The dumbest reactions on earth: For better or worse, many voters will find a good deal to like about Rick Perry’s personal history.
In Monday’s New York Times, Deborah Sontag offered a standard candidate profile concerning Perry’s personal background. She wrote about the candidate’s upbringing in Paint Creek, Texas.
Sontag threw in one “Confederate” reference just to keep us happy. But trust us: Voters will find a lot to like in Candidate Perry’s smaller-than-small-town background.
Sontag’s profile appeared one day after a pair of New York Times columnists offered the dumbest possible reactions to Perry’s smaller-than-small background. Needless to say, the scribes in question were the twin regents, Collins and Dowd.
Lovers of irony will enjoy the idea that Maureen Dowd could devote a full column to the dumbness of others. But Dowd, dumbest scribe of the past thirty years, was on quite a tear this morning:
DOWD (9/16/11): Our education system is going to hell. Average SAT scores are falling, and America is slipping down the list of nations for college completion. And Rick Perry stands up with a smirk to talk to students about how you can get C’s, D’s and F’s and still run for president.After making that know-nothing, anti-science remark about our educational system, Dowd took after the rest of the nation. Everyone was stupid this day, including the nation’s students! She was mad at the know-nothing voters, of course—but also at the know-nothing candidates! But along the way, she offered these mots. Especially from a national journalist, this is a very dumb comment:
The Republicans are now the “How great is it to be stupid?” party. In perpetrating the idea that there’s no intellectual requirement for the office of the presidency, the right wing of the party offers a Farrelly Brothers “Dumb and Dumber” primary in which evolution is avant-garde.
Having grown up with a crush on William F. Buckley Jr. for his sesquipedalian facility, it’s hard for me to watch the right wing of the G.O.P. revel in anti-intellectualism and anti-science cant.
Sarah Palin, who got outraged at a “gotcha” question about what newspapers and magazines she read, is the mother of stupid conservatism. Another “Don’t Know Much About History” Tea Party heroine, Michele Bachmann, seems rather proud of not knowing anything, simply repeating nutty, inflammatory medical claims that somebody in the crowd tells her.
So we’re choosing between the overintellectualized professor and blockheads boasting about their vacuity?
The occupational hazard of democracy is know-nothing voters. It shouldn’t be know-nothing candidates.
DOWD: Our education system is going to hell. Average SAT scores are falling, and America is slipping down the list of nations for college completion. And Rick Perry stands up with a smirk to talk to students about how you can get C’s, D’s and F’s and still run for president.Darlings! Whatever could that awful man mean?
The Texas governor did help his former chief of staff who went to lobby for a pharmaceutical company that donated to Perry, so he at least knows the arithmetic of back scratching.
Perry told the students, “God uses broken people to reach a broken world.” What does that even mean?
As several anti-Perry commenters noted, Dowd’s question was massively dumb. The concept of “broken people” seems to be quite common for many Christians, as a quick Google search shows. This rather obvious possibility didn’t even occur to Dowd, who couldn’t wait to play the role of sneering East Coast liberal.
“God uses broken people to reach a broken world?” That isn’t part of our own cultural framework. But Dowd couldn’t wait to show the voters how pathetically dumb she thinks they are—even as she rushed to showcase her own cultural know-nothingness.
It has been 39 years since Pauline Kael made her famous clueless remark about the inscrutable public. (As reported in the New York Times: “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know. They're outside my ken. But sometimes when I'm in a theater I can feel them.”) Thirty-nine years later, people like Dowd can’t wait to announce that they themselves have no earthly idea about the outlooks, beliefs, culture and views of vast numbers of voters.
If Maureen Dowd didn’t exist, the RNC would have to invent her. But then, the high Lady Collins made a remark about Perry in Sunday’s Times that struck us as quite clueless too. Quite clueless, and politically dumb:
COLLINS (9/16/11): Rick Perry has never spent any serious time outside of Texas, except for a five-year stint in the military. Nobody sent him off to boarding school to expand his horizons. He grew up in Paint Creek, where he graduated third in a high school class of 13. He went to the most deeply Texas of all the state’s major institutions of higher learning. He was a terrible student, but won the prized post of yell leader, the most deeply Texas of all possible Aggie achievements. Then he joined the Air Force and flew transport planes out of Texas, Germany and the Middle East. “There was no telling what you were going to haul around on any given day, from high-value cargo like human beings to the colonel’s kitty litter,” he once told a reporter in Texas.“Rick Perry has never spent any serious time outside of Texas, except for a five-year stint in the military.” Do you have any idea how dumb that will sound to a wide range of voters? A quick guess: Collins does not.
Dowd of course is a hopeless case; we remain puzzled by Collins. The ID line on her Sunday piece said this: “Gail Collins’s book on Texas will be published next year by W. W. Norton.” Uh-oh! Given the way Collins like to sneer at red states and the rubes within them, it’s entirely possible that her book will elect Perry all by itself!
We’re puzzled by Collins. She loves to sneer at folk in red states. But where in the world did she get the idea that this was the essence of her regency? Darlings! Collins grew up in St. Louis herself! And oh our god! She went to college in Milwaukee! But somewhere along the way, Collins adopted the idea that she exists to sneer at the rubes whose towns still have Dairy Queens.
This is stupid on the merits. Even worse, it’s politically dumb.
Just a guess: Voters will like Rick Perry’s small town background—especially once our side gets through with all the requisite comments.