You knew it was just a matter of time before the Democrats played their quadrennial election trump card by claiming they (and, by extension, their voters) are — well, you know — smarter than the other side. This has been going on at least since the brilliant Adlai Stevenson lost consecutive elections to the dull-witted Dwight Eisenhower back in the 50s.
It continued through the decades as that “amiable dunce,” Ronald Reagan (as Clark Clifford described him), vanquished two far-more-cerebral opponents, and that vacuous frat boy, George W. Bush, did the same. As one of the latter pair of victims, the well-spoken and nuanced Sen. John Kerry was reported to have put it, “I can’t believe I’m losing to this idiot!”
Now the very smart political writer, Bob Herbert, has ushered in the return of this brilliant strategy — a strategy that has elected a total of two Democratic presidents in the past 40-plus years — by gracing the op-ed pages of the New York Times with this measured observation: “While watching the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson Thursday night, and the coverage of the Palin phenomenon in general, I’ve gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail.”
Writing in the Financial Times, Andrew Ward quotes an Obama supporter at a Manchester, New Hampshire rally as saying, “I just do not trust the American people…I guess it’s like at school, there’s always got to be a bottom 50 percent.” It’s funny how the bottom 50 percent seemed wise enough when the polls were pointing to an Obama victory in November. Now, with momentum favoring the McCain/Palin ticket, apparently half the electorate has begun taking another dose of “stupid pills.”
I watch enough political TV shows featuring talking heads yelling at each other to know there are scores of self-described “Democratic Strategists” out there. It seems to me at least one of them might devise a strategy that doesn’t depend on insulting half the population at the same time they’re asking for their votes because they care so much about them.
Only a real dimwit would fall for that one.