Jennifer Rubin is a conservative. But she is sick and tired of Republican candidates and office holders who flaunt their ignorance and celebrate unintelligence:
Republicans have sometimes mistaken anti-elitism with anti-smarts. Put differently, Republicans should not have contempt for the voters or for ideas, lest they be judged unworthy of serving in office. It’s one thing to heap scorn on liberal elites who parrot unsupportable leftist dogma or who show contempt for ordinary Americans’ values; it’s quite another to celebrate ignorance. We’ve had two rather appalling examples in 24 hours, which I would suggest, are perfect examples of what conservatives should reject.
After the Florida debate, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Fox passed on a comment from someone she purportedly spoke to after the debate who claimed that the HPV vaccine that Texas Gov. Rick Perry had attempted to make mandatory caused mental retardation. This is complete nonsense. . . .
Then today, Texas Gov. Rick Perry went to Liberty University. It was, at least in part, a celebration of ignorance. The Post’s reporter at the scene Phil Rucker tweeted some of the remarks. Jon Ward at Huffington Post likewise recorded some comments. Things started off on a poor note with Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr. praising Perry’s seccessionist remarks as “gutsy.” Are we to believe now that Perry was serious about secession? Then Perry, apparently deciding to make ads for the Obama campaign, came out with a series of “See how dumb I am?” one-liners. He observed that he needed to pull out a dictionary to see what “convocation” meant. The next knee-slapper: He didn’t have the grades to be a vet, so he became a pilot. And then the real howler: He was in the top 10 in a high school class of 13.
Yes, he was trying to be self-deprecating, but it’s disturbing to see that he thinks being a rotten student and a know-nothing gives one street cred in the GOP. . . .
But what if, for example, a really smart Republican with a great track record, lots of policy ideas and the ability to counteract the stereotype of Republicans ran? Oh, maybe there already is one or two in the race. Maybe there could be more, and perhaps conservatives would be relieved not to have to make excuses for candidates who think ignorance is virtue and intelligence is a vice.
Now it turns out that Gov. Perry at Liberty University ended up giving a very personal, non-political account of his faith. Good for him.
But what bothers me even more than conservatives who are or try to come across as ignorant and unintelligent are CHRISTIANS who are or try to come across as ignorant and unintelligent.
People who act this way are seldom as dumb as they present themselves, or, one would like to hope, they couldn’t have risen to their current stature in life. They are joking, trying to be self-deprecating. (Well, I think Mrs. Bachmann was just firing off the top of her head.) But why is that attractive to some people?