The American Spectator has a great piece today addressing the “she’s too dumb” meme that has swirled about the political atmosphere over the past two plus years. The author highlights how time-and-time again, this argument has been used against Republicans and some Democrats throughout America’s political history, including Barry Goldwater, Gerald Ford, George Washington, and Andrew Jackson. Often, arguments are presented to show the parallels between Governor Palin and President Reagan, but there are other political figures who have had the same types of arguments thrown at their candidacies or administrations. The author, Jeffrey Lord, begins:
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting is not very bright.
In fact, dumb as a post is a more accurate if blunt assessment..
Does this describe Sarah Palin? Yes — if you choose to listen to the Inside-the-Beltway elites. But just in case she doesn’t run for or win the nomination, don’t worry. Whoever the GOP nominates will quickly assume this “too dumb to be president” role — bestowed by many of the same people.
Because this “too dumb to be president” argument is precisely the same-old, same-old argument from liberal elites about Republican presidents or prospective presidents for decades. The argument is particularly relished when it comes to describing conservatives like the former Alaska governor. But even GOP moderates can never escape this tag once they morph from unannounced candidate (and therefore not a political threat to liberalism) to actual frontrunner, nominee or, God forbid, the actual president.
Barry Goldwater, the first modern conservative to win a GOP presidential nomination in 1964, would have been lucky to be tagged as being merely too dumb to be president. He was also said to be, according to Time magazine, “psychologically unfit to be president,” “emotionally unstable,” “immature,” “cowardly,” “grossly psychotic,” “paranoid,” a “mass murderer,” “amoral and immoral,” a “chronic schizophrenic” and “dangerous lunatic.” One psychiatrist breezily announced Goldwater had a “strong identification with the authoritarianism of Hitler, if not identification with Hitler himself.”
The author presents what the likes of the political elite and GOP Establishment turn a blind eye towards–Governor Palin’s political experience and accomplishments:
What does any of this have to do with Sarah Palin? As the New York Times Magazine recently noted, there is a caricature now abroad in the land of the former Alaska governor “as a vapid, winking, press-averse clotheshorse.” In other words, Sarah Palin is an idiot. Dumb as a post. Too dumb, but of course, to be president.
This mother of five with a successful marriage, the woman who, without benefit of a famous name or marriage, has been elected successively to positions as city council member, mayor, president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors, served as the appointed (by the then-governor) chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission before being elected governor herself — this before becoming only the second woman to be tapped for a major party vice-presidential nomination, a successful author and bona fide TV star like Reagan — this is the woman who is now presented by everybody from GOP Establishment types to liberal enemies as just a vacant Barbie-style version of other men who were too dumb to be president. Goldwater? Romney? Ford? Reagan? Kemp? Bush 43? Bush 41? Like them all, Sarah Palin is just too dumb to be president.
He then goes one to discuss the underestimation of President Washington during his military career:
No less than George Washington was denied a commission in the British Regular Army as a young man because he was seen by British elites as a more spectacular example of what Washington biographer James Thomas Flexner called “the incompetent provincial soldier.” It wasn’t simply that American colonists couldn’t cut it professionally, in this view, it was that those who ran and served in the British Regular Army were, don’t you know, just so much smarter than their American-born subjects. In a word, the British elites of the day were snobs. And they looked at young George Washington, already a young man of considerable military experience, as just too dumb — not to mention unworthy — to be a commissioned officer in the British Regular Army.
The British, famously, learned the hard untruth of this some twenty-plus years after haughtily refusing to give Washington a commission he had manifestly earned as an officer of the colonial militia. Washington may have been too dumb to serve in the British Regular Army but he wasn’t too dumb to be the winning general of the American Revolution.
The author closes with a serious of pointed questions to the political elite and their media accomplices:
Is Sarah Palin dumb?
Of course not. What a dumb question. It’s also the wrong question. Who’s asking this question is a better question. And how dumb are they to be asking it? Or worse, dumber by simply asserting it as fact.
The only people who are dumb — really dumb — are those inside the Republican political-consultant complex who think that by nominating someone other than Governor Palin they will have a nominee capable of avoiding this particularly dumb fate.
The Republican nominee for president in 2012 is being prepared by the American liberal media to be presented as a woman — or man — who is too dumb to be president. It is a preposterous proposition on its face, all on the list being, like Palin, people of enormous accomplishment in life. It is even more preposterous in the face of the utterly laughable idea — now validated by the actual results of the 2010 elections — that the Harvard-trained President Obama has been some sort of a whiz-bang genius in the White House. With unemployment riding perpetually just shy of double digits, the nation’s treasury massively in debt to the tune of trillions, with all this “outreach” to Islamic countries who still inspire would be bombers and terrorists — the real question may be “is the someone too dumb to be president already president?”
But no one in the liberal media will ask this of any liberal president. Republicans and conservatives only need apply for the “too dumb to be president” title.
That’s the game. It’s an old game.
And the absolute last person who should pay any attention to this very old game — and who is, one suspects, as repeatedly demonstrated by her seriously accomplished life and record, far too smart to play it — is:
Someone who is decidedly not too dumb to be president.
If she wants to be.
Please read the entire piece. It is excellent.