Monday, October 27, 2008


Okay, I have to quickly backtrack here and make it clear that I do not find all Republicans to be stupid, just as I know that not all Republicans think of me as a cowardly, unpatriotic baby-killer. I formally apologize for using a blanket label to include a whole lot of people I do not mean to include in my descrition.

Good, smart people I respect, like Jamie (who commented below) reside in the big tent of the G.O.P. and are also in the tent of People Ben Cares About and Respects Completely. Some of these people are those single issue voters who have a single, strongly held, entirely defensible position whih I can respect but with which I disagree. Some are very embarassed Republicans who sided with the party based on its expressed ideology, who keep considering them in elections based on those principles, don't always vote party line, and feel betrayed by this administration. Those, again, are people I can respect. In fact, maybe the people I don't respect don't really exist, but they are not caricatures of my own creation alone. When someone like Sarah Palin talks about a Joe-Sixpack character who is a real-American, who suspends his judgment of his government's actions because he is always patriotic, who dismisses people because they are educated or elite (which does not mean snooty, but genuinely better than he is), then I think I can be forgiven for believing in this caricature. I guess I don't think Republicans are stupid. I think the kinds of voters the Republican politicians focus on, reach out to, pander to, and sack-tickle are stupid. In contrast, maybe all us Dems really are a bunch of morons, but the politicians more often reach out to us drooling, numb skull liberals (and, admittedly, flatter us and pander to us) as though we are educated, reasonable people who have nuanced worldviews. And this is a big and telling difference, both between the current Democratic and Republican parties, and between the current Republican party and its intellectual progenitors. One party is vilified for being dependent on its intellectuals, but it honors them. The other party (or at least its governing philosophy) was created by intellectuals, but now depends on those who are not only ignorant, but willfully so and proud of it.

I know that the Republicans can't really run on their educational records this time around. We've got a contest between a law professor and a guy who was fourth from the bottom of his class, and between a lawyer and a woman who took five schools (or was it six?) to get her B.A. and never sought any more formal education. Still, the Republican POLITICIAN's expressed antipathy to education or nuance pre-dates this election. I respect a lot of Republicans and I don't think they're stupid. But their party keeps telling them they should be.


Jamie said...

Thanks for the clarification! You are definitely correct in that the caricatures of the Republician party are not only your creation or even just that of the Democrats. I just wanted to point out that there are some Republicans out there that aren't the caricature or the stereotype. In fact, Esquire (I read it via had a 10 best (and worst) Congresspeople list and I was pleasantly surprised to see some hope for the Republician party in that list.
BTW, "sack-tickle"?? I really like it but don't think I've heard it before!

Benjamin Gorman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Benjamin Gorman said...

I heard "Sack-tickle" as a reference to the way Micheal Jackson was probably behaving while hanging out in non-extradition countries, from the comedian Greg Giraldo, but I thought I also applied (metaphorically, mostly)to the way politicians pander to us voters. Now that I think about it, analogizing the behavior of politicians trying to get my vote to the way Michael Jackson treats the little boys of the world just makes both seem all the more creepy. A Kristin D. double-one-hand-clap seems the only sensible reaction.