Political Animal


September 15, 2011 2:25 PM Bolstering anti-intellectual credentials

By Steve Benen

For eight years, just about every time George W. Bush was in the same room as someone with a post-graduate degree, the failed former president would tell the same joke: “I remind people that, like when I’m with Condi I say, she’s the Ph.D. and I’m the C-student, and just look at who’s the president and who’s the advisor.”

Republican crowds always cheered the line, reinforcing the anti-intellectual attitudes that too often dominate conservative thought. The man who succeeded Bush in Austin, and hopes to succeed Bush as the next Republican president, is cut from the same cloth.

As a child, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was dead set on being a veterinarian. “That was my heart’s content. It’s what I always wanted to do,” he said.

Then came a day of reckoning, during the second semester of his sophomore year at Texas A&M University, when he went to see the dean of the veterinary school. His advice: switch to an easier major.

“He said, `Son, I’m looking at your transcript,’” Mr. Perry said. “‘You want to be an animal science major.’”

Perry made the joke during a speech yesterday at Liberty University, a school founded by crazed televangelist Jerry Falwell. The Texas governor didn’t say much about politics, but he spent a fair amount of time talking about what a lousy student he was.

Perry noted, for example, that at his small high school, “I graduated in the top 10 of my graduating class — of 13.” The crowd laughed and applauded.

Jennifer Rubin, a conservative writer at the Washington Post, said Perry’s speech “was, at least in part, a celebration of ignorance.” She added, “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.”

I don’t agree with Rubin on much of anything, but on this, I think she’s on the right track. In Republican politics, there is an anti-intellectual streak. Perry expected to get laughter and applause for doing poorly in school — just as Bush did — and his audience didn’t disappoint.

If this were only a matter of politicians with bad grades decades earlier, it would hardly be worth mentioning. It doesn’t exactly set a good example for young people — “don’t worry too much about working hard in school; you can still reach powerful leadership positions thanks to fundraising, consultants, and attack ads” — but I really don’t much care about Perry’s transcripts.

What matters is what this tells us about anti-intellectualism in Republican politics today, and the fact that the Perry and Bush jokes always generate applause from conservative audiences.

Three years ago, Paul Krugman wrote a memorable column identifying the GOP as “the party of stupid.” The columnist explained, “What I mean … is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: ‘Real men don’t think things through.’”

That was in August 2008. Is there any doubt that the criticism seems even truer today? We see it constantly from congressional Republicans, who seem to have an allergy to reason and evidence, and we’re seeing it more and more at the presidential level. Indeed, Perry isn’t just celebrating anti-intellectualism; he’s living it. He doesn’t care what biologists, climate scientists, economists, historians, or dictionaries have to offer; Perry already has all the information he needs.

The fact that so many millions of voters find this appealing is disconcerting, isn’t it?

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • John Stuart Mill on September 15, 2011 2:34 PM:

    I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.

  • Anonymous on September 15, 2011 2:35 PM:

    You quote Rubin at the Post - "but its disturbing to see that he thinks being a rotten student and a know-nothing gives one street cred in the GOP." Rubin thinks it's disturbing that Perry thinks this...

    What's really disturbing is that Rubin doean't realize IT's TRUE.

  • JMG on September 15, 2011 2:37 PM:

    "One day the American people will achieve their heart's desire, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." -- H. L. Mencken, 1924

  • blondie on September 15, 2011 2:40 PM:

    And that's why, if Perry wins the White House [shudder!], my husband and I are already looking into moving to Massachusetts - I don't want to leave the country, but I'd like to think it will remain an oasis of sanity and intelligence at least for my lifetime.

  • c u n d gulag on September 15, 2011 2:40 PM:

    My Niece just finished her Masters in Oboe Performance/Music Education, with a 3.98 overall average, and just started her Doctorate.

    My Nephew, who just turned 17, is an A student in HS, studying and working hard to get into a good Engineering college, where I know he'll work his ass off trying to get great grades.

    Jeez, I have to tell them that they'd better dumb the Hell down, or they'll never have a chance to be President of the USA.

  • Rachel on September 15, 2011 2:43 PM:

    Today's Republican party reminds me of those pictures of lynchings, where the crowd in the background stands around casually or, worse, laughs while a body swings from a tree. Maybe profound and willful ignorance is how they live with themselves.

  • Gandalf on September 15, 2011 2:45 PM:

    Brawndo it's what plants crave.

    Don't you mindless assholes at Washington Monthly ever get tired of torturing us with captcha?

  • T2 on September 15, 2011 2:48 PM:

    Blondie, correct me if I'm wrong....isn't MA the state where Scott Brown was elected to fill Ted Kennedy's seat? If that's an oasis of sanity, we are in worse trouble than I thought.

    And Rachel, those photos you refer to.....probably a black man swinging from the rope.

  • DAY on September 15, 2011 2:49 PM:

    May I remind everyone that IQ Bell Curve posits 100 as the norm, and for every point above, there is one below?

    Quick: Count the number of your family and friends that are above.

  • Gandalf on September 15, 2011 2:52 PM:

    Blondie you might consider Canada. Two distinct advantages come to mind:Healyh care and better weather as global warming kicks in.

    Oh Washinton monthly for an outfit that pretends to care about democracy I'd bet a vote on captcha would ber 80% against.

  • Sally on September 15, 2011 2:53 PM:

    I would say they're not stupid, just lazy. Stupidity is mental laziness.

  • kevo on September 15, 2011 2:54 PM:

    Perry's anti-intellectual rant boasting of mediocracy in education, and the most recent cheering by a Republican audience regarding putting people to death, has allowed me to see them in a bright light:

    The modern Republican party - The Party of Death and Ignorance! Though both are equally observed no matter what their order of appearance!

    Yes, the ignorant tend to die from stupid things, and yes, death seems to be an obsession to these folks! -Kevo

  • Vince on September 15, 2011 2:56 PM:

    For the politicians in the Republican party, know-nothingism is an invaluable trait. When your party views government as a means to enrich yourself and your pals (I think they call that cronyism), then not having any idea what you are talking about works to your favor. It's no coincidence that both Perry and Bush epitomize the crony tendencies or the Republican party and truly appear to be as dumb as what they play on television.

    As for the rank and file, they are just rubes who are useful foils for the rich overlords they worship as "job creators".

    How rank and file Republicans, who hate government and praise the "free" market, can like and admire a guy like Perry, who has made his fortune through 30 years of public service, is just another example of how truly brain dead stupid the Tea Baggers are.

  • davidp on September 15, 2011 2:57 PM:

    In Germany this was at one time called thinking with the blood.

  • candideinnc on September 15, 2011 2:57 PM:

    The list goes on and on. Look at the pitiful academic career of Palin. John McCain was in the lowest percentile of his graduating class at Annapolis. Then the academic credentials of Bachman and her mail order Ph.D. husband are enough to choke me. And they show no shame or humility for their intellectual failure. I have to assume the Rethugs vote for them because they are intimidated by fact oriented politicians.

  • hells littlest angel on September 15, 2011 2:59 PM:

    There have always been buffoons like Perry. But it's the American people -- or the citizens of Ignorantmotherfuckerland, as I like to call us -- who put them into high office.

    I like Captcha -- it keeps PA spam-free.

  • T2 on September 15, 2011 3:03 PM:

    thank you Vince! Rick Perry - FED UP with the Government, yet has never made one thin dime that didn't come from the government or his daddy's cotton farm.

  • Josef K on September 15, 2011 3:05 PM:

    just look at whos the president and whos the advisor

    Sayeth the man who, if there be any justice in creation, will spend the whole of the afterlife and beyond being endlessly waterboarded by the men and women he led be killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and godsalone know where else.

    But only after he lives long enough to see his family name join the ranks of most damned lineage (the Borgias, Stalin, etc.).

  • Stephen S. Power on September 15, 2011 3:05 PM:

    What struck me more about Rubin's column was that she was suprised by this anti-intellectualism. She says Repubs shouldn't be like this. It's not a matter of should any longer. This is how they've been for years.

  • Neil B on September 15, 2011 3:06 PM:

    A pathetic and unsurprising correlation: dumb student gives street cred among Redumblicans just like for street gangs.

  • AK Liberal on September 15, 2011 3:07 PM:

    @ Gandalf, you vote for Captcha every time you comment. If you really believe that Captcha is a problem, why not vote your conscience?

  • Neil B' on September 15, 2011 3:11 PM:

    Note also the connection to religious fundamentalism: the Bible is there for all simple people to read and understand, so we don't need to care what pointy-headed suedo-intellectuals think. REM the IIRC Muslim fanatic who burned the library at Alexandria because who needed books other than the Koran?

  • Gandalf on September 15, 2011 3:12 PM:

    AK liberal because I like the site I stay with it. By commenting I'm not agreeing with captcha. Also to stop commenting on captcha and other issues would be akin to giving up. A trait that seems to be all to prevalent in society today.

    So saying- fuck captcha!!

  • jzap on September 15, 2011 3:14 PM:

    How ironic. If you click through to the Jennifer Rubin post, you'll see in the right-hand margin one of WaPo's Daily Opinion Polls. . . .

    Is the current Republican presidential field too anti-intellectual?

    80% Yes

  • Dennis on September 15, 2011 3:14 PM:

    After 19 years in Catholic schools, I've come to the same conclusion as the GOP on one thing, at least, that religion is a great excuse for stupidity.

  • Josef K on September 15, 2011 3:16 PM:

    The fact that so many millions of voters find this appealing is disconcerting, isnt it?

    The only notable difference between this generation and ones anywhere within the last 250 years I've seen is that this generation knows how to Twitter and program a DVR.

    Beyond that? We seem to be the same suicidal, genocidal, mindlessly aggressive society that fought for its independence from Great Britain and then decimated the First Nations, blew each other up over whether or not Africans were our fellow humans or just personal property, and continue to gun each other down in wholesale violence.

    Gods but I feel old.

  • SYSPROG on September 15, 2011 3:18 PM:

    Can you spell S.A.R.A.H P.A.L.I.N (4 colleges, barely passed)...J.O.H.N Mc.C.A.I.N (bottom 10% of his class, a real cut up!)...Politics is the last refuge of the very dumb. What is disturbing is the stupid point to people like Palin and McCain with degrees and say 'looky! They have a college degree!...then the MSM comes out all solemn like and says 'Oh you pesky liberals! They are ACTUALLY very, very smart and you 'intellectuals' denigrate them at your risk.' And then the very stupid say 'YEP...I TOLD you they were smart!' It's self defeating.

  • Mark on September 15, 2011 3:21 PM:

    I agree with almost the entire post except the implication that an animal science degree is a joke. I have undergraduate degrees in both econ and animal science, and animal science was far more challenging. The major required coursework that included anatomy and physiology, biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry and basic physics.

  • marty on September 15, 2011 3:27 PM:

    It goes further than just celebrating their ignorance. I can't take credit for this, I only read it somewhere, but Bush's supposed "self-deprecating" remarks about his scholastic shortcomings were described as actually as sign of contempt in that there are parents who would give their right arm for their kids to get the education Bush squandered- private schools, elite colleges, etc. and yet he could joke about it.

    The GOP - damn ignorant and proud of it!

  • Anonymous on September 15, 2011 3:27 PM:

    Here is the thing. Many Republicans feel inferior if someone smarter than they are talks to them. Most people are not elite; some people cannot except that fact. They hate the elite, because they are not elite and they have been told elite=bad or liberal. The Paradox is that in their day to day life, they like elitism. People what the best mechanic, the best doctor, the most elite lawyer. In fact in my profession one of the first things that they ask you is "where did you go to school?". I went to school at an elite university, but I usually do not tell people, unless they explicitly ask.

    Also, put me down for me anti-CRAPTCHA.

  • mudwall jackson on September 15, 2011 3:29 PM:

    just a reminder: the american electorate didn't put george w. bush in the oval office. five conservative intellectuals did.

  • Nexus6 on September 15, 2011 3:32 PM:

    Stephen Colbert summed it up perfectly with "truthiness". No reason to know anything or show any intelligence when you feel the truth, facts be damned. Nothing matters to conservatives except whether an idea lines up with their self centered emotionally driven world view and the "real" Americans just lap it up. It doesn't matter if tax cuts really raise revenue or whether global warming is true or not, if it doesn't fit their world view it's not "true". We're doomed.

  • pf on September 15, 2011 3:36 PM:

    This is nothing new, there has always been an anti-intellectual streak among conservatives. When I was young, I was amazed at how Democrats let GWB make fun of Mike Dukakis for going to Harvard without a peep of protest.

    Not to mention that Bush went to freaking Yale, which is also Ivy League.

  • TCinLA on September 15, 2011 3:46 PM:

    "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." -- H.L. Mencken, 1924

    I used to think the ability to fly airplanes (which I have done) was something kind of elite and that stupid people couldn't do it. Then I looked around and realized how many "airplane people" are Republicans, and the whole thing became less important. If flying airplanes really was all that hard, Republicans couldn't do it.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 15, 2011 4:00 PM:

    Need to fix one thing Vince said:

    "How rank and file Republicans..."

    should be:

    "How rank and vile Republicans..."

    (Yeah, yeah, I know...)

  • KenS on September 15, 2011 4:03 PM:

    In Republican politics, there is an anti-intellectual streak.

    This sentence is rebutted by everything that follows in the post. The Republican party is an anti-intellectual party. There may be an intellectual streak, but it is getting smaller and smaller.

  • Hannah on September 15, 2011 4:12 PM:

    Maybe it just goes to show how little regard people have towards politicians and their craft.

    I'll bet if you asked a very ill Perry supporter would he rather put his life in the hands of a doctor who graduated at the top of his class vs the one at the bottom, he would choose the former.


  • AK Liberal on September 15, 2011 4:17 PM:

    So saying- fuck captcha!!

    Thank you for your valuable contribution to the conversation. I feel much better informed.

  • Goldilocks on September 15, 2011 4:35 PM:

    I'm captcha-neutral. Since it is prevalent now in many sites - not just PA - I assume there is a good reason for it. Thus, having been messed by it a few times early on, I established a simple algorithm to protect myself. It goes like this:

    Ctrl A selects the whole text you've composed.
    Ctrl C copies it.
    Recycle the Captcha if necessary.
    If you still misread it, you have your copy of the text and can repost it using Ctrl V.

    I'm Preview-positive and recommend it, even if it seems to waste time.

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on September 15, 2011 4:38 PM:

    Wait a minute. If Perry was a USAF pilot, I believe flying C-130s, he simply cannot be as dumb as he's apparently portraying himself to be.

    This is just more proof he's playing to the rubes. He's a phony, a wolf in sheep's clothing without a moral compass. A bit like George W. Bush really. Funny that.

  • chopin on September 15, 2011 4:40 PM:

    marty @ 3:27......
    "GOP - damn ignorant and pround of it!"
    I love that slogan! Where can I buy the bumper sticker?

  • JasperL on September 15, 2011 4:42 PM:

    "I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it." John Stuart Mill, 1866

  • flubber on September 15, 2011 4:42 PM:

    "anti-intellectual attitudes dominate conservative thought"

    Yeah, Obama never drops his "g"'s nor says "folks", and in general, talks just like the Harvard educated, constitutional law professor that he is...

    Mr. Benen sez: "I don’t agree with Jennifer Rubin, a conservative writer at the Washington Post, on much of anything".

    Except the little things like invading Afghanistan, invading Iraq, and the War on Muslims in general.

  • st john on September 15, 2011 4:59 PM:

    I have pretty much stopped commenting on this site as I feel there is little constructive that comes from the comments here. I am not putting down those who post or read, but I am telling you how I feel when I read this. As Einstein said(paraphrased): The solution to a problem cannot be found at the same level of consciousness that created it.end paraphrase. A new paradigm shift is called for here, and the book I am recommending addresses this, exactly.
    I am recommending a book that literally addresses every concern voiced her, from religious intolerance to war, violence and abuse. If you are truly committed to making a difference, read Pope Annalisa by Peter Canova and share it with your friends. The title may seem radical and it is. The only solution to the problems of today is a radical solution. If you don't want to buy the book without knowing more about it, visit the website: Pope Annalisa
    You may also want to reference Barbara Marx Hubbard at The ACE Training.

  • DenverRight on September 15, 2011 5:06 PM:

    Benen: "anti-intellectualism in Republican politics"

    Vince@2:56 "For the politicians in the Republican party, know-nothingism is an invaluable trait. When your party views government as a means to enrich yourself and your pals...not having any idea what you are talking about works to your favor."

    I agree that anti-intellectualism in Republican CANDIDATES is troubling, but let's inject a little data into this echo chamber: Surveys by National Election Studies/National Science Foundation (reported by J Fried, Rhetoric and Reality (2008)) revealed that for men self-described as Republicans (1995-2004), 35% had 4-year college degree(or higher). For self-described Democrat men, 22% had the same. For women self-described as Republicans(1995-2004), 27% had 4-year college degrees (or higher), compared to only 20% of women self-described as Democrat.

    What our "leaders" say is not always reflective of the population, in either party (thank God). And the level of education in either party is certainly not reflected by the ignorant liberal bias expressed on the pages of the Washington Monthly.

  • Objective Dem on September 15, 2011 5:10 PM:

    There is an exception to the rule that Repugnants don't care about grades. They are convinced that President Obama is hiding his college grades because they weren't very good. And they are also convinced that he isn't really very smart, because he supposedly needs a teleprompter to say his own name.

  • Taobhan on September 15, 2011 5:36 PM:

    I think there's always been a strain of anti-intellectualism in the American DNA. Although our nation was founded and has been led for the most part by brilliant people, the country has until recent years been primarily an agrarian society with little tolerance for "fancy ideas." Even the huge increase in Americans with a college degree doesn't seem to have much diluted the underlying aversion to intellectual thought. I believe that's why the no-nothingism of Rick Perry still resonates strongly among large segments of our population.

  • jim filyaw on September 15, 2011 5:47 PM:

    pardon me if i don't ever, ever agree with the wapo harridan. it isn't perry's celebration of stupidity that offends rubin, its his electability. if she thought he had a shred of a chance against obama, she'd be double down with it.

  • Texas Aggie on September 15, 2011 6:50 PM:

    "I agree with almost the entire post except the implication that an animal science degree is a joke." - Mark

    Mark, we're talking about Texas A&M here. I can tell you from teaching some of them that an animal science major there does not require very much gray matter in the skull in order to pass. Granted, to do well requires smarts and the ability to understand complex concepts and to integrate information from numerous seemingly unrelated fields. Those are the people that go on and are able to make a living from managing ranches and feedlots, even in our economic climate.

    Then there are the others who barely squeak by, i.e., Goodhair, and who if they stay in animal science, end up feeding cattle for the above mentioned Animal Sci major. If they get out of the field, then who knows what happens to them. From what I read, Goodhair either flunked or Q-dropped chemistry because he took it a second time before he passed it.

    And his academic record is worse than it appears because the Corps, of which Goodhair was a member in excellent standing, has whole file cabinets full of old exams and papers written by previous students for the CT's to study. So he had the opportunity to see every question on every exam that he took beforehand, and he still spent most of his career on academic probation.

  • rrk1 on September 15, 2011 7:40 PM:

    "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." -- H.L. Mencken, 1924

    That was P.T. Barnum, not H.L. Mencken, as far as I know.

    The anti-intellectual streak in American history goes back to at least the Jacksonian era, and explains why people like Alexander Hamilton were afraid of enfranchising the masses. If anything, we are more threatened by mass ignorance and stupidity today than even before. The stakes are higher.

    A disrespect for education, reason, and ideas among non-elitists is common. Anti-intellectualism is not simply mental laziness. We are not all endowed equally with the same ability to think and reason, although that concept may be popular in a democratic society. It's true that some people prefer not to think, or exert themselves because other activities provide more pleasure.

    No greater example is George W. Bush. He is far from stupid, but he is phenomenally lazy. A friend of mine went to Yale with him and says that Bush was part of a small group of wastrels who entered Yale on a legacy basis, but did nothing but party for four years. This was at a time when Yale was changing its image from an elitist ivy league legacy school to a meritocracy. Of course Bush was a 'C' student. Professors knew they had to give him at least a 'C' no matter how much he deserved an 'F' because of his family, and the money it represented.

    So it has been forever. Elite schools produce mediocrity because of money. We have a third-rate public education system because we don't value education. Our teachers are badly paid, poorly trained, and scorned. The buildings are falling down. There are no longer any standards worth mentioning despite 'No Child Left Behind', and all the useless and rigid standardized testing that is supposed to improve outcomes. 'No Child Left Behind' was really a union busting attempt by the Bushies. It had nothing to do with raising the level of education.

    'Book Learnin' ain't worth shit, is the common man's mantra, and Bush, Perry, Palin, Bachmann, McCain, and countless others in high placeshave have learned how to play dumb if they don't come by it naturally. It makes the ignorant and stupid ever so much more comfortable to know that one of their own is in a powerful position. Never wear your intelligence on your sleeve, at least not anymore, if you expect to get anywhere in government.

    Whether we like it or not, society is stratified. Certainly not all elites are intellectuals, but who is it, exactly, that we want to run the country? The know-nothing mediocrity represented by the Teabaggers, or those who are capable of thought and rational analysis. and who have a sense of what's best for the country in our complex global environment?

    Obama, by virtue of being a constitutional law professor, is an intellectual. But he has to make a connection with those who are not. One of the ways he could-have/should- have done it is to go to Madison, Wisconsin, stand with the protestors last winter and said, "I'm with you. You are right to fight this anti-labor law." He didn't do it. Why not?

    Answer: At heart, he's not a Democrat.

    If we go for the lowest common denominator then we truly are doomed.

  • yellowdog on September 15, 2011 8:51 PM:

    Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon are considered to be two of the smartest presidents. Condi Rice, though with an earned PhD to her credit, flubbed some of the major real-world tests of her time--as did her boss the C student.

    Intellectual preparation is only one of the things a public official needs.

    The anti-intellectual theme is bread-and-butter in GOP politics. Anything that sounds like "elitism" and liberals' looking down their nose at the little folk is useful fodder for the GOP outrage machine. Being called stupid only made George W. Bush more appealing among folks who were inclined to like his blunt-spoken ways. Calling Rick Perry stupid will get the same response. It's what he wants. It burnishes his standing as a plain-folks, plain-talking sort of guy--no Ivy League book learning, just good old American common sense. He'll frequently be photographed riding a horse or clearing brush or flying a plane or putting out a fire just to keep the image going. Call him stupid all you like. Misunderestimate him. He's been winning elections for two decades for a reason. He is in tune with red-state values. He's got lots of Bush advisers and moneybags behind him. He'll make the same kind of appeals. If he starts getting called Bush without the brains, he will run with it.

  • Doug on September 15, 2011 9:01 PM:

    "The fact that so many millions of voters find this appealing is disconcerting, isn't it?" Steve Benen

    There have ALWAYS been such voters, it was just that, usually, politicians and parties tried to be more subtle about appealing to them and affected embarrassment when their attempts were blown.
    Personally, I blame "reality" TV...

  • Anonymous on September 16, 2011 12:01 AM:

    She added, Yes, he was trying to be self-deprecating, but its disturbing to see that he thinks being a rotten student and a know-nothing gives one street cred in the GOP.

    Being a rotten student and know-nothing doesn't grant a particular degree of respect in itself, but being a crappy student and a know-nothing and getting yourself elected and re-elected and re-elected some more in one of the most significant states in the country gets awesome cred.

    It's Horatio Alger for fuckwits. Anybody can be smart and successful. But to reach elevated heights of political power while remaining totally true to one's dumbshit nature is a total score and something that other idiots with delusions of grandeur absolutely lose sleep over. How can they parlay their single brain cell into a governorship or other high office?

    Gov. Bonehead is a hero for those who aspire to great power without any justification. His cred is deep and wide among the rotten grade and know-nothing set.

  • burro on September 16, 2011 12:04 AM:

    Whoops, didn't mean to make that Anonymous. Captcha was so intriguing that I forgot to sign in. They are experimenting with interesting new shapes.

  • beejeez on September 16, 2011 8:49 AM:

    Yes, it's a tribute to W's pluck and intellectual chops that that this son of a president and grandson of a senator was able to progress further in his career than the black daughter of a teacher and counselor from Mobile, Alabama.

  • Duncan on September 27, 2011 7:59 PM:

    I presume what's freaking Rubin (and what explains why she's treating it like a new phenomenon) is that we all knew Bush's 'stupidity' was a trick invented by Karl Rove to encourage the Democrats to say something elitist and alienate the people who went on to be Sarah Palin supporters. Bush was a fairly bright guy (not Clinton, but smarter than Reagan) and blessed with phenomenal 'people skills' and anyone who thinks otherwise; the jokes on you, you ought to study his 2000 and gubernatorial campaigns more closely (especially the primaries). Whereas with Perry, as before with Palin, it looks like the intellectual shortcomings isn't any kind of an act but is what it appears to be; a man with a hole in his head who currently looks like he's an election away from the Oval Office. That should freak everyone.