then really decided to get serious and go for the jugular, shaming us for our "reflexive" support for a "beauty queen" who is "dumb as can be." The Nazi thing hurts, but really, to that last part all we can say is an emphatic "ouch!"
It must be acknowledged that it has been some time since Montana Headlines has forthrightly confessed our intellectual inferiority, so it is time for one of our periodic exercises in verbal self-flagellation for our sins against reason.
After all, what are we thinking when we support someone who went to North Idaho College and then made the big move up to the (drum roll, please) University of Idaho (using scholarship money from the Miss Alaska pageant -- how embarrassing is that?) Especially when we could have as our next President someone who graduated from Columbia and from Harvard Law? With a choice like that, there really shouldn't be any point to even holding an election. Oh yeah, that white-haired guy went to the Naval Academy (a reactionary thing to do in and of itself,) but graduated near the bottom of his class, so he really doesn't help.
After all, as Bob Herbert decrees in the august pages of the New York Times, Palin is "dimwitted." Well, that settles it.
Actually, Herbert and the many others who heap scorn on Sarah Palin (and by association, all of us Neanderthals on the right) could just as well save their breath. After all, we already know that we aren't as bright, educated, and sophisticated as our peers on the left (or perhaps it is being presumptuous to call them our peers -- perhaps "counterparts" would be a more appropriately humble word.)
We just tend not to be paralyzed by insecurity, even though we probably should by all rights be crawling into corners in shame because of our paleolithic mindsets. We've seemed somehow to figure out that our lack of intellectual sophistication doesn't have to keep us from becoming productive citizens -- running businesses that keep people employed, becoming successful professionals, achieving financial security for our families, reaching positions of leadership in the military, or even (most shocking of all) winning elections and effectively governing. In this enterprise, we are of course aided by our counterparts, as Tony Blankley recently put it when quizzed by the 3 left-leaning members of a public radio talk-show panel:
One of the reasons the Republicans have done so well in national elections over the last 30 years is that we’ve been blessed with a liberal media and a liberal Democratic party that cannot help but sneer at about, you know, 65 percent of American culture, the people of small town America.
So we benefit from that, and even the stumblebums can figure out how to take advantage of snobs who are our opponents. And it’s sort of remarkable that they can’t restrain themselves even for a season.
We as stumblebums nevertheless keep getting re-elected...
One of his lefty opponents on the panel protested loudly when Blankley made the point that Sarah Palin's experience level was comparable to that of Barack Obama. The evidence that he cited for Obama's superiority? Why, Obama's impressive education and travel experience. Seriously. Well, that really settles it.
But when you look at it historically, he has a point. After all, if you took a poll of university professors, who would be consdidered to be smarter and more intellectually sophisticated, and which was was the hapless bumbler?
Ike or Adlai Stevenson?
Kennedy or Nixon?
Johnson or Goldwater?
Nixon or Humphrey?
Nixon or McGovern?
Carter or Ford?
Carter or Reagan?
Reagan or Mondale?
Bush I or Dukakis?
Clinton or Bush I?
Clinton or Dole?
Bush II or Gore?
Bush II or Kerry?
Obama or McCain?
Really isn't very fair, is it? I'd like to hear from anyone on the left who wouldn't choose the Democrat in every single one of those elections -- or at best declare certain matchups to be more or less a tie. (Diabolically shrewd doesn't count -- we're just talking intellectual depth that would make the faculty club swoon.) After all, if the Republican in question were all that bright, he wouldn't have been a Republican, correct? And to be fair, while we would probably choose or defend the Republican in each of those races, it wouldn't be because of a belief that he would conduct a better graduate seminar in the philosophy of conflict resolution.
And yet, the electoral history is, in spite of it all, surprisingly impressive for those inferior Republican candidates.
The link escapes us right now, but someone recently wrote that for the first time in his life, Sen. Obama is running against actual Republicans -- and he is shocked to be up against opponents who don't care what the editors of the New York Times or Washington Post think. He also has the simultaneous misfortune of encountering, also for the first time in his political life, an electorate where well over half of the voters will be people who likewise really don't care what smart set thinks.
That has to be a disconcerting experience for someone who believes that a 100% ADA rating is a path to post-partisan politics. Maybe on the south side of Chicago -- but in the rest of the country, not so much.
We hayseeds have an annoying habit of showing up to vote, and perhaps that is why a Democratic candidate has only reached the 50% mark in the popular vote exactly twice since WWII. Wouldn't it be something, in a year that was supposed to be a Democratic landslide of 1964 proportions, if the Republicans stumblebummed themselves to yet one more victory?