Obama has noted this before, as has Jon Stewart – the fact that Republican politicians admire stupidity and ignorance. They wear their lack of education, their incompetence, their failure as a badge of honor. And it’s certainly an American tradition, having disdain for intellectuals. But when push comes to shove, do you really want bubba, or bubba with lipstick, in charge of your 401k and your life savings? At some point America has got to get over its love affair with stupid. Or the mistakes of the last eight years, when we elected stupid to an art form, will continue to repeat themselves. Here’s tomorrow’s editorial in the New York Times about the debate:
In the end, the debate did not change the essential truth of Ms. Palin’s candidacy: she can learn her talking points and make a good impression under controlled circumstances. But Mr. McCain made a wildly irresponsible choice when he picked someone with far too little experience or evident knowledge for the post. That choice shattered the image that Mr. McCain created for himself as the tempered, seasoned, experienced man of principle and judgment. Picking Ms. Palin was either an act of incredible cynicism or appallingly bad judgment.
The ensuing weeks cemented those images in our minds. Ms. Palin initially injected some energy into the McCain campaign, especially among members of the right-wing Republican base, who never liked or trusted the Arizona senator — and still do not. Then, she began lurching from one embarrassing public appearance to another, culminating in her shocking performance in interviews with Katie Couric. In those exchanges, Ms. Palin was inarticulate and shockingly unable to answer the most basic questions about government policy and even her own political philosophy.
The Republicans have tried to present the negative reaction to Ms. Palin as a matter of liberal elites sneering at someone who does not share their privileged backgrounds. That is a distraction. The problem with Ms. Palin’s candidacy, which she underscored in her appearance at the debate on Thursday night, is not that she didn’t attend a fancy school or go backpacking in Europe after college. It is her disdain for knowledge, education, experience and contemplative leadership.