Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at last night's debate with Senator Joe Biden at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo: Omar P.L. Moore/

The I'm With Stupid Nation
An Obsession With Dumbing Down A Political Candidate To Condescend To And Insult Americans

By Omar P.L. Moore/The Popcorn Reel
October 3, 2008

"I'm John McCain and I approve this madness."

It is madness when a vice presidential candidate is selected without being vetted.  It is madness -- and sheer stupidity -- when that candidate cannot tell a questioner the names of the newspapers she reads. 

It is stupidity when a candidate cannot name a single U.S. Supreme Court case when asked.

But it is even more stupid -- a huge mistake in fact -- when a simpleton who would make Forrest Gump blush, an incurious politician whose record is anathema to what most of America believes in where women's reproductive rights are concerned -- would be cynically foisted onto the American public, which was supposed to latch onto Republican Governor Sarah Palin without looking at her record as a politician in Alaska as a mayor and a governor.

The typical strategy cited by author Thomas Frank (in his must-read book What's The Matter With Kansas?) for the Republican side has been to say to voters in the American heartland -- "I'm with you and I understand you and those liberal elitists on both coasts are rich and out of touch with you" -- and last night Governor Sarah Palin did her best to reach out to the country and with a few winks and references to "mavericks" and "Joe Six Packs" and declarations that "change is coming", breathless intonations throughout a 95 minute debate, where she did fairly well but did not provide any substance or talk in detail about policy and about what she as a vice president would do.

But what's most stupid of all is the idea that Americans are stupid.  It is one of the biggest myths of all time. 

Here's a bigger newsflash: Americans are not stupid. 

Americans are misinformed by the mainstream media in their country -- but they're not stupid.  Far from it, in fact.

Americans are very clear about where the country is headed.  More than 82% of them think it is going in the wrong direction.  And earlier this week -- Monday -- when the House of Representatives in the U.S. Congress voted "no" on the bailout bill, you couldn't even get on the website -- it had crashed because of the volume of traffic created by people who were accessing the site.  It wasn't until the following morning that a certain someone was able to access it.

So Americans are not stupid -- and contrary to popular belief -- are very much engaged in the political process.

So just who out there is saying that Americans are stupid?

The mainstream media is saying that Americans are stupid, with many of its pundits (both Democratic and Republican) saying that candidates like Obama and running mate Biden should give shorter answers because, heaven forbid, to do otherwise would make them sound "professorial" or "boring".

In other words, dumb-down your presentation for Americans, because after all, they can't handle too much information, right?


There's already been a simpleton elected to America's highest office.  The idea that Americans, in the wake of the last eight years would eschew a ticket that has a superior education level -- Barack Obama graduated number one at Harvard Law School and was the president of Harvard Law Review, while John McCain graduated 894th out of 899 in the Annapolis Naval Academy and Governor Palin went to six colleges in five years (or was it five community colleges in six years?) -- is highly unlikely.

After all, why would one want a president in office who is less smart than they are?  In times like these, would it not be prudent to have a president and vice president who demonstrate reason, sound judgment, intelligence, smarts and achievement in education?

The point of all this is, Americans need information.

Finally, Americans are watching, and watching closely.  Some 52 million watched last week's Obama-McCain debate.  Thirty-nine million of them watched John McCain speak in last month's convention.  Thirty-eight million watched Barack Obama in August at his convention.  Almost the same amount watched Sarah Palin's speech last month.  

The fact is, the "I'm With Stupid" bandwagon has derailed.  The era of the romanticism of being as dumb as a bag of rocks and calling that authenticity is both a condescension and insult to Americans everywhere in the country.

The times are too tough to buy such nonsense and tomfoolery.


Copyright The Popcorn Reel.  2008.  All Rights Reserved.


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