The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Opposite of Surprise

The fact that John Kerry is less than a genius has left the realm of partisan talking points and is now official news. Alex Whitlock has a good post on why this reasonably obvious truth emerged so slowly:
Or, perhaps, Democrats like to believe that those they nominate are or should be more intelligent while it's not a priority for Republicans or even is perhaps a negative. I suspect that the dumb Republican versus nerdy Democrat framing persists because neither side has a particular interest in busting it.
[Aside: Mr. Whitlock's line of reasoning, if true, shows an advantage for Republicans in the medium term. Voters are already familiar with the "He's a powerful rich boy, just pretending to be everyman," and it will hurt Democrats when they start to hear "Here's another one, dumber 'n a bag of hammers and saying how smart he is" directed at their candidates.]

Anyone who affects to be surprised by these revelations has simply not been paying attention. Even without information from Ann Althouse and Steve Sailer, the campaign itself told the truth. Bush's supporters quoted the President's speeches, at least on democracy and terrorism, enthusiastically. On the other hand, in October 2004, Kevin Drum mentioned Kerry 545 times. Excluding debate analysis, he quoted Kerry twice:
"We need an international effort to compete with radical madrassas," Kerry said in his Los Angeles speech.
First, here's what Kerry said: "General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, told him [i.e., George Bush] he was going to need several hundred thousand [troops in Iraq]. And guess what? They retired General Shinseki for telling him that."
Neither of these is meant to inspire, or chosen for its brilliance. Kerry is known only by his words, and his words provided nothing his supporters desired. Thus the idea that Kerry was intelligent could be seen at the time to have no basis. This strongly supports Mr. Whitlock's theory, that the myth persisted because no one wanted to see it dispelled.