Political Animal


November 27, 2011 10:20 AM Quote of the Day

By Steve Benen

Following up on the last item, Nick Kristof asked former President Bill Clinton for his take on the political dynamic shaping up for 2012.

Earlier this month, I asked Bill Clinton — who has a better intuitive feel for politics than anyone I know — about Obama’s chances for re-election. “I’ll be surprised if he’s not re-elected,” Clinton said, adding that Obama would do better when matched against a specific opponent like Romney.

Clinton said that Romney did “a very good job” as governor of Massachusetts and would be a credible general election candidate. But Clinton added that Romney or any Republican nominee would be hampered by “a political environment in the Republican primary that basically means you can’t be authentic unless you’ve got a single-digit I.Q.” [emphasis added]

It’s always nice when someone of prominence says on the record what many believe but are afraid to say.

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.


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  • c4Logic on November 27, 2011 10:28 AM:

    You have to have a single digit IQ to become a Republican in the first place.

  • mellowjohn on November 27, 2011 10:34 AM:

    "...a single digit IQ."

    i think that's being overly generous.

  • Danp on November 27, 2011 10:35 AM:

    you cant be authentic unless youve got a single-digit I.Q."

    That's a rather subtle way to describe Republican voters. Most will think it's just a jab at Bachmann and Romney, but it says far more about the people who vote in Republican primaries, as well as pressure groups like Focus on the Family, Norquist and the Koch brothers, and the media who covers politics without fact checking or educating the public on the issues.

  • zandru on November 27, 2011 10:55 AM:

    This is what decades of selective breeding have gotten them

    No kidding - decades of selecting for the most credulous, least ethical people, starting with the College Republicans. Rewarding those who violate norms of decency and even break the law in pursuit of political advantage - or just personal gain. Driving out the reasonable.

    The amount of money that has been dumped into this "selective breeding" program is unbelievable. As far as winning elections, it's worked so far. The long term sustainability of the strategy, given that many Americans are beginning to notice the "single digit IQs" of the Republican candidates, may be in question, however.

    In short, the time for a Democratic resurgence has never been better. We ought to be out there helping.

  • Robert Waldm ann on November 27, 2011 10:58 AM:

    uh *single* digit ??? Even mr 9 9 9 has an IQ over 9 (in fact I'm sure Cain's IQ is triple digit and he is running for President without bothering to learn the facts because he knows all he needs to know about Fox News and Regnery).

  • liam foote on November 27, 2011 11:06 AM:

    Recent census data show that Americans with a Bachelors degree or higher comprise 27.7% of the population.

    States with populations above this average include
    2 Red states (KS, UT)
    2 Toss-up (CO, VA)
    14 solid or leaning Blue.

    States with populations below this average include
    4 Blue states (DE, ME, Mi, NM)
    6 Toss-up (PA, FL, WI, IA, OH, NV)
    22 solid or leaning Red.

    These data from US Census and ratings from Cook Political Report (Jun'11) may be far more telling and alarming than the comment made by President Clinton.

  • zandru on November 27, 2011 11:07 AM:

    @Robert Waldm ann - I'm guessing it was hyperbole.

  • c u n d gulag on November 27, 2011 11:36 AM:

    "It�s always nice when someone of prominence says on the record what many believe but are afraid to say."

    Who's afraid to say?

    Not me!

    I've been saying for years that the knuckledragging Conservative morons belong to the left of Neanderthals on the human evolution chart. "Homo Intolerencus Ignoramus."

  • Holmes on November 27, 2011 12:20 PM:

    I suspect Clinton saying Romney did a very good job as Governor was his attempt to look objective and give the subsequent criticism of the Republican party more credibility, but it just isn't true. Romney was a mediocre (at best) Governor, who choice not to run for reelection because his approval ratings were in the mid-30's and he would lose handily.

  • rrk1 on November 27, 2011 1:25 PM:

    Holmes (above) has it exactly right. Romney tried, in 2004 half way through his term, to reduce the Democratic majority in the state senate to a less than veto-proof margin. He gave it his all and failed miserably. The number of Democrats in the 40-member senate increased in that election. After that Romney gave up on Massachusetts. He began openly running for president, although he was doing that all along, and he moved steadily to the right, repudiating all the bipartisan support he had in the state among gays and women. Worse yet, he began traveling the country with a standup comedy routine that made fun of Massachusetts' liberalism.

    By 2006 he couldn't have gotten elected animal control officer in any of the 351 municipalities of the commonwealth. OK, so I exaggerate. There were a few who might have elected him to something. In any case, he got out, and moved even further to the right to attract primary voters in 2008. That didn't work either. By then, and now, he has flip-flopped-flipped so many times on so many issues how does anyone know where he really stands on anything?

  • Trollop on November 27, 2011 2:03 PM:

    Okay, I hate to say it but this comes from the guy who said "I did not have sex with that woman".. Pot, meet kettle IQ.

    Just saying, oh scornful ones.

  • schtick on November 27, 2011 2:06 PM:

    Personally, I thought the tealiban had IQ's lower than plant life.

  • exlibra on November 27, 2011 6:20 PM:

    Willy Wanker is such a wag! But he exaggerates. I'm sure that every Republican has IQ that's equal -- at a minimum -- to his/her cranium circumference (measured in inches, needless to say). Some, probably, reach the chest circumference or even room temperature.

  • brucds on November 27, 2011 6:26 PM:

    I'm confident he misspoke and meant to say "double-digit IQ", i.e. somewhere in between room temperature and prices at the 99-Cent store. That's pretty accurate.

  • square1 on November 27, 2011 8:13 PM:

    President "Goldilocks" Obama would be doing a whole lot better right now if his idea of good governance wasn't constantly splitting the difference between what people with single-digit IQs and what people with triple-digit IQ's respectively think is good policy.

    And then accusing critics of seeing "no difference" between single-digit IQ policy and double-digit IQ policy.

  • square1 on November 27, 2011 8:24 PM:

    And then there is this:

    "I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over." [Bill] Clinton said in a Time magazine interview...

    Clinton... said he did not believe that Bush went to war in Iraq over oil or for imperialist reasons but out of a genuine belief that large quantities of weapons of mass destruction remained unaccounted for.

    BTW, how many brain cells was Clinton rubbing together when he supposedly fell for the neocon's transparently phony WMD excuse for invading Iraq? Presumably, according to Clinton, when the inspectors concluded their inspections they would have found WMD, justifying the war. (Incidentally, no, I don't think that Clinton was that stupid. I think that, like Bush and Obama, he is an imperialistic asshole.)

  • POed Lib on November 28, 2011 10:14 AM:

    I put it this way: To become a Repukeliscum these days, you need to believe eleventy eleven impossible things before breakfast. After breakfast, there are another eleventy eleven impossible things.

  • JustMe on November 28, 2011 10:24 AM:

    Romney was a mediocre (at best) Governor

    From an administrative POV, he did everything you would expect out of a governor, in that the state government functioned relatively well, and he supported policies that were mostly in line with the needs and wants of the electorate. I realize that is the very definition of "mediocre," but it's a lot more than you can expect under normal circumstances.

    And it is a lot more than can be said for Kasich, Daniels, and Walker.