Opinion: What's Really Behind the 'Bachmann is Stupid' Theme? The Usual Liberal Smugness
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 02:21 PM
If it's a political season, as it always seems to be these days, there comes the inevitable chorus of smug liberals proclaiming a conservative candidate "stupid."
Did you hear, Michelle Bachmann wished Elvis a happy birthday on the anniversary of his death? What an idiot! Did you hear she referred to Russia as the Soviet Union? She probably hasn't heard that the Soviet Union collapsed. She's so dumb! Rick Perry? Why, he makes George W. Bush seem smart! Yuk, yuk.
Gaffes by Republicans are spread far and wide as evidence by liberals that these people with whom they disagree are not just wrong on the issues, they're stupid.
Gaffes by Democrats, meanwhile, especially the brilliant President Obama, are mostly ignored. Whether it's Obama proclaiming that we have 57 states, signing the guestbook at Westminister Abbey with the year 2008 in 2011, saying Kentucky is closer geographically to Arkansas than to Illinois, referring to his Christian faith as his Muslim faith, specifying that he spoke to living past presidents, insulting the Special Olympics, and the list goes on and on, the gaffes are brushed off as simple misspeaks by an otherwise very intelligent man.
And those are just the verbal flubs! Barack Obama has made statements that would label a Republican that other favorite adjective - "crazy" - so fast that they'd never be able to recover. Sarah Palin never actually said "I can see Russia from my house" (that was a line on Saturday Night Live but for some reason it's not "stupid" for liberals to believe she said it because a character playing her said it on a comedy show) but Barack Obama did actually say that Iran doesn't pose a threat to the U.S. because it's a "tiny country" with a small defense budget.
A Republican would end their career the day they delivered so silly a comment less than a decade after 9/11. Or imagine if a sitting Republican president blamed unemployment on... ATM machines. Yes, Barack Obama actually did this.
If I start picking on the dumb comments on Vice President Joe Biden we'll be here until winter but most recently he did actually say that he wouldn't second-guess China's repulsive one-child policy which leads to dead girl babies in the streets. And Republicans are the dumb ones.
The appeal of proclaiming other people as dumb is very simple, of course. Calling a successful three-term Congresswoman, who previously worked as a tax attorney, or a three-term governor of Texas who presided over one of the few economic success stories in the country, "stupid" makes the person delivering the insult feel better about their own lives.
Why, I'm smarter than these two people running for president! Are they, though? Probably not. It's impossible in a 24-7 media culture to achieve the kind of success these candidates have achieved while being as dumb as liberals would like to believe they are. In general this kind of, ahem, misunderestimation works in the favor of the Republican candidate.
The simpleton Ronald Reagan was re-elected in a landslide and that dummy George W. Bush soundly beat the haughty John Kerry. Meanwhile George HW Bush lost his re-election despite the grudging admission by Democrats that he was pretty smart. Maybe Dan "he misspelled potato, what a dingbat" Quayle should have been at the top of the ticket to have guaranteed a win.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.