Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 17, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

EVIL OR STUPID?....Jon Chait is reading Ari Fleischer's book and trying to make sense of it. An acquaintance provides the key:

While I was slogging through the book, I happened to be e-mailing with a conservative I know. My correspondent thought my Ari-as-virtuoso theory was silly: "When Ari worked on the Hill he was widely considered to be a moron even by other press secretaries, who are mostly a bunch of ignorant dolts themselves." But how, I asked, could he have run circles around the Washington press corps? "Ari is a genius like the [Peter] Sellers character in Being There," he replied. "He was too stupid and too ignorant to know he was telling lies."

Ah, the age old "evil or stupid?" question. I usually side with stupid on the statistical grounds that there's way more stupidity in the world than outright evil and Fleischer's book seems to provide some pretty good evidence for this in his case.

Of course, Fleischer was also a pretty successful press secretary, so perhaps IQ tests will become standard fare for future nominees: score above 90 and you're disqualified. After all, if it works for NRO financial writers, why not press secretaries?

Kevin Drum 7:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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