You know, it’s somewhat mystifying to me why, given that there are so many clever Republicans, when they start thinking about the top spot they always go for the dummy. It wasn’t always this way; when my brother was born in 1965 his scalp hadn’t closed, and the doctor peeked right into his brain and reassured my mom, “Don’t worry. He can still grow up to be President,” and proceeded to sew him up. What do doctors tell worried mothers these days? He could grow up to be a bank president? FEMA Director? Supreme Court Justice? Nope. Dummies work in those spots, too, especially if they’re Republicans.
Since the other requirement for Republicans seeking high office is a bit of the crazy, institutionalized since Nixon, throwing a big pile of dumb on top carries certain risks, but overall Republicans have decided that dumb works, ever since Reagan got away with many equally crazy things that Nixon didn’t because he was sweetly doddering and napped a lot. But Reagan was at least skilled at something–acting. I think it was Jack Warner who said, upon hearing Reagan was running for Governor, “No, Jimmy Stewart for Governor. Ronald Reagan for Best Friend.” But the Best Friend role served him well. He could declare ketchup a vegetable, preside over and help cause two deep recessions, fight undeclared wars and sell weapons to terrorists, and when caught lying about it, be widely forgiven because he was such a lovable old coot.
And sadly, compared with what they’re come up with since, Reagan wasn’t even that dumb. First, Bush. (I don’t count Bush Sr. Does anybody?) Ridiculously, they tried to sell Bush as a “best friend,” too, somebody you’d like to have a beer with, since he had no other discernible talents or experience, when from the start it was clear that he wasn’t just dumb, he was also an asshole. A spoiled ne’er-do-well with a chip on his shoulder the size of all Texas being anybody’s friend was a notion so ridiculous that if it hadn’t been for the media, nobody would have fallen for it. Bush’s proud ignorance and pettiness eventually soured his political “legacy,” to Republican’s considerable detriment. Now, if you were the brains behind the party that presided over this debacle, you might think, “Next time we should get someone smarter.” But, if you were a Republican, and held your voters in such contempt that it didn’t even matter if your spokesmodel/candidate could tell time, you’d jump right over from Bush to Sarah Palin, and why not have Michael Steele chair the Republican National Committee, to boot? By the time Trig’s old enough, the Republicans will probably be running him. No child left behind, and all that.
Is this because their exact policies that have been so demonstrably calamitous are all they have to sell, and fewer and fewer smart people embrace them? No, that would be too innocent. The stupider the candidate appears, the more the teabaggers will swoon, and better yet, set a trap for the liberal media, daring them to mention lies, flubs, and blatant contradictions. Thus, Sarah Palin, failed VP candidate and half-term governor of Alaska commanded 40 minutes of live coverage on three networks to babble incoherent yet venomous nonsense about whatever she’d written on her manicured hand, and the gasbags didn’t see anything odd or irrelevant about this, much less fact check her more inflammatory misrepresentations. That sort of thing would be demeaning to God’s children. Sarah said so.
I was always flabbergasted by the inanities that rolled out of Reagan, that is until I met George W, when the head-slappers got considerably scarier and worse. But Palin… She raises the stupid bar so high I I’d need a spotting scope to find it. Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but I do have a little faith in America. Run, Sarah, please.
Oh yeah. It’s Straight Pride Day. Go Saints.