One aspect of American politics that receives insufficient attention is that a significant percentage of self-identified Republicans—around half—are complete idiots. And the candidates who wish to be elected by them must pander to them, either by being idiots themselves—see “Bachmann, Michele”—or pretending to be. Nobody in the MSM is empowered to say this aloud. Indeed, the very act of pointing it out brands one a “liberal elitist” who is biased against proud, patriotic conservatives.
Well, so be it. A quarter of Republicans questioned profess to believe that ACORN is definitely planning to steal the 2012 election while another 32 percent think it might be. These numbers are admittedly lower than the 52 percent who, in 2009, went on record accusing ACORN of having stolen the election for Obama, but this should strike a person with normal mental faculties as a mite surprising, given that the organization no longer exists. Similarly, a recent poll of Republicans found that 48 percent of those questioned believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States. Again, this is almost double the 28 percent who believed it in February, but it is still rather low, given that Hawaii released the president’s long-form birth certificate to satisfy exactly this group of noisy idiots.
These are rather obvious examples, but it is hardly an exaggeration to insist that this astonishing combination of willful ignorance and stubborn stupidity can be found virtually everywhere Republican politics are discussed. Consider the kerfuffle over Newt Gringrich’s derisive comments about Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, made not long ago on NBC’s Meet the Press. In the first place, there is the problem of Gingrich being on the program at all. He was, I never tire of pointing out, its single most frequently booked guest in 2009, with five appearances, even though he held no official position in government and is the only ex–Speaker of the House ever to be invited on the show. (Nancy Pelosi, the actual Speaker at the time, did not appear at all that year.) In addition, we have the complication that although Gingrich is portrayed in the MSM as a genuine intellectual and potential president of the United States, both notions are just as crazy as Gingrich is. How else to explain a grown man who professes to believe that Obama’s political views can be understood “only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior”? And what about his insistence that the Obama administration leads a “secular-socialist machine” that represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union? Is this not enough to earn the boy a rubber jumpsuit?
What’s funny is that Gingrich’s tsoris arose from the fact that he accidentally said something sensible. Speaking of Ryan’s plan to destroy Medicare in support of yet another set of tax breaks for the wealthy, Gingrich explained, “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.”