On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh claimed that the Republican Party’s problem is that they are looking for a nominee who is smart. He claimed that Obama is dumb, so smart doesn’t matter.
Here is the audio from Media Matters:
Stop. Based on what? See, here’s this thing again: “He’s very smart.” If there is anything that is hamstringing the Republican nomination process, it’s this smart business. I said on this program two weeks ago, and I sent this note around to some friends to prove it. I said it on this program. I said, “The thing that worries me…” In fact, that’s not how I put it. I said to a couple of people and on this program that we are — a lot of voters, a lot of people calling this program seem to be — focusing on one thing, and that’s whether or not we have a nominee that sounds smart. Because our voters are fed up with dumb-sounding Republicans. You know it and I know it.
Remember how the left made fun of Bush, thought he was stupid idiot ’cause he got deer-in-the-headlight eyes when he was on camera, and then the same thing was said about Rick Perry. Romney looks smart and everybody was happy about that, but Gingrich has come along, and I’m convinced that one of the things propelling Gingrich is that he sounds smart; and our side is longing, yearning for somebody to sound smart. Our side is also of the belief — and I’ve even argued with Snerdley about this and Snerdley’s argued with me on the air about this — that debates are factors in winning election, and certainly in presidential elections, I just don’t see it.
You can maybe cite a couple like Gerald Ford goofing up on what was and what wasn’t within the Soviet bloc, you know, Reagan saying in another Republican primary, “I paid for this microphone,” but in terms of there aren’t enough presidential debates. There’s probably only gonna be one or two with Obama. There aren’t enough of those things to matter. Organization, money, ideas, ideology, that’s the kind of stuff that triumphs. We have people who are so fed up with Republicans sounding like idiots and somebody comes along and sounds smart… But because, why? Because we’ve been told how smart Obama is; and why do we think Obama’s smart?
We haven’t seen anybody’s grades. We’ve got every Republican is getting a media anal exam on his religion, for example. The media hasn’t dared ONCE look into Obama’s religion, because that would mean looking into Jeremiah Wright, and Jeremiah Wright’s off-limits. Jeremiah Wright was off-limits in 2008, and we’ve been told Jeremiah Wright’s off-limits this election. So Rick Perry questions Obama’s religion or whatever he did in the debate so what does Obama do? Goes to church yesterday for the first time since Easter — and the press, rather than talk about the hypocrisy of that, praises Obama as a man of God-d and as a man of the cloth.
Rush Limbaugh is arguing that since Obama isn’t smart, Republicans shouldn’t be worried about choosing a nominee who is or sounds smart to match up with him. The problem is that Obama is smart. The president is very smart. A person does not successfully complete an Ivy League education and work as a constitutional law professor without being intelligent. (Obama also didn’t get his education the way George W. Bush did through family name and money. The president earned it on his own).
We don’t need to see Obama’s grades to know that he is smart. Just as we didn’t need to see George W. Bush’s grades to know that he was an intellectually disinterested president who was guided by beliefs, not facts. Limbaugh was actually spinning a variation on the uneducated conservatives’ claims that they have common sense instead of “book smarts.” (As if the two concepts are mutually exclusive and it is impossible for a human being to possess both).
The level of anti-intellectualism in the Republican Party is to the point where Rush Limbaugh is bemoaning the fact that some Republicans at least want to support a nominee who sounds smart. Limbaugh is telling them that they don’t need a smart sounding or intelligent nominee. They need a nominee who hates Obama and believes what they believe.
Rush Limbaugh believes that the GOP’s problem is that they are looking for a smart nominee, when the problem is the exact opposite. None of the previous anti-Romney candidates have been smart enough to get out of their own way.
Limbaugh’s whole the GOP needs to stay dumb rant demonstrates why Newt Gingrich has been able to surge in the polls. Gingrich has risen not because he is or sounds smart, but because he has convinced the Republican base that he shares their beliefs. Newt has become the frontrunner because he sounds smart while saying really dumb things.
What GOP primary voters really want is a nominee who makes their dumb ideas sound smart. Rick Perry couldn’t do it. Herman Cain failed at it, and so did Michele Bachmann. Mitt Romney sounds smart, perhaps too smart and they suspect he doesn’t share their beliefs, so he never really had a chance.
Rush Limbaugh was telling his audience that they need to embrace their inner stupid and stop trying to be smart. His message was that the path to true GOP enlightenment is through turning off the ability to critically think.
Limbaugh sees the GOP’s chance of defeating Obama starting to slip away, and all he can do is sit in his radio booth and pray for an even greater dumbing down of the American electorate.