Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Dumb Starts Earlier Every Time

Latest Newspaper Column:

I know that every time there’s an election, I’m going to see things in the national media that are so silly, so shallow, so utterly dimwitted, that they’re going to make me want to bang my head on my desk until the darkness claims me and the pain goes away.

But why, oh why, does it have to start so early?

Recently, Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared his candidacy for the presidency of the country he once openly talked about seceding from. Like an entire pack of Pavlov’s dogs, the right-wing media immediately went into full-out idiot mode and started drooling over Perry as the second coming of George Dubbya Bush.

Not only that, but they did it as if that was a good thing. 

For instance, columnist Kathleen Parker, writing in the supposedly liberal Washington Post, went all squealing fangirl on Perry, telling us with breathless adoration that Perry was a real Manly Man like Dubbya, claiming that they both “have that same je ne sais quoi that corresponds to the way a confident Southern male asks a girl to take a spin around the dance floor: ‘Wanna dance?”

She went on, like a bad romance novelist describing the handsome rogue who’ll soon be ripping the bodice of the feisty heroine: “There’s something slightly lazy in the mouth, half a smile, a knowing look … Weathered, creased and comfortable in jeans, they convey a regular guyness that everyday Americans relate to. Take it or leave it, it happens to be true.”

Oh, for God’s sake. The man’s a candidate for the highest office in the land, not the king of the freakin’ prom. I had hoped that the eight-year disaster that was the Dubbya Reign of Error had at long last put a stake though the heart of this “the president needs to be a regular guy” nonsense. I’d hoped we were done with selecting our chief executive on the basis of which one you’d rather have a beer with. 

Let me tell you, folks, I am a guy you would love to have a beer with. Ask anyone who’s ever had a beer with me. I am all kinds of fun in a beer-enabled environment. I can do the half-smile and the knowing look. I’m so comfortable in jeans you have to shake me from time to time to keep me from falling asleep. But even I’ll be the first to tell you: You do not want me to be president of the United States.

Here’s the thing: Anyone who wants to be the president of the United States is not a “regular guy” (or girl), and I don’t want them to be. It is a supreme act of arrogance for anyone, of any party, to stand in front of the cameras and tell the watching multitudes, “I am qualified to be the leader of the Free World.”

Anyone who pretends that it’s anything else, and tries to convince you that hey, they’re just like you, needs to be viewed with the same skepticism as a guy offering to sell you a Rolex watch on the street.

One of the biggest problems with this country right now is that we’ve made being smart something to be suspicious of. We’ve made, “Well, I guess you think you’re pretty smart, don't you,” a legitimate retort. We’ve become a society where the phrase, “Well, I might not know much, but I know one thing,” is never followed, as it should be, with “and it’s that I need to shut up.”

But I want the president to be the smartest person in the room, any room, and I don’t really care if he or she acts like it. I want an elitist president, just like I want an elitist brain surgeon, or an elitist fireman, or an elitist Special Forces guy coming to get me out the hands of kidnappers.

I want somebody doing the tough jobs who’s a lot better at them than I’m ever going to be, and if he’s a little cocky about it, well, as the great American poet Kid Rock once wrote, “It ain’t braggin’, [bad word] if you back it up.”

It looks like it’s going to be another election filled with nonstories about whether the candidate’s tie or his lunch or his choice of hobbies makes him think he’s better than you, along with celebrations of some random ignoramus like Joe-Not-Really-the-Plumber.

It’s going to be a long campaign, not to mention another painfully dumb one.


Dana King said...

The sole redeeming feature I can think of is that these guys are kicking the campaign into Bachmann-Perry Overdrive so early that they'll all shoot themselves in the foot in time to spare us all a look at such a presidency.

If I were George Soros, I'd spend about $50 million on oppo research on all of them to see which one had the least chance to win next November, then leak out damaging bits about all the others in time to make sure the weakest candidate wins the nomination. He can then be dealt with during the general election campaign.

(Note to the conservatives who are appalled at my suggestion to subvert the election process: Right. Like the Koch brothers haven't thought of this already.)

JD Rhoades said...

Bachmann-Perry Overdrive

Consider that stolen.

Fran said...

Hear Hear!

Karen in Ohio said...

I like it, Dana.

Clinton was always the smartest person in the room, but he didn't make any bones about it. Thank goodness we had him in between the G Bush's, or who knows how bad of a fix the country would be in now.

Dory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dory said...

Dory said...
Perry is his own worst enemy; his feet find their way into his mouth.

Posting on political blogs about his latest verbal gaffe have segued to making bets on how soon he'll drop out.

Maybe his exit statement will be:
God told him it wasn't his time.

That should mollify his Dominionist followers....ya' think? ;)

As for Dana's suggestion, if I may add:
Vote in the Republican primary for the worst candidate. I'm hoping for Bachmann

Every little bit helps...right?

Dana King said...

Take it with my compliments. I wrote it with you in mind, knowing you like those kinds of turns of phrase.