From time to time, I’ll get into a debate with a right-winger about whether Sarah Palin is actually stupid or if liberals are just hopelessly biased against her. They claim this bias comes from the fact that liberals are scared of her electability, her charm, her looks, her femininity, her Christianity, her ability connect to the common man and her overall wonderfulness. So, the theory is that we have all collectively decided that she is the best Republican candidate in some secret liberal meeting and are conspiring against her because we are afraid of how brilliant and electable she really is.
Now, there are a couple of problems with this theory. There are no opinion leaders on the left with Rush Limbaugh-like authority who can command all other progressives to think the same thing and use the same arguments against one person. In other words, we all think she is stupid because she is in fact stupid, not because some liberal cabal told us to think that.
How come we don’t call Newt Gingrich stupid? Or Dick Cheney or Kay Bailey Hutchinson or Elizabeth Dole or Dennis Hastert? And the list goes on and on of heinous and deplorable right-wingers who are not stupid. We don’t make those charges against those people, because as much as we might not agree with them or like them, we know that they are not dullards. They’re all clever in their own way. Mitt Romney is greasy, Michael Steele is a clown and Tom DeLay is dirty, but we don’t go after their mental acuity like we do with Sarah Palin because they’re not as dumb as her (not even Steele).
So, finally we get to the evidence. I thought I’d just do it here and be done with it. Then I can just point people to this post from now on and end this senseless argument.
Now, there are a million examples of this, but I thought I’d go with three knockout punches here. In the first video, we have the classic Bush Doctrine answer, where she does not know the basic foreign policy of the Republican president at the time. How could she possibly be running for vice president and not know this? The only thing more unconscionable is the sad excuses her supporters make for this terribly botched answer.
In the second video, we have a largely overlooked example of her pathetic lack of foreign policy knowledge. She has no idea what Hamas is or what they have to do with the Gaza Strip. If your next door neighbor or plumber doesn’t know this, that’s fine, but they weren’t running for Vice President of the United States. This should be game set and match for anyone, especially self-respecting conservatives, thinking of supporting her. This is when you have to walk away embarrassed.
But remarkably, they didn’t slink away embarrassed after this answer, so we have the latest example of her buffoonery. In this interview with Bill O’Reilly, he asks her if she is smart enough to be president. Her answer has to be seen to be believed. Don’t get me wrong, just because you see it won’t mean you’ll understand it. So, I put a transcript of her answer below so that you can try to decipher it in your spare time.
Bill O’Reilly: Let me be very bold and fresh again, do you believe that you are smart enough, incisive enough, intellectual enough to handle the most powerful job in the world?
Sarah Palin: I believe that I am because I have common sense and I have I believe the values that I think are reflective of so many other American values, and I believe that what Americans are seeking is not the elitism, the uhm, the ah, a kind of spineless, spinelessness that perhaps is made up for that with some kind of elite, Ivy league education and, and a fat resume that is based on anything but hard work and private sector, free enterprise principles. Americans are could be seeking something like that in positive change in their leadership, I’m not saying that that has to be me.
Can anyone really be biased enough to think that was a smart answer? The great irony is that he asked her if she’s smart enough to be president and she gave what might be her dumbest answer yet. That answer was so bad it almost made George W. Bush look smart. Can anyone in good conscience defend that answer and say with a straight face that she should be this country’s leader?
If you say yes, then there is no sense in talking to one another anymore because we are not operating in the same reality, or planet. We’ll never be able to agree on anything if we can’t agree that was just about as incomprehensible and stupid an answer as you can possibly come up with. And that settles the debate, because you either live in the reality based world and realize she is obviously not qualified, or in the immortal words of Stephen Colbert you believe that “reality has a well-known liberal bias” and she would make a great president.
The Young Turks
America has always had an anti-intellectual streak that grew as an offshoot of anti-elitism from the colonial days but then took on a life of its own. The common American (even many that are intelligent and successful) dislikes and distrusts intellectuals (being intelligent and being an intellectual are not the same thing). So as a result, Americans gravitate toward leaders who demonstrate a LACK of intellectual rigor and ability, who REJECT structured, deliberate thinking in favor of EMPTY folksy rhetoric. In their minds, intellectuals have had a lot of power for a long time, and the world is still messed up, so let’s give some “common people” a shot. Hence Bush, and now one step further, Palin. ~MDBoyd