Friday, August 08, 2008

"Real Men Don't Think Things Through"

“It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant."

-- Barack Obama

Paul Krugman in the NY Times this morning expands on Obama's criticism of the McCain campaign. Krugman's argument is summarized in this excerpt from his column:

"...Know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy.

The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”
Having just lived through 7 years of the "Gentleman's C" Presidency of George W. Bush, we could make a long list of examples of this slogan in action - examples of the perverse, full-throated, quien es muy macho, anti-intellectualism of today's GOP.

Krugman digs up this 2004 quote from Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan; I think it captures quite well the strength of the know-nothing attitude in the GOP and also its importance to George W. Bush's popularity among his base:

“Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man....He’s not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world.”
Krugman doubts that bi-partisanship can succeed when one party clings so firmly, so proudly, to its ignorance. I prefer to think of Americans as people who can be fooled some of the time, but not all of the time.

Note: The original Know-Nothing party was a nativist and anti-Catholic party that was absorbed into the Republican Party in 1860. Krugman's use of the term "know-nothingism" is clever enough, but is not a historical reference or analogy to that defunct party.

posted at 6:58:00 AM by Neil

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