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 BabyShe can be followed on Twitter.


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Comments [12]

John Jackson from Central New Jersey

Gaffes are one thing ("... put food on their families..." G.W.Bush) and mistakes due to ideological blinders is another. Ms. Bachmann is frequently and often called out on these. Ms. Palin is likewise called out, too. They seem to both have a problem of engaging their mouths before their mind is in gear.

Memory and the ability to accurately recall facts is part of what makes a good decision maker. Logic, empiricism, the scientific method...these things are more important to me than belief or faith.

All other things being equal, which I recognize they rarely are, I'll take a leader who has a firm memory of what is and what is not over one who, too often has shown, that they do not.

grasp on

Aug. 31 2011 10:44 AM
Ron Lewenberg from Manhattan

Calling Republicans stupid goes back to liberals attacking President Eisenhower. Seriously, they thought that 5-Star General and former Columbia President Ike was stupid. Professor Richard Hofstadter famously said that there is no conservative intellectual tradition in America. Evidently the author of "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" was too lazy to read a copy of National Review, or anything written by Russel Kirk or Richard Weaver, and yet this learned man set the intellectual tone in America for 50+ years.

The New Class calls us stupid, because they are too lazy to debate, and because they dare not expose themselves to anything that would threaten the ersatz cosmopolitan oikophobia.

Aug. 29 2011 03:38 PM
Karol from NYC

Here's a piece from Politico today "Is Rick Perry dumb?" The proof seems to be that he had assistance with writing his book (as if Barack Obama didn't) and a couple of bitter Democrats saying he's "not bright." Imagine a similar piece written about *any* Democrat.

Aug. 29 2011 10:08 AM
Marcello from Brooklyn

While Democrats bend over backwards to appear as the party of people without spine, the Republican Party is traditionally the unholy alliance of people without heart and people without brain.
That much is elementary...
The GOP is, above all, the party of people whose only mission in life is to cater to the interests of a very rich and powerful minority of the population by implementing policies that go against the interests of the majority. While that is obviously problematic in a system ruled my majority vote, conservatives know that through propaganda, message manipulation (read Fox news) and pure lying, they can steer public opinion to believe absolutely anything!
This is not a peculiarity of the American right though. Everywhere at anytime in history, the better educated, more informed and more cosmopolitan urban population has moved forward historical progressive achievements while the peripheral and rural areas are strongholds of conservatism and obscurantism. During the fall of Communism, Romania's dictator Nicolae Ceausescu transported thousands of peasants and miners from the countryside to crush the revolts started by Bucharest's citizens.
Not by chance, universities are always centers of progressive thinking.
What is peculiar to the current american situation is that while until recently the heartless minority has always managed to swindle the brainless majority to do what they want without giving them a whole lot. Now the idiots have taken over the asylum as demonstrated by the rise of the Tea Party of which Michelle Bachmann is the perfect embodiment.
(Continues below)

Aug. 28 2011 08:30 PM
Marcello from Brooklyn

As for Markowicz, if anybody is wondering to what of these categories she belongs, I would invite those interested to check her previous post on (hear hear...) the “global warming and evolution hoaxes” (are conservatives talking about Science comparable to nuns talking about sex?...).
In that latest piece of enlightenment, KM recycles the same jaw-dropping conservative argument that, since climate change and evolution are “theories” then it's ok to somehow doubt their foundation.
Obviously the fact that one cannot axiomatically prove something (a theory) does not make it less real since any scientific assertion is above all based on the principle of causality. There is no way to prove that climate change is man-made just like there is no way to prove that tomorrow the sun will rise.
Aside from this though, her really fantastic statement was that climate change advocates “are people involved in a business, like any other business, where their cash flow depends on certain outcomes”.
In her pathetic attempt to parrot Upton Sinclair, she flips reality on its head by conveniently overlooking the fact that denial of climate change lines-up with the gigantic economic interests of one of the biggest and more powerful industries on the planet: oil and fossil fuels.
The huge economic constituency represented by this industry is on the side of denying climate change not the other way around! Who does really benefit from pushing the climate change “hoax” if it were just that? Polar bears? Or maybe there is a worldwide conspiracy of hundreds of mad scientists from all over the world waiting to enrich themselves by lying about man-made climate change! I can see how that could be a rally easy and practical way to make a buck...

Aug. 28 2011 08:28 PM
Ken Kern

Don't get bogged down in momentary errors. If a rich person convinces a poor person that cutting the rich person's taxes will help the poor person, that poor person is stupid.

Aug. 26 2011 09:57 AM

Dear Ms. Markowicz;

"What's Really Behind the 'Bachmann is Stupid' Theme? The Usual Liberal Smugness"

I would expect to hear your topic line used by talk show hosts just before a commercial break. It's a generic 'teaser'.

'What's Really Behind the < action, statement or 'issue' to be identified with a group >? The Usual < group identity and pejorative characteristic to be assigned to group >!*

Though not given to this style of 'discussion', I suspect I could fill in the blanks and provide supporting 'evidence' for almost any person, group and characteristic you might care to mention.

* Exclamation point mine.

Aug. 25 2011 08:21 AM
Karol from NYC

Jesse, if you seriously haven't heard anyone call Bachmann or Perry stupid then I'd love to switch Facebook and Twitter timelines with you because mine erupt every time a Republican misspeaks. I linked to a google search of the currently popular thing to say "Perry makes Bush look like a genius" and here's a link to every *major* news outlet carrying the very important information that Bachmann flubbed Elvis's birthday and deathday:

Aug. 24 2011 05:10 PM
Solomon Kleinsmith from Omaha, NE

I don't see any evidence to suggest she's stupid... she's just disconnected from reality on a lot of things.

Aug. 24 2011 04:51 PM

It's funny how you were able to link to articles on major news sites for all the comments you claim were "ignored," but you can't provide one link to someone calling Bachmann or Perry stupid because of their gaffes.

Aug. 24 2011 04:26 PM

As I recall, Quayle was quizzing students on spelling words the teacher had provided, and simply read the spelling the way the teacher had written it. Should he have known better? Yes. Should he have embarrassed the teacher in front of the students? The AFT, UFT, etc. would have been outraged!

Aug. 24 2011 03:51 PM
Patrick from Minneapolis

In the spirit of this article I would like to add that Joe Biden makes Dan Quayle look like Albert Einstein.

Aug. 24 2011 03:43 PM

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