In a week of campaigning, Rick Perry has made Michele Bachmann look positively professorial.
The previous frontrunner specializes in little gaffes--like mistaking serial killer John Wayne Gacy for the cowboy star, starting the Revolutionary War in Concord, N. H. instead of Lexington, Mass., mistaking the anniversary of Elvis’ death for his birthday and worrying about the rise of the Soviet Union, which hasn’t existed for 20 years.
But Perry has not troubled himself with such trivia, choosing instead to go for Texas-sized ignorance about bigger subjects such as evolution, climate change and Social Security, bringing the level of often-wrong-but-never-in-doubt to new presidential campaign highs.
Forty year ago, when President Nixon nominated a Supreme Court Justice widely considered “mediocre,” Sen. Roman Hruska defended the choice: "Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance?”
By that logic, the current GOP presidential field has opened new vistas for the intellectually challenged, with Perry taking it all into uncharted territory.
As Republican hopefuls pile on the President as an elitist out of touch with the American people, they are offering the alternative of uninformed certitude in many flavors.
Little wonder that the lone exception, Jon Huntsman, is tweeting his supporters: “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”
In this political climate, many undoubtedly will.
Update: A former Reagan and Bush I White House official Bruce Bartlett labels Perry “an idiot.” So far no rebuttal by any organization that defends idiots from being defamed.
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin continues her mental strip tease with a scheduled Labor Day weekend speech in Iowa, telling reporters, “To be fair to those supporters and potential supporters who are waiting on figuring out what the set field will be, I want to be fair to them and make sure that they don’t feel like they are just hanging on to something that’s not going to happen.”
Asked about Perry, Bachmann and others, Palin says, “I don’t worry about any of the candidates...I would just run my own race, if I were to run.”
The Stupidity Sweepstakes, however, would be seriously overcrowded.