Saturday, December 03, 2011

Why Do Republicans Gleefully Embrace Idiots as Presidential Candidates?

Why Republicans Embrace Simpletons and How it Hurts America
By James Marshall Crotty
Nov 30, 2011

Since I report on American education, including the intellectual lassitude of American voters, foreign observers routinely ask me: Why Do Republicans Gleefully Embrace Idiots as Presidential Candidates?

The question naturally begs a larger question: How can a country, with the world’s highest national GDP, and absurdly complex systems regulating everything from credit default swaps to nuclear missile safety, possibly allow onto its national stage men and women of such transparently inferior intellect?

The easy answer is that there has always been a long, pathetic history of anti-intellectual paranoia in American politics, as Richard Hofstadter documented in his book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963). It is like kudzu. You just can’t kill it. No matter how advanced the U.S. becomes in technology, biomedicine, and weaponry, it not only attracts, but promotes, under the rubric of equal opportunity, a confederacy of dunces as Presidential candidates.

To be fair, Democrats have had their share of dolts, including the tax-cheating, race-baiting, college dropout Reverend Al Sharpton (who gained fame not only because of his courageous civil rights protests, but because he claims to be “Keepin’ It Real”; read: not formally educated), as well as Democrat-turned-Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond (whose 1948 campaign slogan was “Segregation Forever”). Nevertheless, in 2011, the God-fearing Ossified Party has rolled out the greatest assortment of Know-Nothings in its history, most of whom share a singular misconception: because I can do one small thing well (e.g., run a pizza chain), I can handle the world’s most demanding job.

At first blush, one thinks this embrace of incompetence has something to do with the uniquely American idea that anyone from any background can become President. It’s an old saw told to almost every young person in the country. I believed it. I also believed that I would be an astronaut or a professional basketball player.

However, reason suggests, that when a clear-headed adult, with no experience in national politics, no reputable training in public policy -- as opposed to a bastion of Christian zealotry like the former Oral Roberts School of Law, which Michelle Bachman attended -- and little understanding of countries outside U.S. borders, says that he or she is running for President, his or her reasonable adult compadres should rightly say, “You are suffering from delusions of grandeur.” After all, you need advanced degrees to properly practice medicine, law, and nuclear physics. Why would we expect the Leader of the Free World to have anything less than the precise qualifications for such an elevated job opening?

However, only in America is no training or knowledge required to perform a job that is not only more complicated and demanding than the above three fields, but one which regulates the above three occupations and all sorts of other complex and nuanced occupations around the globe (including undercover agents in foreign lands).

But that’s only the beginning. More, of some length with a few doh! clips thrown in. Try the “Hannitize” if it interests you, you might come away asking the same question as I did. How does he live with himself?

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