Politics used to be about smart people. It used to be about people who understood global issues as well as local need. People with higher education and higher aspiration for public service than the rest of us. Presidents and those who would pursue the office would be of a learned type with a deep understanding of history, economics, and even a pretty good handle on the English language. But somewhere along the line we have lost a grip on the importance of intelligence in this country. It started when the Foxygen started flowing in the late 1990s. When the esteemed fourth estate of media became a shill game and a propaganda racket. Suddenly stupid became relevant again. Enter the catalyst for the dumbing down of America, George W. Bush.
I could get into the quotes. You know the ones. The ones that show the true mental incompetence of our 43rd president. It's almost too easy; unfair. I know when it all changed in this country. During the 2000 campaign for president we had a clearly superior candidate in Al Gore. There of course was Clinton fatigue and Gore did not run a particularly smart campaign but things crystallized for the intellectually challenged when a poll was conducted asking which candidate you would rather have a beer with. I remember thinking I would prefer that my president don't drink personally. Then I thought back to my days in the bar and shuddered to think of someone in there who I would want to see as president.
But George W. Bush won that poll, hands down. Then the poll got Foxified. All we heard from that point on was how Gore was an elitist and Bush was a down to earth-guy next door-let's go have ourselves brewskie kinda guy! So what if he doesn't actually have any foreign policy experience and can't find China on a map? So what if he went AWOL from the cushy gig his father got him in the National Guard? So what that he can't form a coherent sentence with two hands and a thesaurus? We all know what happened next. Bush's cousin was working the election desk for Fox and called it for Georgie even though it was not decided and when the smoke cleared the Supremes stole the election. No sour grapes. Just historical fact for anyone who doesn't get their news from Fox.
And then we suffered for eight years. Eight years of watching our president struggle to find the door to exit a room. Eight years of bumbling and fumbling with basic grammar and behavior. We had a chance in 2004 but once again the Foxygen was flowing and Kerry was the new elitist. We watched as Fox allowed people to destroy the service record of John Kerry while Bush just smiled and said, "Wasn't me!" Stupid was still in. It was considered "folksy", whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.
The Bush Effect is still being felt today. It is what gave life to someone like Sarah Palin. Don't misunderestimate me. I like Sarah; I really like her. I want her to run for president. Run Sarah, run. For comedic value alone I hope she runs. Can you imagine an Obama -- Palin debate? Mills Lane will have to step in and stop it in the second round. What I love about Sarah Palin is the intricate depths of her stupidity. She isn't just unimpressive. She apparently works very hard at being uninformed. It is almost as if she is some kind of Zen master of ridiculousness. Just when you think she has hit bottom, you find she has another depth to sink to in her un-intellectualism. When she couldn't name any Supreme Court decisions, I gave her a bit of a pass. Then she couldn't name any books she read and I thought wow, this can't get any worse. But then she said the bizarre thing about seeing Russia from her porch to explain her foreign policy bonifides and I realized that we were seeing something special in Sarah Palin. I mean like once in a lifetime special. You would think that your average person who knows nothing would accidentally be right on occasion but she blows right past the laws of logic and scholarly physics. I mean even a broken clock is right twice a day. Even the blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again. But not Princess Sarah. I'm afraid if she ever did find a nut she would call it an apple and regale us for days about how she was technically right.
The latest offense upon the collective acumen occurred in Massachusetts on her never ending, no real purpose, self indulgent bus tour to nowhere. Normally I would summarize but I want you to really digest this comment in its entirety and within context:
"We saw where Paul Revere hung out as a teenager, which was something new to learn. And, you know, he who warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and making sure, as he is riding his horse through town, to send those warning shots and bells, that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free."
Because the fake media think they can Foxify anything they want, there have been "experts" and "historians" lining up the airwaves to try and say that technically Sarah was right. Allow me to be clear. SHE WAS NOT RIGHT. Not at all. Not even a sliver. First of all the entire statement is inaccurate, not just the portion dealing with warning the British, which is especially inaccurate. But again, what do we expect from someone who thinks she can see Yeltsin from her porch and doesn't really read anything? What do we expect from someone who thinks Katie Couric is a tough interviewer and thinks "What did you see on your visit and what will you take away" is a "gotchya" question? Like Jon Stewart said last night, just because the question got you; doesn't mean it was a "gotchya" question.
No one asked her about Paul Revere, history or anything academic at all. They merely asked her how her day went. That is how low intellectually Sarah Palin has set the bar. Asking "How's it going" to a candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America is now akin to trying to trap the poor candidate in a difficult question. But the maddeningly frustrating thing is to watch her then defend the nonsense. She will trot out on her own network, where not only are the questions easy but she gets them ahead of time and try to rewrite history. This is the real problem. It is not just the dumbing down it is the arrogance and disdain for truth and facts. THAT is the dangerous mix. She could have just said, "Obviously I meant warn the colonists." Everyone would have poked a little fun and went on with their lives. Instead, Sarah Palin wants us to believe that she was on a deeper intellectual plane than the rest of the country. That she actually meant that Revere was ALSO warning the British that were already in the colonies that they weren't going take the militias arms. Uh-huh. This despite the fact that the quote she gave also included "riding his horse through town" -- "ringing bells" -- and "firing warning shots." Apparently we have discovered what Sarah reads. She must have the only copy of Paul Revere's diary.
Those who follow my writing know that I have been no big fan of Chris Matthews. I think he is paying his liberal penance now for all the selling he did on the Iraq War. But I do like it when he deals with the Palin factor. He calls her "profoundly stupid." In a world of political correctness, it is refreshing to hear someone on television say what we all know and feel. Sarah Palin is profoundly stupid. When Matthews speaks about her you can see he is genuinely insulted as a clear thinking American that she is even allowed into the political discourse. Because while I may not agree with Matthews on everything, he at least remembers when politics was a serious business. He remembers politics before the Bush Effect took hold. Before the horrible poll on who you would rather have a beer with. He remembers when someone like Sarah Palin would have been exposed by the media and cast to the side as simply not credible. Instead, she paints a bus like she is Shirley Partridge meets Ben Franklin and travels across our land to tell us why her inane comments should be taken as historical fact. She has her own "news" channel to back her up of course. To prop her up and try to make her seem relevant. She is not of course. She is not quaint. She is not hocky-momma-grizzley. She is not even mavericky. She is a moron. And I am warning you America, and what the heck -- ill warn the British too -- she is coming.