How Stupid is Too Stupid to Get Elected?

Is conventional wisdom getting ahead of itself? Is there such a thing as being too stupid to get elected in Republican politics, or for that matter, national politics? Before I answer that question, let’s play a little game. Let’s see if you can identify these quotes. The answers are at the end.

1. “I like the color red because it’s a fire. And I see myself as always being on fire.”

2. “During the last 100 days we have seen an orgy. It would make any local smorgasbord embarrassed … The government spent its wad by April 26.”

3. “If you think the United States has stood still, who would have built the largest shopping center in the world?”

4. “The Democrats just want to ram it down my ear with a victory.”

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5. “A woman (Terri Schiavo) was healthy. There was brain damage, there was no question. But from a health point of view, she was not terminally ill.”

6. “The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation’s history. I mean in this century’s history. But I didn’t live in this century.”

7. “We have a President, perhaps for the very first time since the founding of our republic, who doesn’t appear to believe that America is the greatest earthly force for good the world has ever known.”

8. “Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal.”

9. “The American Petroleum Institute filed suit against the EPA [and] charged that the agency was suppressing a scientific study for fear it might be misinterpreted… The suppressed study reveals that 80 percent of air pollution comes not from chimneys and auto exhaust pipes, but from plants and trees.”

10. “We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease.”

11. “But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies.”


Besides being incredibly stupid, what do these quotes all have in common? They were all spoken by someone who has held major political office. They were all people who were elected by more than the 25% that are considered the base of any party. They were elected by more than just registered Republicans. With the exception of George W. Bush, they were elected by the Electoral College.

Democrats and the media have a habit of dismissing the dim. It’s easy to do. Their quotes are laughable. Their foreign policy expertise comes from John Wayne and “24”. Their economic policy expertise comes from CliffsNotes version of “Atlas Shrugged” and their social policy expertise comes from their selective retention of the children’s Bible (ironically, the Old Testament, but that’s another subject).

But still, these people were elected. Ronald Reagan was elected during a bad economy and after hatching an illegal deal with the Iranian government. The US Supreme Court usurped both the Constitution and state’s rights by selecting George W. Bush.

This is not to say that neither of these men had a legitimate following. They did. It’s no secret that our country is getting dumber. Out of a recent ranking of 34 countries, we were 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math. When the US faces tough economic times, education is always the first to be cut. When Republicans take office, education moves to the head of the line for the chopping block. If you’ve ever accidentally eaves dropped on conversations in restaurants, grocery stores, on busses or subways, you’ve probably overheard malapropisms galore. For many Americans, saying dumb things is as American as apple pie. As long as they like the person saying the dumb thing, it is charming. It makes them relatable.

What would it take to elect a Palin or Bachmann over Barack Obama? First off, the bad economy might be enough. Unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the unemployment rate in the next year and change, the President could be in trouble…and that’s just the standard stuff. Iran Contra and George W. Bush’s selection offer proof that nothing is off limits. Republicans will cheat to take office. Of course, the only way they can do that is by making the election close.

Why does the Republican establishment support stupid candidates? Very few people can say for sure, but many believe that post-Nixon Republican Presidents are figureheads. For each of them, the behind the scenes people have been calling the shots, leaving the President in the position of plausible deniability. In other words, A President Palin would have a Cheney/Rove/Rumsfeld making the decisions, while she distracts the country with word salad feasts.

Former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger~“I like the color red because it’s a fire. And I see myself as always being on fire.” 

Potential Presidential candidate, Michele Bachmann~“During the last 100 days we have seen an orgy. It would make any local smorgasbord embarrassed … The government spent its wad by April 26.” 

Former President, Richard M. Nixon~“If you think the United States has stood still, who would have built the largest shopping center in the world?” 

Former President, George Herbert Walker Bush~“The Democrats just want to ram it down my ear with a victory.” 

Potential Presidential candidate, Michele Bachmann~“A woman (Terri Schiavo) was healthy. There was brain damage, there was no question. But from a health point of view, she was not terminally ill.” 

Former Vice President, Dan Quayle~“The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation’s history. I mean in this century’s history. But I didn’t live in this century.” 

Potential Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin~“We have a President, perhaps for the very first time since the founding of our republic, who doesn’t appear to believe that America is the greatest earthly force for good the world has ever known.” 

Former President, Ronald Reagan~Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal.” 

Former President, Ronald Reagan~“The American Petroleum Institute filed suit against the EPA [and] charged that the agency was suppressing a scientific study for fear it might be misinterpreted… The suppressed study reveals that 80 percent of air pollution comes not from chimneys and auto exhaust pipes, but from plants and trees.” 

Former President, George W. Bush~“We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease.” 

Potential Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin~But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies.”