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Rick Santorum: “The Smart People Will Never Be On Our Side”

The Family Research Council is holding its annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. again this weekend. Most of the speakers have been about what you’d expect. They’ve had people such as Kirk Cameron, who apparently thinks his time on an 1980s sitcom qualifies him as a political pundit, and Michele Bachmann, who yesterday called President Obama the most dangerous President ever. Today, it was Rick Santorum’s turn, and his speech in part focused on a favorite topic among Social Conservatives, the denigration of intellectualism: 

WASHINGTON, DC — Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum attacked the media and “smart people” for not being on the side of conservatives in a speech to the Values Voter Summit on Saturday.

“We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country,” Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, told the audience at the Omni Shoreham hotel. “We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.”

The media “doesn’t like the other side,” Santorum said. “And not necessarily, I would argue, because they agree with them, but because they can influence the country.

“If just a few people make decisions about what this world looks like, what this country looks like, then you have people sitting in offices at major media outlets and Hollywood who think they can deal with a small group of people, to get them to jump through the hoops they want you to,” Santorum said.

Here’s the video:

Now, obviously, there are a few jokes one could make based on this quote,  but I think there’s a broader point to be drawn from Santorum’s remarks.

What Santorum said today is emblematic of rhetoric you hear quite frequently from people on the right such as Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity. Generally, they idea seems to be that there’s something about being intelligent, or curious about the world, or interested in something beyond the orthodox interpretations of history and the law that conservatives insist upon. You see it manifest itself in the rejection of even the rather obvious fact that humanity can have an influence on the environment around it and, most irrationally, in the very rejection of everything that biology, anthropology, physics, and cosmology teach us. For many on the right, it’s easier to believe in the stories written in a 6,000 year old book than it is in the evidence of just how amazing the universe around them actually is. They can believe whatever they want, of course, but the fact that they constantly try to force these beliefs on others, most especially through the public school system, makes their disdain for knowledge a matter of public concern.

It’s quite ironic that there’s an entire branch of conservatism that has come to this, because things were quite different when the modern conservative movement started. Back then, conservatism was exemplified by men like Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley, Jr. and, even well into the 1980s, National Review would publish heavily intellectual arguments and review books that, well, were a heck of a lot more substantial than the latest screed from Mark Levin or Ann Coulter. There is still an intellectual wing of conservatism today, but it’s far smaller than it used to be and, quite often, it finds itself being rejected by the activists for whom people like Santorum, Bachmann, and Palin are heroes. George Will gets called a RINO, for example, every other week depending on what he writes in his Washington Post or says on This Week. Guys like Richard Brookheiser have spent most of their time writing history in recent years, and guys like David Brooks, Ross Douthat, and David Frum are rejected by the base mostly because they dare to write for non-approved publications. Today, the right’s excuse for intellecutals are people like David Barton, Glenn Beck’s favorite Founding Era historian, who has been caught making claims about the Founders that are not supported by the historical evidence. At the same time, you hear conservative pundits deriding  what Santorum calls the “smart people,” a phrase I argue that was meant to be derisive and was understood as such by his audience, and promoting people like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Christine O’Donnell. It’s really quite sad when you think about it.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. PogueMahone says:

    Tell me something I don’t know.

    Cheers.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  2. CSK says:

    I could be wrong about this, but I tend to trace the anti-intellectual movement in modern conservatism back to Pat Buchanan, who in 1992 made his famous “peasants with pitchforks” remark, which was pretty much a direct attack on anyone who, as Doug points out, manifested any kind of intellectual curiosity. Limbaugh seized that and ran with it; he uses the word “intellectual” as if it were a synonym for “child molester.” Then Palin, whose motto appears to be “syntax is for liberals,” brought anti-intellectualism to its current high water mark.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 1

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Considering the fact that Santorum thought it was insulting to think that everybody who wants to go to college should have the opportunity to, I am not surprised at this.

    Santorum, the gift that keeps on giving.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  4. gus says:

    Don’t worry, Little Ricky there are more stupid people than smart ones

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  5. Modulo Myself says:

    Actually, conservatives are basically anti-intellectual intellectuals. They have the worst trait of intellectuals, which is to think of the world solely in theoretical terms, but then they feel forced to have to account intellectually for a wide variety of personal prejudices and biases, so out come these endless theories about how to explain away climate change or to make the world full of one great enemy.

    Conservatives really can’t let go of anything. The more normal conservatives desert the party, the more the philosophy is a towering junk heap of immobility where no failed idea is ever thrown out. The real analogue is Marxism, after everything factual went wrong. Marxists too ended up believing that their natural enemies, liberals, were exactly as politicized as a Maoist cadre.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 4

  6. stonetools says:

    What’s Kinsley’s definition of a gaffe?
    When a politician accidentally tells the truth.
    The Republicans is currently the party for stupid people. This is not what Bill Maher says. Its what one of its leader says.
    Face it, Doug. The crazies and moderates have fought for the soul of the Republican Party, and the crazies won.

    Exhibit One: Mitt Romney. He started off as a moderate Republican in the mold of Poppy Bush. In order to win the presidential nomination , he had to morph himself into a clown acceptable to Grover Nordquist, Gary Bauer, and Rush Limbaugh.
    He is now the leader of a whole bunch of clowns, running for election who believe things like global warming is a hoax, that women who are raped can magically stop pregnancies, and that tax cuts and wars pay for themselves.
    Maybe its time for you and Dr. Joyner to stop hoping for your fathers’ Republican Party.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 1

  7. Dan says:

    Maybe if Romney loses, Republicans will nominate Sarah Palin in 2016 and we can have the dream ticket of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Any argument between them will lead to a catfight, which will lead to a kiss and possibly sex. Maybe there wouldn’t have to be a catfight before they make out or have sex. There’s bound to be a lot of sexual tension and desire when two amazingly hot and passionate women are working close together.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 22

  8. jukeboxgrad says:

    A few smart conservatives like Posner have been talking about the intellectual decline of conservatism for years:

    I sense intellectual deterioration of the once-vital conservative movement. … My theme is the intellectual decline of conservatism, and it is notable that the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings. … By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Conservative intellectuals had no party. … The conservative movement is at its lowest ebb since 1964.

    (link, link)

    And he recently spoke out again:

    I’ve become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  9. jukeboxgrad says:

    According to his son, William F. Buckley said this:

    I’ve spent my entire lifetime separating the Right from the kooks

    Buckley is dead, and he lost that battle. The GOP has been assimilated by the kooks.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  10. @OzarkHillbilly:

    It is a really weird moment. Many of us have criticized right-wing anti-intellectualism in these pages. I still think Kevin Phillips deserves special credit for calling “American Theocracy” as early as he did. But that was all from the outside.

    It seems like it should be an end-point when people in the movement themselves recognize their anti-intellectual aspects. Can they really go steady on from there, knowing that they can’t fit the smart people and the college educated?

    (PD name-dropped Thomas Jefferson in another thread, and I noted that he couldn’t get elected today for this very reason. All candidates, and not just Republicans, have made their pilgrimages to the fundamentalist pastors for their blessings.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  11. Argon says:

    Read The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll. Consider what the Southern Baptists used to be compared to what they’ve been since they purged themselves of critical thought over the past couple decades. Even some Catholics find that mindset appealing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  12. @john personna:

    Jefferson couldn’t get elected due in no small part to his views on religion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  13. @Modulo Myself:

    FWIW, I think I can make a reasoned defense for something right-of-left, if you know what I mean.

    It’s just that right-minus-RINOs don’t have too much reasonable remaining.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. @Doug Mataconis:

    Did you just skim my post? ;-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. gVOR08 says:

    @stonetools:

    The Republicans is currently the party for stupid people. This is not what Bill Maher says. Its what one of its leader says.

    Correct. And it must be so. At one time the Republican Party represented a broad swath of the middle and upper class. Or at least was perceived to do so. Now it pretty much represents the interests of the top .01%. Aside from people like Doug and James who apparently believe they are somehow still represented by the GOP, who else can they get to vote for them?

    The Tea Party did not arise spontaneously, it was cultivated by elite Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  16. Woody says:

    @stonetools:

    Don’t forget that the GOP conducted a rather long and public process of determining their Presidential standard-bearer – and that mediocre Mitt won handily. As a citizen who will not vote the GOP ticket in the Presidential, he was the best of a ghastly lot.

    In American political movements, when fealty becomes more valued than reason, the intellectual glue of a party’s platform dissolves, leaving only outrage and catchphrases.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  17. Facebones says:

    As a great American once said, “there’s a sucker born every minute.” Lucky for Santorum, Limbaugh, Malkin, et al.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. michael reynolds says:

    There is still an intellectual wing of conservatism today, but it’s far smaller than it used to be…

    It’s not a wing. It’s a feather.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 47 Thumb down 2

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna:

    It is a really weird moment.

    Surreal even.

    It seems like it should be an end-point when people in the movement themselves recognize their anti-intellectual aspects. Can they really go steady on from there, knowing that they can’t fit the smart people and the college educated?

    I don’t know. It is like they want to become extinct.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Woody:

    In American political movements, when fealty becomes more valued than reason, the intellectual glue of a party’s platform dissolves, leaving only outrage and catchphrases.

    This.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  21. al-Ameda says:

    Rick is – if nothing else – transparent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  22. RaflW says:

    There’s been a fair bit of surprise over how poorly Mitt Romney is campaigning in the general election. But if one accepts Santorum’s theory, and that’s not all that difficult to do, then what in fact is happening is that smart people are not, by and large, being drawn into conservative politics these days. I just don’t think the best and brightest are attracted to GOP politicing right now, and it shows in the lackluster quality of Mr. Romney’s campaign.

    I actually trace this back, at least in part, to Reagan’s (misquoted) trope that government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem. If you believe this at a fundamental level, why would you want to join the organization that you think is so terrible/malign/useless? That folks like Rush and Ms. Palin have more recently been active anti-intellectuals has worsened the situation, but it has seemed to be decades in the making.

    The epistemic closure that was all the buzz some months ago certainly is closely related to the thinness of the heft of conservative ideas and policies of late, too. There really is very little there, there. And a couple more electoral spankings may be needed before change comes to conservative attempts at governing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  23. michael reynolds says:

    Talking about intellectual conservatives now is like talking about intellectual flat-earthers. The small government dogma is simply irrelevant to the modern world. It’s silly. It ain’t happenin’. It’s fantasy.

    There’s a reason why 100% of the successful countries on this planet have strong governments, regulated capitalism, and a safety net. Because that’s what works. Not 50% or 60%: One Hundred Percent. As in all. As in there are no exceptions.

    Believing otherwise is, to quote Santorum, stupid. And if there’s one thing on which Santorum’s an expert, it’s stupidity.

    So here’s the true definition of a “conservative intellectual.” A person holding a job in a think tank or publication who deliberately avoids facing reality in order to hold onto his or her position.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 2

  24. Spartacus says:

    Doug wrote: “It’s quite ironic that there’s an entire branch of conservatism that has come to this, because things were quite different when the modern conservative movement started.”

    It’s not ironic at all when you stop to recognize that people who consider themselves part of the smart group of conservatives still vote for the GOP/conservative candidate despite that candidate’s rejection of all the empirical data that proves his policies to be a failure. (See James Joyner) Why would you expect conservative intellectualism to maintain its vibrancy when the candidate of anti-intellectualism is never thoroughly rejected by those who know better?

    “guys like David Brooks, Ross Douthat, and David Frum are rejected by the base mostly because they dare to write for non-approved publications.”

    These guys, like James Joyner, are occasionally highly critical of the GOP, but they all will still vote for Romney. And, that wouldn’t be a problem if they could explain why Romney would be better than Obama on the issues that matter most to the country, but they can’t explain it because Romney won’t be better. It’s purely tribalism.

    Incidentally, a very similar criticism applies to you, Doug. You’ve stated that you will no longer choose the lesser of two evils. By refusing to choose the lesser of two evils while living in a swing state that may truly decide the election, you’re making it easier for the greater of two evils to win.

    You should give that a lot of thought before you write your next article criticizing the Santorums, Palins and Bachmanns of the GOP.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 4

  25. Modulo Myself says:

    @john personna:

    It’s tough to figure out where right-of-left would be right now except well inside the mainstream democratic party line.

    @Spartacus:

    I think when Doug or James breaks with the GOP, it won’t be a gentle push into the moderate column. They’re going to be going John Cole for a couple of years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  26. stonetools says:

    There’s been a fair bit of surprise over how poorly Mitt Romney is campaigning in the general election.

    Actually, its not that he is campaigning all that badly. Its that his ideas and policies suck, largely because they have been shown not to work and are otherwise not based in reality.

    1. Tax cuts don’t pay for themselves, or automatically create jobs.
    2. Unregulated financial markets don’t automatically lead to stability or prosperity.
    3.Businesses can’t be trusted to protect the environment and the public, in the absence of regulation.
    4. War-making and ” not apologizing for America” isn’t a sensible foreign policy.
    5. Russia isn’t our main enemy any longer.
    6. Banning abortions in most cases isn’t a sensible family planning policy.
    7. Discriminating against gays for no good reason isn’t constitutional.

    I could go on, but the point is that no amount of slick ad making can make these policies look sensible .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  27. Moosebreath says:

    When Adlai Stevenson was running for President (I think in ’52), a supporter told him he’d have the votes of every thinking person in the country. Stevenson replied, “Dear boy, the problem is I need a majority.”

    Times haven’t changed much.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  28. LC says:

    I try my best to understand Conservatives, “elite” Conservatives, “smart” Conservatives. I follow this blog. I read The Dish. I get the WSJ, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Economist. But I simply do not get them.

    As a group, intellectual Conservatives are like Biblical Fundamentalists. They start with a small set of theoretical principles, and when they run across facts that contradict those principles, do they rethink, reconsider? No. They double down. They figure out a way to manipulate statistics to “prove” that what their bible says is true is still true. Thus, for ex., we have Conservatives argue that poverty isn’t a problem in the U.S. because even the poorest person is better off than a peasant in Bangladesh. (So now we measure the success of the U.S. capitalistic system by comparing it with countries like Bangladesh?)

    Would some Conservative, maybe somebody on this blog, please explain to me why life in Denmark, Norway or Sweden for the average citizen is so much worse than life in the U.S. for the average citizen that we must avoid, at all costs, becoming even a little bit more like them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  29. @Modulo Myself:

    It’s tough to figure out where right-of-left would be right now except well inside the mainstream democratic party line.

    I’d like to think a more reasonable conservative movement could be put together with the RINOs in charge. Of course that is a total flip from the group Santorum is talking about, the group holding their summit this week.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  30. cd6 says:

    While this is an obvious conclusion, its equally obvious Rick is too stupid to reach it himself. Ergo, some smart person (aka liberal) told him. Good job, whoever that was.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  31. mattb says:

    I would humbly suggest that what has happened is that “Conservatives” have been largely replaced by a loose coalition of “Reactionaries.”

    And there are two major reasons for this – first is the post WWII economic and technological transformation of the World. In particular, the brief period of post-war stability and prosperity it created within the US, which was then, immediately followed by creative capitalism’s destabilization and destruction of that era through globalization, technological churn, and multi-culturalism.

    All of that set up the foundation for a reactionary turn — especially for people for whom the “American Contract” fell apart.

    But equally important was the foundation of Conservative Inc — the recognition of this coalition of conservatives not simply as a political force, but as a market force. And once people started to get rich off of the Reactionaries, the wheels really started to fall off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  32. @LC:

    For what it’s worth, Bruce Bartlett (a RINO) will give you a serious answer:

    The first thing to know is that there is no formal definition of who is rich, middle class or poor. Of course, there is an official definition for the poverty rate, but that figure is just a back of the envelope calculation that has simply been increased by the inflation rate since the 1960s. There are many other ways of calculating the poverty rate that could either raise the poverty threshold or reduce it.

    Historically, less than 6 percent of people identify with the lower class – well below the poverty rate, which was 15.1 percent in 2010 – and about 3 percent with the upper class. Not surprisingly, the economic crisis has increased the ranks of the lower class and working class and reduced the ranks of the middle class and upper class.

    That’s the right sort of argument. If we are going to judge people “in poverty” it should be people who really are.

    More from another source:

    The Problem of the Definition of Poverty

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  33. mattb says:

    @LC:
    Not for nothing, but if you are interested in Smart Conservatives, a good place to read is the Blogs section of the American Conservative (in particular Larison). There are a number of very smart cookies* over there who make well grounded arguments. And there’s a lot of cross conversation between the blogs, and a healthy level of diverging thought (which one should find in any classically liberal conservative public sphere).

    * – Just to be clear, I don’t count Pat B. among the smart conservatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  34. JohnMcC says:

    Like most right-of-center intellectuals Mr Mataconis harkens back to the early days of their movement and wonders how the descendents of WFBuckley, James Burnham and Russel Kirk could have come to this. As though there were no other antecedents to conservative politics.

    Of course, there are several streams that joined to form this cesspool. There is Joe McCarthy who gave voice to the conservative idea that anyone who isn’t “us” is our enemy. There is George Wallace who said that those “professors” who lorded their vaunted learning over simple working folks really “can’t park their bicycles straight” and if you looked into those imposing brief cases you’d find a “peanut butter sandwich”. There is the John Birch Society that knows an intricate and indecipherable conspiracy is stalking our way of life.

    Mr Buckley made it his life’s work to keep the kooks out. When he died, no one took up the task. The result is for all to see.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  35. Spartacus says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    “They’re going to be going John Cole for a couple of years.”

    I think you’re right. I often become very frustrated with conservatives/GOPers who have all the correct facts, but still make the wrong conclusions. My first thought is that they have bad intentions, but I then have to remind myself that because they are conservatives, they will necessarily be late in coming to the right conclusion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  36. DRS says:

    …the stories written in a 6,000 year old book…

    Not to be a nit-picker but I think you’re conflating age-of-the-earth creationists with the Bible here. Surely the oldest parts of the OT can’t be more than 2,500 years old, if that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  37. I agree the WFB was a smart fellow and I would welcome a more intelligent conservative voice in the mix.

    Of course, apropos of Santorum’s comments is this rather famous quip by Buckley: “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”

    There is more than a little anti-intellectual elite in that formulation.

    Also, I have decided that “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it” is not an especially intellectual position.

    I like the notion of caution and reflection. The notion of yelling stop, however, is another matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  38. (Granted, it depend on what “at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it” means and when it is okay not to yell stop.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  39. Santorum represents the worst of the anti-intellectual trend, because he owes a good bit of his own power and standing to his education.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  40. Spartacus says:

    @john personna:

    “I’d like to think a more reasonable conservative movement could be put together with the RINOs in charge.”

    Isn’t the Democratic party basically that? The GOP has moved so far to the right that all of the reasonable ground is now occupied by the Democratic party. This is why the GOP cannot abandon the social conservatives. That is the only remaining political ground in the GOP that hasn’t yet been totally debunked.

    Social conservatism is the only vibrant strain of conservative ideology. Where is the mass of voters who still believes that tax cuts create jobs and pay for themselves? Where is the mass of voters who believes in preemptive war or that the U.S. should start a war with Iran? There is, however, a very large voting block that is anti-choice and anti-SSM.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  41. michael reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My ideal conservative isn’t yelling “Stop!” he’s asking, “So, how are you kids going to pay for that?”

    The balance point should be between idealism and pragmatism.

    Over here are the things we all wish we could do: health care for all, free education, make sure kids are decently treated, make sure the food and drugs are safe, save people from tyranny.

    Over there: Look, we only have so much money, we can’t deprive people of incentives, we should be cautious before rushing in., we’re going to have to prioritize.

    That’s what the country needs. That conversation. What the country does not need is racism, gay-bashing, tribalism, denial of reality. Right now “conservatism” contributes nothing useful. Which is a shame because we need that voice. Right now the only real conservatives left are inside the Democratic Party.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  42. Hoot Gibson says:

    Ain’t it bizarre though that all these trogs voted for Mitt Romney as their nominee?

    I mean, he isn’t exactly an anti-intellectual.

    1. Accepted to Stanford but quit to go on a mission for his church.Maybe this is what Obama called “community organizing”. lol

    2. Graduated from BYU with a 3.97 GPA. Do we know what Obama’s GPA from Columbia was? Um, no.

    3.Enrolled at Harvard Law and Harvard Business simultaneously, receiving an MBA and JD both in ’75.Cum laude.

    It’s interesting that leftwingers like Doug are eager to paint the GOP as the party of anti-intellectuals yet amazingly milllions of these knuckle-dragging trogs voted for a guy who has more, bigger and better credentials than the sainted Barack Obama.

    It’s a freakin’ paradox or conundrum or some damn thing I tell ya.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 19

  43. Jr says:

    See, James

    This is why you need to ditch the GOP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  44. john personna says:

    @Hoot Gibson:

    Maybe that says that Mass Mitt, running in a less crazy party, could have found a better footing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  45. jukeboxgrad says:

    hoot:

    a guy who has more, bigger and better credentials than the sainted Barack Obama

    Only if you think that cum laude is “better” than magna cum laude. If that’s what you think, go back to school.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  46. bk says:

    Things are pretty bad when hacks like David Brooks and Ross Douthat are considered “intellectuals”.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  47. michael reynolds says:

    @Hoot Gibson:

    The aw-shucks, I’m jes’ a simple country boy act works much better if you aren’t actually kinda dumb. To pull it off effectively you actually have to be clever.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  48. michael reynolds says:

    @bk:

    I agree. They’re intellectuals? How far are we going to lower that bar?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  49. Hoot Gibson says:

    Hey Jukebox does Obama have a Harvard JD and MBA? Of course not, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this economic mess Obama created.

    Get real.

    And do tell—-what was Obama GPA at Columbia? Too “top secret”, right? lol

    Reynolds, I have no idea what your point is. Maybe it’s a little early in the day for you to be hitting
    the sauce.

    Just sayin’.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 23

  50. michael reynolds says:

    @Hoot Gibson:

    Reynolds, I have no idea what your point is.

    Thanks for confirming my surmise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  51. jukeboxgrad says:

    hoot:

    does Obama have a Harvard JD and MBA? Of course not, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this economic mess Obama created.

    That’s an incredibly ironic and idiotic statement, because our first Harvard MBA president is precisely the person who created this mess. I know your concept of history is that the world began on 1/20/09, but most people don’t have that problem.

    One of the many similarities between Mitt and GWB is that they are both Harvard MBAs. Even the year is the same. Mitt’s campaign is pretty dumb, but they are not dumb enough to emphasize this fact. See if you can figure out why.

    what was Obama GPA at Columbia?

    I realize you think you know Mitt’s GPA, but I’d like to see it on a formal document. You need to explain why he’s hiding his transcripts from Stanford, BYU and Harvard.

    Also still waiting for you to explain where you got the wacky idea that cum laude is “better” than magna cum laude.

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  52. jukeboxgrad says:

    You also seem to have the strange idea that not being part of Harvard Law Review is “better” than being President of the Harvard Law Review. Something else you need to explain.

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  53. @Dan:

    Past history says the 2016 candidate is going to be the guy who came in second in 2012. That is, Rick Santorum.

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  54. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Santorum vs. Cuomo? Or Santorum vs. Clinton. I’ll buy a ticket to either of those fights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  55. @michael reynolds:

    Dunno, just that you with the exception of 2000, you have to go back to the 60s to find an election where the republican nominee was not the second place finisher in the last contested primary. And in 2000, that was primarily because Bucahanan left the party between 1996 and 2000.

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  56. Mikey says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Past history says the 2016 candidate is going to be the guy who came in second in 2012. That is, Rick Santorum.

    I used to be a Republican, but there’s no longer any place in the GOP for a socially-moderate (i. e. pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage), non-religious Gen-X’er like me. I’ve been hearing from them for several years about how they could WIN! if ONLY! they would nominate a REAL! CONSERVATIVE! like Santorum.

    Well, at this point I hope they do, because when he gets his ass handed to him on Election Day 2016, it will finally prove that idiocy wrong, and maybe then the GOP can return to something like the intellectually-strong conservatism of Buckley.

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  57. Tom Hilton says:

    I don’t know if Hofstadter is spinning in his grave, or laughing his ghostly ass off. But he’s definitely doing one of the two.

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  58. george says:

    I know a number of very intelligent people who call themselves conservatives (mainly physicists and engineers). However, they’re all, without exception, fiscal conservatives and social liberals.

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  59. grumpy realist says:

    @george: That’s what we need. I see two ways that things go: one, the Republican party continues indulging its fruitcake contingent, goes even harder right. Either they get elected and do an awful job, or they run and get their asses handed to them.

    Or, another party starts on the “far” left, the Democrats continue morphing into Rockefeller Republicans, and the Republicans go the way of the Whigs.

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  60. al-Ameda says:

    @Hoot Gibson:

    Hey Jukebox does Obama have a Harvard JD and MBA? Of course not, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this economic mess Obama created.

    Just so you know, the catastrophic collapse of the financial and housing markets in 2008 happened before Obama was inaugurated in January of 2009.

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  61. eecaire says:

    I consider myself a conservative in that I know there are irreversible principles and irreversible facts and I think that all too many liberals disavow the former while approximately the same number of conservatives disavow the latter.

    It’s the reason, if you don’t mind the conjecture, that you feel you cannot vote.

    I feel the same way. And it doesn’t really matter who wins because there is no vision, perhaps no possibility, for an American advance attached to its founding while perfecting its Union.

    Buckley is known for “standing athwart history” and yelling “stop!” Why is that considered clever or profound?

    And Kirk had more admirable things to say about Nathan Bedford Forrest than he did of his opponents.

    Conservatism thrives in the individual as discipline without excuse making of any kind.

    It is lonely in that its eccentricities encourage solitude. In Eliot’s description of the weavers that come to Raveloe she makes this point more eloquently than I ever could.

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  62. An Interested Party says:

    Ain’t it bizarre though that all these trogs voted for Mitt Romney as their nominee?

    I mean, he isn’t exactly an anti-intellectual.

    That only makes him worse, as he probably knows damn well that most of what he is saying and promoting these days is pure bull$hit, yet he keeps doing these thing to try to win the votes of ignorant people…

    Santorum vs. Cuomo? Or Santorum vs. Clinton. I’ll buy a ticket to either of those fights.

    More like bloodbaths…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  63. CW says:

    @gus:

    Apparently….and we’ve seen what happens when all these “smart ppl” get together and elect an idiot.

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  64. C. Clavin says:

    Darn…I was hoping to find a comment from Jan defending stupid.

    There is much to admire about Conservatism. Today’s Reublicans are not Conservatives. They are radicals.. driven to the extreme by Obama…the most Conservative candidate in this race.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  65. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Jan disappeared once the polls went south.

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  66. MBunge says:

    When the GOP decided to pursue the Southern Strategy, and everyone from Buckley on down agreed or assented to that approach, wasn’t something like the current situation unavoidable?

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  67. superdestroyer says:

    Has everyone become so bored with the presidential election that they have to pay attention to someone who is totally irrelevant like Santorum?

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  68. al-Ameda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Has everyone become so bored with the presidential election that they have to pay attention to someone who is totally irrelevant like Santorum?

    Well, he was the second leading candidate among the GOP presidential field this year. Not only that, he provided a quote, a plausible explanation if you will, for the prominence of people like Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum in today’s GOP.

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  69. superdestroyer says:

    @al-Ameda:

    And since Romney has zero chance of being elected, what relevance is being someone who lost to Romney during the primaries.

    And the real reason that the GOP has become irrelevant is that the Bush Clan decided that the Republican Party should be their personal play thing and they are not willing to share with anyone else of talent. Thus, after two failed Bush Presidencies, there are many in the Republican Party who are openly talking about Jeb Bush for 2016. That Jeb Bush is an idiot, is short sighted, and suffers from the same lack of charisma, judgment, and intelligence that his father and brother suffered from does not affect the situation.

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  70. al-Ameda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    That Jeb Bush is an idiot, is short sighted, and suffers from the same lack of charisma, judgment, and intelligence that his father and brother suffered from does not affect the situation.

    Compared to Santorum and Bachmann, I think Jeb Bush comes across as well-adjusted and normal. But then again, Mitt Romney is intelligent, yet he seems to be groveling toward the GOP’s lowest common denominator.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  71. superdestroyer says:

    @al-Ameda:

    After watching Jeb Bush on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday, it is apparent that reality means nothing to Jeb Bush and that others would lead him around by the nose much like his brother was lead around by men his stronger personalities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  72. Barry says:

    @bk: “Things are pretty bad when hacks like David Brooks and Ross Douthat are considered “intellectuals”. ”

    I was about to say that; those two are stupid people’s ideas of what intellectuals are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  73. Barry says:

    @Hoot Gibson: “Hey Jukebox does Obama have a Harvard JD and MBA? Of course not, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this economic mess Obama created. ”

    D*mn, troll can’t even grunt the right grunts. President Barrack Hussein Obama has a JD, but no MBA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  74. Ken says:

    @Hoot Gibson: It’s interesting that leftwingers like Doug

    Mind = Blown.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  75. gaius marius says:

    @Modulo Myself: Santorum is pushing an entirely false dichotomy, one which highlights why the so-called “conservative” movement in America is anything but. i entirely agree with your comparison to Marxism — these people are radicals, dystopic revolutionaries bent on overturning every extant public institution they can get a hold of. that is the opposite of conservatism.

    but no one is done any favors by positing that actual conservatives — so few in number in America as to be invisible — are “anti-intellectual intellectuals”. you do not have to disdain reality to see the benefices of institutional stability in society. you do not have to reject the world to insist that ideas be resisted, tried and tested to prevent the adoption of the beautifully ridiculous. change is inevitable; conservatism is simply a method of adaptation to change that places the stability of human civilization ahead of reckless experimental imperatives. and that method is best seen as a lesson learned, a distillation of thousands of years of experience with the sometimes-violent interface of human society and change.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  76. grumpy realist says:

    @gaius marius: The problem is that Conservatives of that stripe are still far too enamored of the status quo and of supporting whoever is in power. Based on the “thousands of years of tradition” argument, we wouldn’t have gotten rid of a) slavery, b) men having the right to rape their wives, c) Jews, blacks, and women not being admitted to law school/medical school.

    Scratch a so-called conservative and in far too many cases you find a white male unwilling to share economic or political power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  77. swbarnes2 says:

    you do not have to reject the world to insist that ideas be resisted, tried and tested to prevent the adoption of the beautifully ridiculous.

    Yes… women voting, black people not being slaves, gay people being fired for being gay. Where would we be if conservatives hadn’t fought so hard to keep that ridiculous stuff from happening sooner?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0