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U.S. allergic to brains in presidential politics?
August 24th, 2011
12:53 PM ET

U.S. allergic to brains in presidential politics?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In an election where the Republican candidate actually stands a chance against a weakened incumbent president, so far, a couple of intellectual lightweights are stealing the show.

Since Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll and Rick Perry entered the race, these two have been sucking up most of the media's attention for saying stupid things: Like Bachmann's claim that as president she would bring gasoline down to $2 a gallon, or Perry's highly inappropriate shot at Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke - saying his actions could be "treasonous."

Meanwhile, some Republicans, including Karl Rove, suggest that the former half-term dropout governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, will join the race as well. Swell.

Palin's people are pushing back against the speculation, saying that anyone who claims to know about her plans is misleading the American people. But Palin has certainly been acting like a candidate, what with that visit to Iowa during the straw poll and an Iowa-themed political video ahead of her Labor Day speech in Iowa.

If Palin runs, we'll have another Mensa candidate to join Bachmann and Perry. There's no doubt these three would consume the lion's share of the media coverage.

At the other end of the intellectual spectrum, there's Ron Paul, who placed a close second in the Iowa straw poll. He continues to talk sense - whether or not enough people are listening. And there's Newt Gingrich - love him or hate him, he's a very smart guy.

There's also Jon Huntsman, who says candidates like Bachmann and Perry are too far to the right and have "zero substance."

He may be right, but I venture to say none of those three has a prayer against Curly, Moe and Larry.

And that's a sad commentary on the state of our politics.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to presidential politics, why does America seem allergic to brains?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Bob in New York:
A presidential candidate with brains is more likely to speak the truth, and people just don't want to hear that. We would rather hear about $2 gas, the promise to create millions of jobs, or no new taxes; but I have yet to hear any plans about how these wonderful achievements would be accomplished. I am not a fan of Ron Paul but I give him credit for speaking plainly and openly about his views; and look at all the press coverage he gets. Candidates with brains don't make for good headlines.

Joe on Facebook:
I think it's the other way around. People with brains are allergic to presidential politics. There are many smart people in this country who probably could do a great job of being president. However, the circus that they have to go through to get elected and the hoops they need to jump through to get anything done prevents the best candidates from even applying for the position.

Tom:
Because America needs a laugh now more than ever. And, they never disappoint.

Rex in Portland, Oregon:
If by allergic, you mean this skin-crawling, neck-hair-raising, creepy feeling that I am about to give birth through my abdomen to an alien blob of black gooey hatred, I think it is quite natural to react this way to such abominations as the Republicans' current offering of presidential candidates.

Don:
It started with "W." It was evident in 2000 that America was clearly divided over brains vs good ole boy mentality. "W" spoke a language they could understand. He was simple, direct and shot from the hip… Those of us who went to school, and voted for Obama, where hoping for a reversal of the trend… We love the Palins, the Bachmanns and the Perrys for their entertainment value. What we don't seem to understand is that they have vast followings of voters who are allergic to brains.

Jeff in Hawaii:
Jack, With about a quarter of Americans being college graduates, it's easy. These three knuckleheads pander to the basest fears and religious beliefs of those who don't think. As comedian Ron White would say, "You can't fix stupid".


Filed under: 2012 Election
soundoff (317 Responses)
  1. frank in valparaiso

    We have dumbed down the education system, starting in Texas. Yee Haw.....

    August 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  2. eric lewis in west virginia

    First off Jack, thanks for covering this election unbiased. To answer your question I would say its a combination of people too worried about football, video games, ipads, and jersey shore, mixed with the daily loss of credibility the "mainstream media receives for pretending Ron Paul and his predictions of '07 don't exist. The global establishment is running scared that America's constitution could be restored.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  3. Heather

    Brains? Congress has brains? I knew you had a sense of humor... Lancaster, Ohio

    August 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  4. Russ in PA

    The smartest man running for President certainly seems to be Ron Paul. He doesn't pander. He understands more about economics and sound money than Bernanke and Geitner combined. And he has a grasp of history. Guess that makes him too smart for Americans and many Europeans. Yet the media continues to belittle or ignore him. Perhaps Americans are simply responding as expected to the dumbing down of the nation by our media, politicians, and school system.

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    August 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  5. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    In a country where school children were threatened with death if Terry Schiavo weren't kept alive, a country with a museum of creationism displaying dinosaurs with saddles, a country where you see large billboards proclaiming "Evolution is a myth, a country that gave George W. Bush a second term...in such a country, you don't need to question the national allergy to brains.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  6. Carl

    Jack,

    Our politicians have no brains, there only motive is greed, totally corrupt and worthless, all of them!!!

    August 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  7. Dave - Phx, Az

    Because american's have no brains. Fifty percent spend every sunday worshipping a magical fairy.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  8. Annie, Atlanta

    Baffling, isn’t it? Maybe it’s the 24/7 rightwing noise machine denigrating intelligence in the hope that we’ll all buy into privatizing our schools as another means to make money. It is, after all, all about money with these guys. Preying on our children was just a matter of time.

    The fact that Bachmann, Perry, or Palin could be considered viable presidential material in this new age of ignorance and apparent altered reality should be unacceptable, yet it’s not. I’m sickened watching what we’re doing to ourselves, unable to stop it. Where does this end?

    August 24, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  9. Mark M.

    People with brains tell people the truth. Unfortunately, the truth doesn't play well in Base-istan. Look at the results in Michigan during the last presidential primary; John McCain told them the truth, Mitt Romney told them what they wanted to hear. Romney, of course, won. Any look at the debates surrounding taxes, our endless wars, religion,gun control, etc. show that brains will not be an asset for politicians until the American electorate grows up.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  10. Paul Lagle

    There aren't any allergies in the political arena, so far as the voters are concerned. They just realize that Washington and their lapdog media "force the vote" and aren't interested in our input. The reason the majority of the population know this, and seldom turn out on election day. So, for the most part, we don't bother to voice our concerns. This year, there's actually ONE candidate who has been standing up for FREEDOM – not free-dumb, for the last 30 years. Here's to hope!

    August 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    Politicians seem to lose all common sense, as well as all ethics and decency, when running for office. No matter how intelligent they are supposed to be, you have to question whether they any concept of how to run anything.

    The number one thing that we the people must do.......is stop re-electing members of Congress. Especially senators. Corruption starts by the end of the first year. After 6 yrs. we need to turn them out, and get someone who hasn't already been corrupted.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  12. Lou from Fayetteville, NC

    Take the money out of it and it will change. Brains will appear. Put a term limit on it so that things HAVE TO BE DONE in a specified period of time. Someone wants there to always be conflict and animosity. Maybe we should put more women (excpet two current hopefuls) in the Congress and things would change. Brains and common sense would appear.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  13. Fay in Abilene Tx

    I think all candidates should have to appear once on "AreYou Smarter Than a Fifth Grader " before we vote for President next time.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  14. Dan K

    Jack: We are not allergic to brains when it comes to our choice of presidents! After all, the people we have elected have been smart enough to dupe us into voting for them! It is us that lack the brains. We listen to their half-truths and outright lies about what they’re going to do for us. We just go on thinking with our greedy little minds!
    They say “no taxes”, we say yea!!! Yet the national debt climbs!
    They say “we’ll create jobs by cutting taxes on the rich” We say Yea!!! Yet, look what happened shortly after Bush gave out trillions of dollars in tax breaks for the rich (3 million jobs lost in his last year alone)
    They say “we’ll fix Social security” (meaning they will pawn it of on some company we will have to bail out in 5 yrs.’) and we say yea!!!
    We elect smart men but for the wrong reasons!!!!
    Dan K. Owens Cross roads, Alabama

    August 24, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  15. James

    Because American treat politics like a rock bands...they listen with their eyes. The better looking the product the easier it is to sell them on b.s. if all of us really listened to what politicians say then most of them would not get voted into office....hence Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann

    August 24, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  16. John- Detroit MI

    Well, the Sarah Palin fans might be, but a lot of Americans, frankly Cafferty, want someone that's like them: not intelligent. I mean, we had 'Joe the Plumber' catapulted to the national spotlight, and that guy was clueless on most issues and didn't have the good sense to know that the media would check up on his background before putting him on the air. He is a moron. Like many Americans, he gives in to meaningless slogans and has a skin deep understanding of the issues. No one wants a candidate that reminds them that they're not in fact all that smart.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  17. Bobby E. Lahmon

    Who ever said you need brains to be a politician ? I don't think brains are wanted nor needed that much in the political Scheme of things,puppets perhaps but certainly not brains history have proven time and time again that only a few really
    smart people have gotten even close to winning the white house,just look at the current crop of GOP candidates that think they have a real chance , let's just hope common sense prevails over ignorant and miss -informed voters in the 2012 election

    August 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  18. Gordon NJ

    Jack, The problem with the current GOP field isn't necessarily a lack of brains, but rather an excess of superficiality. The political and media gauntlet that selects our candidates, punishes them for all the flaws, quirks of character, and career mistakes that might spawn a great leader. As Winston Churchill once said, "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."

    August 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  19. Hawgcaller*

    It seems so. Republicans are reducing themselves to Tea Party dingbats. It's always amazing that we go for popularity instead of vetting a hard working person. Some of the worlds greatest leaders had brains and used them. Many had character flaws yet overcame them to rise to the occasion. Churchill comes to mind. Where are theses great men in this day and time?

    August 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  20. Dale Kerns Jr, Eddystone Pa

    It is quite simple Jack. The media controls who is in the eye of the voters and how they are portrayed. For years Ron Paul has been talking about policing the world, the Federal Reserve and the treasonous acts. Now other candidates are in the spot light with the once "crazy" positions of Ron Paul. Only now they are not so crazy, and Ron Paul is still not getting the credit he deserves. It is sad that a man with the brains and consistency of Ron Paul is treated this way. Perry, Bacnmann, and Romney together still don't make up Ron Paul's front lobe.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  21. lou

    I am from Iowa. During the straw poll shin-ding I would ask republicans I know why they supported candidates who didn't appear to be the brightest choice in the race and they would always answer that they wanted someone more like them...an everyday joe...representing them. Maybe we don't need a better batch of candidates as much as we really need ot improve education of voters in this country. It's beginning to look like the dumb leading the dumber.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  22. Brad, Portland, OR

    Huntsman is the only Republican candidate who has more than half a brain and isn't barking insane.

    He may be able to beat Obama in the general election, but he'll never make it through the Republican primary, because "smart and sane" isn't what Republican primary voters are looking for.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  23. Pat Disney

    i don't think it's so much an allergy, as pure laziness. instead of researching and comparison, large groups of Americans are believing what is being passed off as fact by the media, their respective party, and common word of mouth,. leading into what promises to be a very vicious campaign season. in the past many good candidates have been brought down by lie and slander. as an American, i believe it is my duty to select the candidate who will be best for our country. the carnival and three ring circus that the media and both major political party's have become, has a huge impact on those who have already given their freedoms away. empty promises sound just as sweet as real promises. the trick is to look at those making the promises, and judge for yourself if they can and will deliver.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  24. bonnie from NJ

    Moe, Larry and Curly are getting most of the MEDIA attention. Ron Paul is doing ok with the voters and I really hope he gets the nomination. I think it would do a great deal to make our incumbent politicians realize that we are sick of everything out here. I am an independent, however, he would be the first Republican I will vote for. If any of the stooges get the nomination, we are in some deep trouble.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  25. Dennis in Florida

    There is no doubt that most of the Republicans currently seeking the party’s nomination are fools and far too reactionary to be president. Ideally they will be like the hurricane season – gone before winter.

    There will be a lot of wind blowing for several more months. By then the public will be completely tired of the noise that now fills the air waves. Then hopefully someone with half a brain will announce their candidacy in late November or early December. Within a few short days a moderate or slightly conservative candidate will suddenly appear to be the perfect nominee, and the current batch of clowns can go home for three more years.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  26. calaurore9

    I think we've all gotten warped in Michele's time machine. Two dimensional sitcom characters. Down with those educated 'elites'. Let's go back to Gilligan's Island. Guess which one is 'Ginger'.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    August 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  27. Bert in El Monte, CA

    Its easy Jack. Republican candidates know that People who support Obama have brains. Thus the only hope they have is to validate those not supporting Obama.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  28. Ken in Pinon Hills California

    Why does America seem allergic to brains? It takes one to know one.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  29. TomInRochNY

    Because America needs a laugh now more than ever. And, they never disappoint.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  30. Greg in Arkansas

    Really Jack??
    After years of reading the comments on your blog that DON'T make it on the air, you have to ask about Americans being allergic to candidates with brains....??
    I think Curly, Moe and Larry are a perfect match to voter expectations this year, after all, who wants to be confused with facts or common sense when we have hype and style?

    August 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  31. Don

    Well Jack, it started with "W." It was evident in 2000 that America was clearly divided over brains vs good ole boy mentality. "W" spoke a language they could understand. He was simple, direct and shot from the hip. In a complex world, America wanted simplicity and that's what they got. This approach gained momentum, not to mention media time, till we have what we have today. Those of us that went to school, and voted for Obama, where hoping for a reversal of the trend, but on the other hand are just fastinated with the coverage of a Palinized America, and can't get enough. We love the Palin's, the Bachmanns and the Perry's for their entertainment value. What we don't seem to understand is that they have vast followings of voters that are alergic to brains.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  32. Ed from Texas

    Because the voters are uninformed or misinformed. FOX News masquerades as journalism while promoting Republican propaganda and the rest of the media either surrenders objectivity for access or is too afraid to be an honest referee in the debate. Facts are facts, but the mainstream media's typical approach is to present both sides of any argument equally. "Is the Earth flat or round? Here to argue the two sides are today's guests."

    August 24, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  33. Gary, from Virginia

    Jack, there is not one Republican candidate that is qualified to be President and not one of them actually supports the American people, only "corporations" and the wealthy. The Tea party showed their true loyalty during the debt debates and it was not for our Country, and has also insured by their own speeches that the Democratics will win everything in 2012 and righty so. Would you vote for someone that will not add one dollar in revenue for every ten dollars in debt reduction? It is time to stop lobbyist totally in Washington and let our elected officials do their job.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  34. Jim in Gardendale, Alabama

    Jack, it's the American public's fault. They don't bother researching the candidates position on the issues and are swayed by pretty speeches, most of which are outright lies, and then go to the polls and vote for the person who impressed them most. It's really sad that we have gotten to the point where only millionaires run for office and the reason why when they're elected they know absolutely nothing about main street America and what it needs or wants. Would it matter though since all of them are bought and paid for by the time they gain office. We are in sad shape.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  35. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    I once read that a thought, or intelligence, is the path; emotion is the driver; when thought and emotion marry you get a feeling.

    To many voters in this country only work off of emotion forgoing any intelligent thought, so when emotion marries nothing, we all get taken down a bad path. Hence, the likes of Palin, Bachmann, and Perry, oh ya, and Bush.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  36. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    Well Jack,we have an intellectual in there right now and he can't seem to get the job done. Gingrich can't even run a campaign let alone our country although he is another intelligent guy. Why didn't the American people elect Hillary in 2008? She's intelligent and has the guts to do what it will take to get the country back on the right track. America cannot afford another mistake in 2012. Draft Hillary and let progress begin.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  37. Rex in Portland, Oregon

    If by allergic you mean this skin crawling, neck-hair-raising, creepy feeling that I am about to give birth through my abdomen to an alien blob of black gooey hatred, I think it is quite natural to react this way to such abominations as the TP's current offering of presidential candidates. Intelligence and common sense should be priority number one, flexibility number two, and tolerance number three for any presidential candidate. The twits Bachman, Perry, Palin, and Cain (among others) have none of these qualities; and all are further hobbled by their narrow mindedness.

    Allergic reaction to this sort of stimulus is, at least it should be, considered sanity.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  38. Ann from Charleston SC

    America wasn't allergic to brains in 2008. I consider Obama to be a very intelligent person and we elected him president. Intelligence has to do with the speed with which one grasps knowledge, and the breadth and depth of knowledge one attains. I think many Americans tend to judge a person's intelligence in terms of agreement or disagreement with their own views and consider views that differ from theirs as "stupid". Are Perry, Bachmann and Palin interlligent? They well could be. Do I agree with them? Absolutely not. I don't agree with Ron Paul's views on many issues either. I don't trust Gingrich no matter how smart he is and don't know enough about Huntsman to know whether I agree or disagree with him.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  39. David of Alexandria VA

    Geez louise, Jack, we went for "brains" the last time and look where it got us. Leasership is the issue we need to address. And I think you sell Huntsman and Romney way short in this piece. They both have big brains and are electable by a sentient center. Heck, I think the two of them may make an item.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  40. MNResident

    In 2008, we elected a person (Obama) who the media portrayed as an intellectual heavyweight who they said could solve our problems by sheer logic and reasoning, and the "intellectuals" rejoiced in the choice In case you haven't noticed, Jack, it isn't working. There is such a thing as an "evil genius", who may have great intelligence but uses it for the wrong purposes. Sheer intellectual IQ is only one part of the equation. That intelligence has to be applied to the proper solutions that actually solve the problems to complete the picture.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  41. Pete in Georgia

    Jack, before you go too far down the road of this lack of brains thing look at how our current Ivy League elitist know evrything learned savior is doing. If we haven't learned by now how overblown this "brains" thing is in selecting a president we will never have a clue.
    What America needs in a President is honest "hands on" EXPERIENCE....................real experience in handling serious problems like a state governor or successful businessman has. A truly natural LEADER, not some idealogical community organizer who has ZERO in common with anyone or any thing in everyday American life.
    Pay attention to our history and realize our greatest leaders....................real leaders...............were the least educated.
    But it's hard to acknowledge the truth sometimes.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  42. Paul From Austin Texas

    When it comes to brains it doesn.t take any to drink tea. As for the clowns out there the party wants them to run so they can mold them like clay if they get in. On the other hand Perry's real goal I beleive is to be President of Texas and his true goal is to secced. He just wants and does not want to lose power no matter at what level it is. When it comes to U.S. politics these days the U.S. is like the scare crow in the Wiizard of Oz if anyone had a brain.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  43. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    "Stupid is as stupid does". It really is a frightful thought that one of these 3 people would become the leader of the free world. MB is a kook and Perry is a tyrant, then theres Palin who quit her job to make millions. Maybe they fit the mold of the new breed of leaders who will put us in another civil war.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  44. Scott

    Americans are not allergic to brains; instead, they are rejecting hate-filled rants like the ones you keep churning out.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  45. Mr. D

    Talk about the three stooges. If Palin joins in, the Republicans will have a complete comedy team running for president. We all like old comedy, so maybe they have a chance. But I can see Obama laughing already.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  46. John from California

    Jack

    I could be mean and say, well because America has dumbed down to the point where all they understand is voting on American Idol or the musings of the Jersey Shore. I could also say that many of the rapidly uneducated and undereducated fear intelligence and they go with what they feel comfortable with which is Larry, Curly and Moe.

    But you want to know what the real reason is Jack?

    Because news is no longer news, it is a bunch of tabloid ratings chasers. The media covers these idiots because they bring ratings. The media pushes that these are the "electable" ones or the "top tier" ones and people buy it.

    It is the same mentality of "being famous for being famous" brought about by Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. If people focused on real news and real people making a difference to society, no one would ever know either of their names and I suspect the Kim Kardashian of the political wold, Sara Palin would be in the same boat.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  47. B. J., Quincy, Il

    Because the people who can afford to run for president have been in the senate. They have had their heads so far up a dark hole where the sun does not shine that they it's hard for the to see let alone et enough oxygen to think clealy.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  48. Marlene

    People are driven by their emotions, not their brains. Even intelligent people smoke, drink, have affairs, and eat too much ice cream. Why? Because it feels good. We know these things are bad for us, we have seen the statistics, we know the data of why we shouldn't, but yet, we are drawn to 'pleasure.' The same with politicians. We want to hear from politicians who make us feel good about ourselves. If that means we loose all sense of sanity when we are promised $2/gal gas, well, so be it. A chicken in every pot....

    August 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  49. Patsy, Texas

    Jack, it's not the "American people" who are allergic to wanting "brains" in our President, it is a small group of
    tea drinkers who have felt a little power and have gone nuts. To quote a commentator, "Republicans are
    peevish and small minded". I say they have been taken over by hate, greed, ignorance, and down right mean
    spirited tea drinkers, and instead of standing up for themselves, they shake in their boots at the threats
    thrown their way, and just curl up and suck their thumbs.
    To them, brains are just a pesky little things that get in their way. They don't want anybody to "think", they
    will think for them. Sign pledges, bash Obama, do not compromise, lie, and "ain't she purty", is their credo.
    As for Curly, Moe and Larry "consuming the lion's share of the media coverage", you, and others, are
    the media. so you will have to explain that one to us.
    In case you haven't noticed, the ones who support the brainless, are still saving their Confederate money.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  50. Simon/Orlando

    It's the electorate that missing the brains. Could you imagine how many people were dumb enough to fall for a slogan like"Change we can believe in"?

    August 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  51. Dan

    Maybe most Americans are allergic to politicians with brains. In this day and age of instant gratification, students study and retain facts just long enough to get good grades so they can demand big bucks. As they rise through the ranks, they rarely display any sense of ethics, so if a candidate makes an educated, thought provoking and ethical statement, it requires the listener to think; and that seems to be just too much work for the average American voter. They seem to prefer the popular (but idiotic) soundbite.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  52. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    If Palin joins the race along with Bachmann and Perry it definitely would be like watching reruns of the three stooges. A mad scientist would not be able to make one good brain out of the three of them. The only thing I think that keeps them popular is they belong to the religious right and claim God speaks to them and tells them what to do. I personally do not believe this. I believe God would first tell them go back to school and learn more about the country they want to lead, especially history. If the three of them do end up in a debate together they should handout hammers so they can hit each other on the head.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  53. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    Most Americans want a reasonable person to be president but the GOP has been pulled so far to the right by the Tea Party that no reasonable candidate has a chance at the GOP nomination. Even Romney and Huntsman each raised their hand saying they would not accept a ten to one spending cuts to taxes deal to balance the budget. So now the leading candidates are split between the guy who wants Texas to secede and the gal who can't find Lexington and Concord.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  54. Ron WPAFB

    Jack, Republicans are anti-Brain! I'm reminded of the Carpet Baggers," It was used as a derogatory term, suggesting opportunism and exploitation by the outsiders. Together with Republicans they are said to have politically manipulated and controlled former Confederate states for varying periods for their own financial and power gains. In sum, carpetbaggers were seen as insidious Northern outsiders with questionable objectives meddling in local politics!

    Couple that with the Republican propaganda, sound bites and phrases that are untrue that has controlled the barley educated South and the objectified politics treated like a team sport, and this kind of insane political aberration. It always seems that in times of less than adequate education, political aberration breeds! You have to ask why someone would make outlandish incorrect statements. 1. Publicity. 2. To incite the zombies and you know how Zombies like brains! And in rough times, people look for an out, we are an impatient bunch. Hopefully, America will come to their senses and vote the conveyors of untruth out, for you with short attention spans, that means vote the Republican Party of NO, out!

    August 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  55. Michael "C" in Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Because people who don't think probably don't have brains; rather, they have grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake.-–There are only two sorts of presidential candidates: those who campaign with their brains, and those who campaign with their tongues-- and, politics is perrhaps the only profession for which no preparation is "thought necessary!"

    August 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  56. Bill in New Mexico

    It isn't just presidential politics, but all politics that the public is allergic to brains.

    People think that something is wrong with smart people, "He's smart, but he doesn't have common sense."

    People are condescending to nerds. "Nerds don't know better."

    "Eggheads are wrong and can't be trusted."

    In the middle ages wizards were evil and burned at the stake along with witches.

    In organizations the scientists and engineers in complicated areas are "difficult and don't have 'people smarts.'"

    People who are "people smart" have common sense. They're our kind of people. These are the people you promote–you vote for political positions.

    Eistein didn't wear socks.

    Whether people are correct or not, people are prejudiced against very intelligent people.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  57. curtis in philadelphia

    Lets face it Jack, they rarely run on time, they're not as fast as planes and they're not as independent as cars, oh wait, did you say "brains", I thought you said 'trains". Maybe I should run for president: trains are treasonous and cost less than two dollars, they're what Paul Revere rode to Concord, New Hampshire and Obama sucks.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  58. bud rupert, reston, va

    Let me be as blunt and politically incorect as I can be. First,taking the premise that the term LIberal signifies Northeast Ivy League snobbery and elitism you really can't say this group is brainless. So, by process of illimation you're left with the GOP – specifically – the hard right wing of the Grand Old Party. This equals brainless. Now, this group of humans are so jealous, angry and hateful that they look for those exact characteristics in their leaders. Those leaders then use worn out cliches, mythology, hate speech and bible references to stir emotions. And it works! But, It's not new. The founders knew the problem 200+ years ago and I paraphrase: That an under eduated electorate votes too much on emotion and not enough on thought.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  59. Ed from California

    As far as I know neither Bachmann, Perry, Roo Paul, Palin, Trumpie, The Newtster, Mitt, Huntsman(another idiot) hasn't won anything as of yet. Even though the US ranks near the bottom in education (lets thanks, The Rev Gov Perry, The entire Teabagging/Kochplican Party) with a high school dropout rate at 26% on average nationwide. I would think think this election the middle class will turn up in droves and clan out every Teabagging/Kochplican out of both houses of Congress. Put Pres Obama back in with a mandate in getting all of America back to work by returning outsourced jobs and by the way of infrastructure projects. And also getting our rich, deadbeat friends paying their fair share again.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  60. Jk from Minnesota

    Because the media turns the idiots into rock stars and the electorate for the most part could care less until shortly before the election. Is a sad commentary on American politics, Jack.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  61. Karl in Flint

    Perhaps it's because many of my fellow Americans aren't any smarter then the " 3 Stooges" you mention. Remember, when an idiot speaks and you aren't as smart as that idiot, they sound like a rocket scientist. If no one was listening to their drivel, the media wouldn't carry it. Likewise if the speaker is too smart they lose the idiots completely because they are talking way above their heads. The rest of us are stuck with coping with the whole bunch trying to find someone with a brain, like Ron Paul.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  62. W. Altadena, Ca.

    Well Jack, it's simple! Intelligence is the Biggest Minority in this Country! Check out all the Bozo's in Washington.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  63. Ronda (from Canastota, NY)

    Unfortunately, the dumbing down of America has been going on for about the last 15 years, with politics and education being just the tip of the iceberg. Where have you been, Jack?

    August 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  64. Dan in Albuquerque

    ayou are right, Jack, It's a sad day when reasonable and intelligent candidates are overshadowed by low level intellects with far-out agendas. I think it assures Obama's re-election.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  65. Gail, Plano TX.

    I don't think we are allergic to brains, at all, Jack! At least, I'm not! Apparently, people think that if someone smiles at u, or winks at u, that they really like u! And so, they vote for these candidates based on absolutely nothing, for President of the US. Anyone who would vote for Bachmann, Perry, or Palin, has real problems discerning sanity. Theirs, and the candidates. And Jack, where did u ever get the idea that the Newt is smart? I usually think that u are smart, but perhaps may have to revisit that thought!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  66. Tom in Desoto, TX

    Bachmann, Perry, Paul, Gingrich, Romney, and Palin, Imagine species from another planet arrived here and wanted to be taken to our leaders and found anyone of the above in the White House. They would leave immediately with most of the population begging for a ride to wherever they were headed.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  67. Noel Sivertson

    Jack, perhaps you never heard of American Idol?

    Noel
    Roswell NM

    August 24, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  68. Bill

    We could talk about Jacksonian populism or Hostadter's study of anti-intellectualism in America or the effects of Christian evangelical movements on American politics or we could just cut to the chase... because we're a stupid, unlearned people for whom ignorance is a mark of character.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  69. Greg M.

    Jack,
    It's the reaction from the allergies which caused us to sneeze our gray matter into our tissues.When folks like Bachmann,Perry,and Palin can become serious contenders,something is very,very,very wrong.

    Perhaps God plays a good practical joke on us every now and then?...at least,that's what He told me. /sarcasm
    greg m. FL

    August 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  70. jen

    becuz the media focuses on the sensational, in hopes of ratings boosts.and becuz certain employees at each media empire desire to control who gets attention.its almost like corporate america has hijacked our 2 party monoploy and keep driving us into ground due to some sadistic people in news media....

    August 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  71. jeff in hawaii

    Jack,
    With less than 20% of Americans being college graduates, it's easy. These three knuckleheads pander to the basest fears and religous beliefs of those who don't think. As comedian Ron White would say, "You can't fix stupid".

    August 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  72. Thom Richer

    You are correct. Reagan, G. W. Bush, Bush, Senior are prime examples of Republican choices. All lacking intelligence. Let's see, we've gotten rid of Nixon, Clinton, Kennedy, Carter and trying our damdest to get rid of Obama. All with intelligence. Hmmm. Do you suppose it is much easier for corporations, party members ,special interest groups and lobbyists to influence and control the less intellectual? Nah! Sure does look like it, however. That is my belief and answer to your question, Jack. Plain ole control of the White House without much interference by someone with brain matter and a mind of their own. Just look at the past Republican presidents and the candidates they have chosen in the past elections and now.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    August 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  73. Pat Disney

    i don't think it's so much an allergy, as pure laziness. instead of researching and comparison, large groups of Americans are believing what is being passed off as fact by the media, their respective party, and common word of mouth,. leading into what promises to be a very vicious campaign season. in the past many good candidates have been brought down by lie and slander. as an American, i believe it is my duty to select the candidate who will be best for our country. the carnival and three ring circus that the media and both major political party's have become, has a huge impact on those who have already given their freedoms away. empty promises sound just as sweet as real promises. the trick is to look at those making the promises, and judge for yourself if they can and will deliver. Gravois mills, MO.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  74. Paul P.

    I think its because thats what America has been spoon fed for too long, alot of people don't want to be challenged with new ideas, they want to listen to what sounds familiar and safe to them....and have it said loudly. Sadly it dumbs us all down, and think the media are as much to blame when they cover these ignorant and empty remarks for ratings.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  75. dave in nashville

    Just presidential brains concern you? I agree completely with your comments on the current hopefuls, but the problems lie with congress inevitably, not with the occupant of the big house down the street. It would take every one of them two hours to watch 60 Minutes, even the reruns. Time to change the channel.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  76. Mitoosense Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Gosh, Jack even I feel bad for the Republicans now. You don't support the troops do you! All the republican candidates are educated in the US and certain they all have degrees from our finest Universities.. The reason they sound so stupid is they're a party without a platform. Spinning the same slop we know doesn't work. They should all support the Ghost of 2012 Ron Paul and return to Consevatives. Democracy is what America needs not Hypocracy

    August 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  77. Scott Stodden

    Im Not Allerigic To Brains At All Jack Im Allergic To Ignorance, Hate And Prejudice And That's What The Republican Party And Tea Party Stand For!!! Republicans Want To End Everything Like Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, Etc.... Now You Tell Me How Are The People Who Receive These Programs Supposed To Live? Im Proud To Say That Im A Liberal Democrat And I Will Be Campaigning And Voting To Re-Elect President Barack Obama To 4 More Years, He Is The Right Leader For America!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, Illinois)

    August 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  78. Dennis north carolina

    J ack , the ones that you named in your commentary either have no brains or are trying to make another million dollars like Palin. you say a weak president but is he not bringing our troops home from the two wars started by you republican president Bush, while fighting a falling economy started by republican president Bush plus fighting a oil spill in the gulf caused by Bush regulators not doing their job. we do not want to mention what has happen in Libya and our troops were not involved but we lead our allies into action plus national health care. oh yes Jack a weak president in the medias mind!!!!!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  79. Michael

    Jack, Americans are quite allergic to brains in presidential politics. Americans are very sensitive about their own intelligence (or lack of it) so they support candidates that seem like regular people who they can have a beer with. Smart people like Ron Paul do not stand a chance in the general election because they challenge our understanding of the world and they make Americans feel insecure. For too long we have chosen the candidate that makes us feel good rather than the candidate that has a point. People who want Presidents that are just like them need to ask themselves if they feel qualified to be President. Bryn Mawr, PA.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  80. Larry,Springfield,Ohio

    Well,Jack,we certainly showed that allergy at the last election,we voted for a three word slogan "Hope and Change"and empty suit with no experience,and brother does it ever show,will it happen again?Most likely,after "I like Ike" worked also!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  81. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    All these potential candidates are products of thier own envirorment. They were educated in a country where a typical high school student, today, can't even tell you who the first President of the US was. We are all to blame.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  82. David, North Carolina

    Brains left the GOP party a long time ago!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  83. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    Not the U.S., just the GOP primary electorate.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  84. Marie MD

    Only for those who don't have a half or full brain. I want a president who thinks before he shoots from the hip. I want a president who after stating "dead or alive" doesn't forget about the enemy a few months later and somebody else has to finish his job. I want a president that doesn't hate is not a racist or a bigot or any member of the tea party (I call them something else). I want a president who doesn't think winking or batting false eyelashes is all it takes to have one of the most important jobs in the world and I certainly do NOT want another cowboy from Texas!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  85. InVermont

    Well, Republicans are. They are also allergic to science.
    It is a sad state of affairs in America when being educated is looked down upon. Kind of explains a lot, though.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  86. Jay

    Americans labor under the assumption that an imbecile is more likely to be honest than a smart person. So someone who acts "homey" is perceived as honest. Whereas someone who shows their intellect is called an elitist. We're a nation that has taken to the idea that dumb is good, and being smart means you're mean or evil. So we have Rick Perry who's C average in college lets him say absolutely idiotic things about evolution getting attention. Getting attention for something other than being an idiot that is.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  87. Mark

    Considering everyone who voted for Obama in 2008 must not have a brain, then 'yes' the US is allergic to brains in politics.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  88. Patricia

    Because at least half of the electorate (mostly Republicans and Tea Partiers (sorry, but there's been media coverage about it)) isn't smart enough to understand a Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. That is also why Fox News and other right wing pundits use phrases like "Obamacare" and small sound bites to get their message out. Phrases and small sound bites are easily absorbed, you don't have to think about it and you can recall it when asked why you believe a certain way much like a dog can understand and recall "sit" "stay" and "fetch."

    August 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  89. j

    America itself is filled with "half brained folks"-(so definitely keep cutting education, right?); therefore, it stands to reason that, "birds of a feather, flock together" although in this case, its more like lemmings committing suicide off of the proverbial cliff because of what is at stake. BRAINS ARE A GREAT THING!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  90. unruly

    I think it is getting to the point where the president does not have to be intelligent. He/she just needs to be able to take orders from the powers that be.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  91. Andrea

    It's easier to drink the Kool-Aid than to actually think about substantive issues! Too many Americans are dreadfully uninformed, and happy to stay that way. You're commentary is exactly right.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  92. Ralph, MN

    Bingo, Jack. They're allergic to brains(President Obama), but love headaches(Bachman),

    August 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  93. Patrick O. Campbell

    Patrick Campbell – Brooklyn New York,

    Americas downfall will be racism. They would prefer no brainers ,than have a credible black president.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  94. Irish Rebel in Maine

    Our leaders reflect our society, the good the bad and the downright ugly. Why should we expect anything more from our leadership then we expect from ourselves? Slainte!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  95. Scott in St. Louis

    I think that we've got a bit of a reality TV culture going where any press is good press including bad press. It doesn't help that the media follows these candidates just waiting to see what crazy thing they're going to say next. We have a new generation of celebrities that were created entirely by embarrassing themselves on TV while locked into one situation or another. It seems that the Grand Old Party has tapped into this low brow path to fame and political success for some reason. The prominence of entertainment talk shows that are addicted to being right has just fed into this jacked up political culture we are creating. Please help us media! Next time one of these guys puts there foot in it look away... look away!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  96. Sam

    Hi Jack,
    Most politicians are good at two things. Kissing butt and taking money. That is their skill set. Why would anyone think the majority could make good decisions? It is not their bag of tricks or skill set.
    Sam
    HI.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  97. ron lambert

    Jack,

    It only seems this way because the media gives coverage to these clowns and thier election circus. If the media lived up to thier responsibility to promote the truth; calling out the inconsistancies and inaccuracies rather than letting palin and bachmann act like a clowns in the hope of getting higher station ratings then it wouldnt seem this way. in fact the country would be better off. I dont blame the candidates, this is america after all, one has the right to be mis informed. However the media has a larger responsibilty to promote the truth by giving the truth more airtime than the chaotic circus.

    Sincerely,
    Ron
    Miami FL

    August 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  98. Ted, Chicago IL

    America is allergic to brains, except for the Tea Party zombies, but they're not using them for thinking. Why a bunch of retirees and people on disability want to cut their own benefits and poison their air, food and water so some anonymous CEO's stock portfolio can go up a fraction of a percent is beyond me. But, they are united in their hate for Obama, so nothing (except reality) will get in their way.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  99. Polineutral

    Because this tends to reflect the American mentality.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  100. Evan Gilchrest - West Hartford

    The media coupled with the ring/left wingnuts are allergic to brains because brains don't produce sound bytes and don't sell advertisements. We live in an age where sex tapes make bigger celebrities than Oscars and "reality tv" generates more revenue than movies. Stupidity is celebrated because its entertaining. At the end of the day, I thnk cooler minds will prevail and the silent majority will reward the "serious" candidates...

    August 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  101. Mike

    It seems like many Americans would rather have a not so bright man in the White House because it makes them feel superior. I think were very lucky to have an intelligent man there at this time.Also, brains and politics don't mix.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  102. JP M. in Atlanta, GA

    Why is no one talking about Rick Perry's non-belief in man-made global warming? That, my friend, is what's treasonous.

    JP Marroquin in Atlanta, GA

    August 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  103. Eric Fralick

    Apparently you mean just Republicans are allergic to brains, not all Americans. Fair, and accurate, enough.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  104. Paul in Dallas

    It seems like people want someone just like them instead of the smartest person possible.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  105. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    No one ever went broke betting on stupidity.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  106. jason

    Most people want the President to be as dumb as they are. So they can relate to the President, you know.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  107. Benjamin [Atlanta, Ga]

    Truth be told, we're drawn as a nation to stupidity. When Jersey Shore and Lady Gaga dominate our attention spans and when we stop asking questions on things that matter [10 years of war, nothing being done with the economy, etc.] because we're afraid it makes us "treasonous," it creates the poisonous environment we live in now. We're not far removed from the environment that Farenheit 451 warns us of being...

    August 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  108. TomD

    Dollars drive everything. A spirited debate on sound fiscal policy – zzzzz. But controversy and shocking statements – that draws a media frenzy. Politics is about money. Controversy sells – every heard of Fox News? Facts are for wussies. Real men and women prefer screeds and innuendos. Start your engines!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  109. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    the truely SCARRY thing, Jack, is that polls show Rick "Mad Cowboy Disease" Perry could actually WIN IF the economy is still in the tank next year and you KNOW the Republican will do NOTHING to improve unemployment. in fact, they want it HIGHER because they believe it improves their chances of taking back the White House and Senate IF people are totally frustrated.

    I just hope that the average American wakes up to just how potentially DANGEROUS a Rick Perry could BE. in his book "Fed Up!", he outlines his plan for America which is to gut social programs, including Social Security and Medicare, so the "uber-rich" and the corporate outsoucring Quislings can pay even LOWER taxes. he's also in bed with the New Apostolic Reformation crowd that want to turn America into a Christian version of Iran. people better pay attention to that "Fed Up!" book. the Perry camp is trying to humbug it BUT IF we have learned anything from 20th Century history, you better pay attention to what a politician says in a book. thay WILL do what they SAY IF they get in power.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  110. Valerie in Raleigh

    It appears intelligence is not a prerequisite for Republican candidates. To name a few – George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Sharon Angle and the " I'm not a witch" from Delaware. This lack of both education and intelligence plays into their beliefs that evolution is wrong, that global warming is not man-made, that stem-cell research does not hold promise, gays can be "changed" and the Republican party should be in your bedroom and your doctor's office. This is why this senior Independent voter will never vote Republican.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  111. Cynthia, NJ

    Jack, the sad truth is that while Yogi may be smarter than the average bear, the average American isn't. We're quickly turning into a society of intellectual lightweights of the worse kind - the kind who don't even know they're dumb. To make it worse, we've become a nation of "followers". All one needs to do is get to the front of the line and no matter how stupid you are, chances are you'll have a long line behind you. If it weren't so sad it would be funny.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  112. aubrie

    Corpus Christi

    Jack,
    I don't think we're allergic to brains, I think it's just the entertainment factor.....To see just how ridiculous these people can be and how much further they will humiliate themselves... It's basically a real life comedy sketch!!! The idiocy is fascinating.... I think Americans are fully cognizant of the fact that we are in dire trouble, and this time around we have to make the vote count or we're sunk.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  113. Paul

    Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Insurance companies, LOVE stupid congressmen and POTUS!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  114. Plexie

    In a country of fast food and sound bites, intellectual political lightweights are the norm. This is especially true in the current Republican party where emotionally polarizing arguments are accepted, thought out ones are ridiculed.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  115. Steve

    The reason we seem to be gravitating towards the ignorant crazy types is due to our failing education system. Americans are becoming increasingly ignorant and fearful, so we seem to be gravitating towards the folks who are ignorant and fearful and promise things we naively believe. Money from the uber rich pour into these candidates as the Palins and Bachmanns et al will gladly prop the wealthy further into power via drawing in voters to support them via controversial but meaningless wedge issues. We are doomed.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  116. MissyF

    They are not elected yet! I think they represent a small element of America. Most of our presidents have been very smart – some seem too smart without common sense.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  117. John Chapin

    I think America has become a country of people who just react to issues rather than thinking and reacting. Politicians have been trained to exploit this tendency by making outrageous statements that get media coverage which makes people react –again without thinking–and the cycle repeats.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  118. Chibuzor From Fishkill

    Jack it simple! If you are seen to be intelligent then you are considered elite and out of touch... You are grouped with the mainstream media. How sad is that! It seems the only way to get attention these days is to say stupid things and who cares whether or not what they say are substanciated. Afterall they are all politician bound for Washington, where everything goes. And by the way, rich people in France wants to be taxed more in order to help their country, whats happening here?!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  119. kurtinco

    America is not allergic to brains, Jack. Anti-government, tea party republicans seem to have a colossal aversion to anything whatsoever that can in any way be even remotely considered intellectual. It would be funny but for the fact they are actually have some influence.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  120. Jim Campbell, St. Paul, MN

    Simple people want simple solutions from simpletons. The GOP should be hugely successful next year with their current top slate of candidates.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  121. Jeff from Milwaukee, WI

    Americans have been ruined by watching too many sitcoms. They are now comforted only when seeing people inferior to themselves on TV.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  122. Vince

    I think this trend is more a reflection of the Republican Right being allergic to brains in politics. What else can you expect from a segment of the population that believes in dumb ideas such as Creationism and Intellectual design, and pooh poohs Climate Change evidence. With morons like these sending their fellow morons to Congress to dumb down our education system even further, we should not be surprised that the US is falling behind versus other nations in the global race.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  123. rick atlanta

    Jack, I agree with you to some degree - just look at what we have in the White House now. On the other hand, what we really need is someone with COMMON SENSE. Republican or Democrat, if common sense was gun powder, none of them would have enough to blow their nose.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  124. Tommy

    People want simple answers to complex questions, and prefer the delusion of simple certainty to the reality of complex uncertainty. In this way, the reasons behind phenomena you describe parallel the reasons that underly the phenomena of choosing religion vs. respecting science.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  125. victor

    Jack, I think politicians speak to our emotions and not our intelligence. I find the mixing of religion and politics especially troubling. Don't Americans see the that Islam is the result of mixing religion and politics. Shame on those who exhibit religious zeal to garner votes, and shame on those who cast a vote for those pretenders.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  126. jack

    The very fact that three stooges are where they are shows not only to us but to the rest of the world, just how stupid we as a nation have become. Not only is the world laughing at us but worse yet, probably scares them that this once great nation maybe run by one of these bufoons. It certianly scares me. I am not a religious person but I may have to start praying for some kind of an intervention.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  127. GrogInOhio

    When it comes to presidential politics, why does America seem allergic to brains? Correction... it's not America. It's Republicans. I, for one, am offended at the thought that I do NOT want the smartest person in the room to be the president. Saddled between scholars Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, we have George W. Bush. It's Republicans, Jack... not America.

    Grog... Columbus, OH

    August 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  128. sls in san diego, ca

    People connect first with the values the pols state they have (later may find out they don't practice what they preach – see Arnold). Then they believe whatever their candidate says. Too busy or lazy to do their own research. Plus the real issues are too complicated to figure out. And it's all politics – what difference does it make? Money buys elections.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  129. Rob

    It's the Twitter Effect, bills no longer than three pages (double spaced at 48 point font) so it can fit within a 140 character limit. We have become a country of mental midgets.

    Rob
    Sacramento, CA

    August 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  130. John A.

    Jack, cheer up. Shemp will end up running, too.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  131. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    I think the answer is simple.

    There are so many people who are at or below the average intelligence levels that it is no wonder our politicians are the same. In this category alone are they truly representative of the American People.

    Things might be different if intelligent people began breeding like fruit flies!

    And, let's face it, many people do not LIKE intelligent people, or any people smarter than they are! After all, ineffective though he may be there is no denying that Obama is intelligent. And look how many people hate him, I suspect for that very reason!

    I consider the politicians to not be on the bottom, but at the level of the Judas goat. And all the sheep just follow along.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  132. tsohGs'niwraD

    Jacko, I think it's only the GOP that looks at intelligence as a detriment, but unfortunately their votes count as much as yours or mine. Look at the last three presidents from each party (D – Carter, Clinton, Obama; R – Reagan, Bush1, Bush2) and sum their IQs. Certainly, the sum for the Ds is 1.5 times that of the Rs (Rs' sum would be sub 300!). Two of those Rs (Reagan and Bush2) rank among our nation's three worst presidents, and their legacies amply demonstrate this!!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  133. Jorge - Edison NJ

    Historically, the most highly regarded universities are seen as bastions of liberal ideas. Think Columbia, Yale, Princeton, Berkley, Stanford or countless others. Even when viewed as less ideological, colleges are places where people listen, think and then debate facts. Do these sound like the dominant principles in today's Republican Party?

    August 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  134. Nate NC

    This is America. We love entertainment. Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and now possibly Sarah Palin? This is good stuff. In fact the epitome of REALITY TV. Comic relief is needed until the final moment just as it happened it 2008. It wasn't until McCain picked Palin that people could clearly chose between Obama and McCain.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  135. Erik Rocklin

    Your Question: When it comes to presidential politics, why does America seem allergic to brains?
    My Answer: Because there are so many in America that vote without using their brains.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  136. dan wolpert

    Americans are highly individualistic and self-absorbed and our attention span has sunk to about 15 seconds. Therefore anyone who is smarter than a given person is seen as a threat, plus we don't have the patience to think about something if we don't already know about it. Then 50 years of poor public education has left us with a country full of folks who are poorly educated. When you combine these trends and issues the results are the toxic climate of anti-intellectualism you see today. The attitude is: if I don't know something, I just make up the 'truth'. And anyone who comes along with a sound bite that I like must be 'correct.'

    August 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  137. Tom

    Because the dumbing down of America the past several years has made a vast amount of voters on an even level with many of those brainless candidates.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  138. Jim Hare

    Americans will never (again?) elect a President with high intelligence – most voters despise and are fearful of anyone smarter then they perceive themselves to be – hence the train of near-idiots since about the mid 1800s. With the possible exception of Jack Kennedy, who's brains were overlooked because he was so pretty, you've got a nearly unbroken line of dunces, many of whom were almost proud of their intellectual shortcomings. C'mon. Chester Arthur? Grover Cleveland? Lyndon Johnson? Nixon? Reagan? The Bushes? All idiots. We get what we deserve, some times.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  139. Lucy

    I think the American people can be alienated by intelligence. Especially pretentious intelligence. It's difficult to be highly intelligent without seeming unrelatable and austere. Not to mention boring.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  140. RegularGuy

    Politicians with intelligent ideas would cause the American people to think critically. Unfortunately for us, a decreasingly small population of Americans enjoy thinking for themselves, and would rather just repeat talking points of Sean Hannity or Keith Olbermann.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  141. Drew W

    Jack,

    The current GOP field is about as qualified to run the country as the people who would elect them. Momma always said, "Stupid is as stupid does".

    Wilmington, DE

    August 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  142. m

    It would be a sad state of affairs if this country degenerates by having ingrates like Bachmann or Perry as President. They have neither the intellect nor the temperment to be President!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  143. Fred In LA

    Every since Laurel and Hardy got elected in "08,(Coprsemen/Camagining in 53 States/It's a big f-ing deal) brains have been on pretty short supply. It will be refreshing to have someone run that puts America first and not their thugs that have never run a business or run anything but the economy into the ground. But facts and common sense will never alter your leftist talking points. Please stick with the issues. Oh yeah, the left loses on the issues.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  144. Bob F

    Simply put, America is allergic to brains because the average American is not very intelligent. Considering current pop culture trends, the average lack of attention span among the populace, the nation's seemingly all-encompassing Twitter addiction, and the blind acceptance of faith over science, it's a good thing breathing is automatic.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  145. marie nm

    It's not just the American people who are allergic to brains - it's the American media, which always goes for the attention-grabber. If coverage of inane blabbering by Michelle, Rick and Sarah were matched by coverage of sober thinking by Ron, Newt, Jon and Barack, we might actually begin to admire intelligence instead of ignorance.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  146. James

    Because brains are harder to control. As the government is there to exert control over the masses, the parties and corporations are there to exert control over our so-called leaders. If they were to accidentally give us a candidate with both brains AND morals, AND we were actually smart enought to elect that person, their little 2 party empire might just come crumbling down.

    Then there's the clowns they throw at us that make the average idiot candidate seem almost competent and acceptable. If the clown manages to put on a good enough show to get elected, no problem. It worked with Bush for 8 years, so I'm sure they could manage a Palin, Bachmann or Perry.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  147. Bill Sperber

    The perceived "lack of brains" in Republican politics seems directly related to the stranglehold of the religious right, which began more that thirty years ago. Republicans used to be "smart," too.

    Minnetonka, MN

    August 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  148. Kathie

    all brains are checked at the door on entrance to elected office. the ability to actually get along, dialogue,compromise, negotiate, engage in the democratic process and represent the people who elected you are also lost at the door. sad sorry state of affairs. take ordinary citizens and put them in a room (like ABC evening news did) and it is amazing the positive outcome. in congress egos and special interests rule. any politician will say anthing people want ot hear and promptly forgets all campaign promises once elected.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  149. Mitch

    Thanks for the usual "hits" on conservatives, but it's pretty clear that Obama has shown that having a gift of gab and being considered "intelligent" by the media and other elites means nothing if you can't make smart decisions.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  150. Jamie Madden

    It's not presidential politics or even politics in general. America has become allergic to any kind of intelligence. How did intelligence become a quality to deride?

    August 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  151. Donaldo in ATL

    Jack, it is very simple. Anyone with brains is using them constructively and contributing to our nation. Why would you want to take a pay cut and be put into a 3 ring circus, where the clowns are in charge.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  152. Pete in Milton, FL

    Voters, especially Republican voters, are allergic to brains in their Presidential candidates becasue they have none themselves. Ignorant, gullible, too lazy to go to nonpartisan, unbiased resources to learn the FACTS about the candidates and the issues, they rely on their perceptions of candidates' personality and appearance, and the misinformation they get from the likes of Beck, Limbaugh, and Fox News.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  153. Harlequinn Bell

    I don't think that fear of intellect is anything new in any arena of society. Intellect can be exceedingly intimidating and people tend not to like people they feel intimidated by. We live in a country of armchair quarterbacks and people who tend to think that the challenges we face are one-dimensional and can be solved with a sound bite. But how many of these people when faced with the full scope of the reality of the situation would really know what to do? (If your strategy involves "making" someone do something, or not do something – well, good liuck with that.)

    It has somehow become more acceptable for a person to pretend like they know what they are doing or will do than it is to actually know. That being the case, then it makes perfect sense that people would gravitate towards candidates who sound like they know what they are talking about when in reality they haven't the faintest clue.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  154. Erick

    Americans don't like to feel inferior. While many Americans are experts in their fields and/or hold advanced degrees they know little to nothing about history, politics, foreign relations or governing. As a result they may feel uncomfortable with candidates that clearly know more about these things than they do. While we will choose the best mechanic for our car and the best doctor for our health, we seem to prefer candidates that appeal to the least common denominator. Time was when Americans wanted to entrust the reins of government to those best qualified, now many want someone "like them". If they applied the same standard to their mechanic or doctor their car wouldn't run and they would die young. Unfortunately this seems to me to be the same fate we are choosing to inflict on our country.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  155. Natalie

    "When it comes to presidential politics, why does America seem allergic to brains? "

    Hmm, maybe because history has proven time and time again that the majority of Americans don't have brains and cannot think for themselves so they cling to anyone who has a persuasive enough message to preach, whether or not the message is a valid one. Charisma will get you farther in this world than actual intelligence, unfortunately. Until the mindless many Americans who vote without RESEARCHING the candidates and what they stand for actually take accountability for their own idiocy then we'll fall into the same trap we've been falling into for years upon years. We'll never have a president or Congress worth a darn until people take action and quit sitting idly by and letting others think for them.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  156. victor

    As with many allergies, people respond poorly to things, like brains, to which they haven't been exposed. The republicans have bred and nurtured for the last 40 years a species that does not accept the basic tenets of science and have the intellectual capacity of a bumper sticker. A related problem is that when these candidates comments are repeated ad nauseum on all the news programs, no newscaster says "that's really stupid".

    August 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  157. zazu

    While sad, it is not complicated Mr. Cafferty! After all it is a representative democracy. we get what we deserve. It is a commentary on the constituencies who made such candidacies possible. We get what we deserve. Who didn't know what we get when we elected George W?

    August 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  158. Eric Ross

    Apparently, politics has become so toxic and personally intrusive, the only only ones willing to run for high office need to be in a bit of a fog.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  159. Justin Beck

    American society in general appears to think complex ideas and solutions are now bad. We've become a nation who wants every grand solution in bullet point or twitter status form. Somehow 'intellectual' now means 'elite' and in order to please the party base, the candidate's rhetoric and style must make them seem like a hockey mom or dad.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  160. QS in Seattle

    Jack,

    Let's see....one party moreso than the other typically considers intelligent people to be "elitist" snobs who they don't want as their president because those darn intelligent people can't talk down enough to them so they can understand every third word.

    No, they prefer the people who say "nuke-ya-lur", or "you betchya", because that's folksy and of course superficial impressions are always the most important standard to these people by which they judge their potential candidate.

    Besides, I believe the new GOP mantra/slogan should simply be "Who needs brains when you have unlimited corporate funding?"

    August 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  161. Joe

    because the people who vote don't have any brains! education has SUCKED since the Reagan years, and subsequently all those people are now amazingly stupid, ignorant voters. The people who actually worked hard to educated themselves DESPITE the bad situation in public education can't get a word in edgewise when facts, rationality, compromise, common sense, and historical precedent are completely ignored or totally falsified to fit these ignorant morons simplistic and selfish view of the world they live in. These are the people who say the EPA does nothing, and that our biggest spending problem is foreign aid. There's simply too many ignorant people, and the result is they vote for other ignorant candidates who spout off whatever kindergarten grade plan comes to mind.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  162. Ron

    Jack,

    In the age of Twitter, Facebook, and all the other 'no-brains-needed' instant gratification media outlets, it's no wonder that Americans no longer invest more than a few seconds learning about the candidates. If they actually did their research they would be truly sickened as I am about the GOP lineup. (Ashland, MO)

    August 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  163. Dan

    I'm surprised you say the "sad state of politics" when really it's the "sad state of the republican party." Let us not mince words here, the party of "no compromise, no surrender" is a mess right now and the loudest voices get the most attention. Unfortunately the loudest voices are generally the least quilified and least intelligent.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  164. QS in Seattle

    The new GOP slogan should simply be "Who needs brains when you have unlimited corporate funding?"

    August 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  165. rtbrno65

    The country is dying. It has become ungovernable and is doomed. There are too many competing interests and we have lost the ability to compromise. These candidates are smart and do have brains, they are just being manipulative and dishonest. It is only going to get worse. I am right and I will be proven right. I just hope it works out somehow and some way without massive levels of suffering.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  166. Steve

    Jack,
    Is it any wonder that when we finally have someone in the White House with brains that a large sector of the population is scared to death of him and his policies? Racism is alive and well, and for the most part those that suffer from it don't even realize it. And for those that think Perry and Bachman have the answers; well what does that tell you? People have been dumbed down for so long they either can't or won't think for themselves. Sad, very sad.

    Steve McCain
    Sacramento, California

    August 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  167. Marge

    We do the republicans pick such candidates. Because the media and Fox tells them to. It is as simple as that. That have been wired into Rush and Fox for so many years they don't listen to the real world.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  168. Erin

    I don't think Americans are allergic to brains. It is the people who support these people who have no brains. They follow like-minded people like lemmings. I think that that reasonable, thinking people will opt for President Obama's cerebral brilliance rather then elect someone like the Perry, Bachman or Palin for president. I don't want our leader to be riduculed around the world like Silvio Berlusconi–or to be targeted by shoe-throwers everywhere–I've had enough of that.

    You may say that President Obama is a weak incumbent, but he is light years ahead of any of the front-running republican candidates.

    Erin S.
    Edmonds, Washington

    August 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  169. Tim in Indiana

    It's a choice between legislating by facts or legislating by emotion. We humans have an emotional reaction to most situations before we sit and actually think things through. Some folks just can't seem to make it to that part. We all know someone who has a gut reaction to every problem that comes up, and can't seem to understand why their lives are a mess. They never realize that they make the problems for themselves, or that they keep repeating the same mistakes over and over. And now those people want to run the country again. No thanks.

    August 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  170. Mediaprof

    It's an outgrowth of the Cult of Personality. If you are enamored with the speaker, it doesn't matter if the speech is right or wrong, smart or stupid. Lincoln, Nebraska

    August 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  171. john

    Jack,
    It is simply because average people vote for those who closest resemble them. We eschew education to idolize those who are famous, not for their intellectual prowess, but instead for reality stars, blaggards, and spoiled children who portray and embrace the worst of humanity: vanity, selfishness, ignorance, lack of personal control, and lack of civility and tastefulness. We seek qualifications based on personal beliefs, rather than experience, knowledge, and the temerity to act in the best interest of the future of this country rather than the capricious wishes of the current loud-mouthed group at the center of media attention.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  172. Cynthia

    They are, after all, people who don't believe supporting education in this country is necessary. They ignore brains and go for the gut feeling. If we allow stupid people to represent us, it will define us as a stupid nation.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  173. C from Boston

    Jack. The Republican Party has grown insanely too far to the right. This is not a surprise. This is not the Republican party of yesteryears that primarily preached fiscal conservatism. These right wing candidate nuts are fools but they are telling primary voters what they want to hear. It is just sad.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  174. Dianne Wickes, Champaign, IL

    Unfortunately, I think it's a combination of the undermining of education (by both parties, but most significantly the Republicans, IMO) combined with the increasing complexity and polarization of politics. Many people can't, or don't want to, think through the issues; it's easier to vote on one's emotions, influenced by simplified sound bits and rhetoric instead of facts. No small amount of responsibility lies at the feet of the press, who seem reluctant to dispassionately point out inconsistancies, misstatements, and outright lies on the part of candidates.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  175. Chad

    As someone else mentioned earlier, emotion trumps reason nearly every time. That's why passionate candidates, no matter how wrong they are, frequently seem more appealing than intellectual ones.

    Of course it doesn't help that right-wing commentators have for years been slamming intelligent politicians on the left as "intellectual elites" who "don't understand common people". The less intelligent types of candidate (Palin, Bachmann, etc) are then cast as having "core values" and "principles"...code words for "as long as they agree with our policy ideas, we don't care how dumb they are".

    August 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  176. Benjamin Carter in D.C.

    The ultimate flaw of democracy: we don't elect the most qualified, we elected the most relatable. Sadly, our president will always be mediocre, unless an intelligent man can also be charismatic, ala Obama and Bill Clinton.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  177. Marcelo - Los Angeles

    It's simple Jack, ignorance is bliss and America, unfortunately, has a high demand for it.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  178. BD70 Webster NY

    America allergic to brains? I think not...its a few Americans who like the talking points with no thought underneath. If I joined the tea party and said "Obama is getting the pink slip" I bet quite a few would back me. But compare that few to the vast majority. You will see its a small amount who are "allergic to brains.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  179. John in Michigan

    People aren't so much allergic to brains as they are hooked on rhetoric. It doesn't matter if it is right or wrong, it supports their ideology and that is all that matters.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  180. dave ouimette

    brains what are those!!! Election whatis that? I thought these people were next seasons contestants on AMERICAN IDOL!!!! (thats why! And it's a damb shame)

    August 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  181. DaveJ

    Unfortunately most of the electorate don't know much about politics, economics, foreign affairs or any other topic that might be important. Other than generalities like "we want jobs" or "we want peace" most have no idea about the policies that might result in what it is they say they want. So political campaigns inevitably drive down to the lowest common denominator – which is pretty low. Neither political party is better than the other in this respect, because they both know the reality of the electorates knowledge, which is largely pitiful. Thoughtful candidates who might sometimes admit that there might be things they don't know, or who can see good in both sides of an argument get swept away by the "forceful" candidates who have little substance, but know how to play the electorate to their advantage. Sorry to sound so cynical, but electoral politics in the USA drives me to unpleasant conclusions about the state of democracy here.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  182. Bruce

    I remember a SNL skit that depicted Reagan as absent-minded, senile, out-of-touch with reality in public, and then when the doors were closed he all the sudden turned into a super-competent, totally-in-control, multi-lingual, hard-hitting pol that got things done.

    Sometimes I wonder (and I know this is just wishful thinking) if people like Palin and Perry are like this skit, and play the stupid card in public because it just works better than intelligent.

    Everyone who praises Perry says the same things about him as they did about Bush–one-on-one, you stand no chance against their charm, and their public persona is completely irrelevant once you've experienced them up-close-and-personal-like...

    August 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  183. Tom F. San Diego

    People who support "Curly, Moe or Larrry" think that creationism should be in science books. We need to spend these trillions that we spend on wars instead on NASA, education and research (including stem cells), otherwise the US will fail.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  184. Dean

    Dave – Phx, Az

    Because american's have no brains. Fifty percent spend every sunday worshipping a magical fairy
    ----------------------–
    And the other 50% are so full of hate and so narrow minded that they can't see reality and truth.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  185. StephensB

    Bumper sticker slogan politics , 10 word sound bites , that is about all the general public can take in any more . Why ? I don't know ...... but I'd vote for Curly before I'd vote for any of the above ( dems or reps )
    Steve from Northern New Mexico .

    August 24, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  186. GaryB

    In my experience, a lot of Republicans (particularly folks in our local Tea Party) tend to mistrust people who appear to be too smart. As a result, you get constitutionally ignorant, history-rewriting dolts like Bachmann and Perry leading the race, while smart guys like Huntsman are barely making a dent. The problem is, this has happened at a congressional level as well, giving us a class of Republican freshman who are great at regurgitating lame slogans and soundbites but lack the basic intelligence needed to pass any helppful or meaningful legislation.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  187. keeth

    "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'" — Isaac Asimov

    August 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  188. Cork

    We need a Constitutional amendment to require anyone running for public office to have a minimum IQ of at least 50.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  189. joe richards

    I think the allergy is due to the dumbing down of the general population. It makes Palin followers et al incapablle of realizing how complex the world has become. They think Joe the plumber can deal with it all.T here was a Palin supporter who said we love her because "she is justl like us".These people think we will rule the world with "blue Collar " workers. Theses are the people who are stuck in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
    There was a survey released yesterday tha showed only 8.6 perccent of Congress had majored in Economics-and these guys are supposed to guide us through our current mass of financial troubles'
    But maybe I am trying to be rational. The real reason is that the Evangelicals have taken charge and think God will handle it.so the problems are solved. Go Perry-Go Palin Pray more.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  190. jesseca5

    That in itself is a perfect case of what troubles the WH today. Just look at all the brainless nincompoops filling the Czar positions. It's enough to make a person wish that England had won the war of independence.

    Jesse in Texas

    August 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  191. Tim in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

    You should have said, "Republican Presidential politics." Obama is very intelligent – that's why Republicans don't like him. By the way, Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are very smart, however the Bushes and Ronald Reagan leave much to be desired. Studies have shown that Democrats are more highly educated. Lastly, isn't it odd that ex-Democrat Presidents after they are no longer President continue to work for the good of the US and the World where ex-Republican Presidents just retire?

    August 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  192. Kevin

    The intelligence level, as a whole, that this country possesses is at best pathetic. Illiteracy is rampant and many people are unable to identify other states or countries on a map. They are voting to what they can relate to, which is not much. I have very little faith left for our government but even less for the voters that bring them in, and then cry about it...... Just my two cents.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  193. RickFromDetroit

    Very Simple!! Most people don't follow politics, they don't have the slightest idea of what they are voting for, they vote their wallets and for their favorite Hollywood Actor.

    If the voting ballots had a section about the policies that our Elected Officials represent it would be very unlikely that more than 20% of the voters actually new what the policies are, and another 20% are so unqualified to vote that they would vote to cut themselves off of government social programs that they have used in the past, are currently using, or will use in the future.

    Is our two party system really representing all Americans?

    August 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  194. farsight

    Most of my fellow Americans are bigoted, un-educated, illiterate, boors. Their only interest is in football, vampire movies, and trashy T.V.. Is it any wonder we're becoming ever so quickly a second tier nation?

    August 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  195. Dabu

    I had surgery for my tumor and my so called brilliant doctor says that I need further Chemo and radiation for weeks to come. I thought he had brains and could solve my cancer by waving his magic wad. People complain that things haven't turned around in a minute and therefore we were wrong to elect an intelligent person like Obama? These are the same people that gave us Reagan, and Bush and believe that they did miracles! Didn't anybody pay attention when Obama came to power and used to tell us that this is like turning a tanker rather than a speed boat; it takes time? Imagine what will happen if we turned to the same philosophy of the Republicans that gave us such a broken economy to begin with?

    August 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  196. Woz in Chicago

    The American people can be referred to as sheeple. I'm in my 60's now and as long as I have witnessed national elections, the population has tended to go to the candidate that offered the easiest solutions. This makes me especially afraid with Bachmann and Perry in the race this year (but I have to say that even though I consider both lightweights, Bachmann appears smarter which is an even scarier thought!!)

    August 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  197. rabridevi

    The people of America (read middle and lower classes) have been systematically dumbed down so that they can be led like passive sheep, and can be exploited. Because they are dumb, they feel threatened by anyone more intelligent or more educated than them-therefore they chose mediocre and stupid candidates for president.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  198. Bob in Pa

    I just want common sense in the office of POTUS, as well as someone that understands what it is like to live from paycheck to paycheck.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  199. Kathleen from Maryland

    Jack, maybe we're living in Oz – no, not Australia, but rather Dorothy's dream destination – except in our world, the Lion and the Tin Man have let poor Scarecrow burn to cinders and too many Americans are left with only heart and courage. We'd better start using both to convince all those brainless Flying Monkeys to EVOLVE, instead of believing in the clownish drivel downloaded daily by the GOP Wizards behind the curtain of Fox News.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  200. mark

    It is because the American public in general do not know how to think intelligently. Consequently, they do not know what a truly intelligent, honest, and ethical ( one who knows and applies the best solution) politician looks like and so they continue to fool themselves and blame the other party or institution or etc for the political dysfunction that they unknowingly made. This does not mean that I agree that Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman or any other politician has considerable intelligence. It is probably the case that almost none of the your politicians or those of the rest of the world would not be considered "geniuses" by those that are really "geniuses" upon closer and more thorough observation.

    Toronto, Canada

    August 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  201. Jessica, Sparta, NJ

    They seem allergic because they want someone just like them to be president. Remember that is how we wound up with W. Intelligent people like you & me want someone much smarter than us to be the president. They say that Slick Willie's IQ was above 240 and we had the biggest economic expansion under his presidency, biggest ever. The 00's found us not making any real progress for the middle class in wages.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  202. Nina Fox

    When the majority of Americans are sheeple worshipers, what do you expect. It’s not congress and presidential candidates that lack brain power, it’s the people who vote them in office!

    ~Nina in So. California

    August 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  203. Craig

    Jack:

    Greed and Hate!

    These people want everythng to themselves and hate anything that does not believe and agree with them !

    August 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  204. Richard

    I agree. As an independent, I usually end up somewhere between being a liberal republican (can one be such a thing?) or a blue dog democrat. As the Republican party swings further and further to the right, I have ended up moving more towards the Democrats. I voted for Obama and if any of the fab three mentioned above get the Republican nomination, I will once again vote for Obama. I agree that Newt Gingrich certainly has a brain upstairs but he doesn't always engage it before speaking. I have been most impressed with Jon Huntsman however for all the reasons I like him, there is practically no way he would get the nomination. While I agree there are a lot of things wrong with the country, I fail to see how the tea party has any practical answers. Letting the country default on its debt would have been one of the most irresponsible things we could have done. I also think we need to balance budget cuts with a tax system that is more fair. It strikes me as just plain stupid that with an income above $200,000 I pay a lower percentage of my adjusted gross income in taxes than my daughter who makes just over $40,000.

    The political rhetoric has become far too shrill and we need to get away from grandstanding and talk more about practical solutions to our problems. None of the leading Republican candidates seem to be able to talk about substance, just stupid sound bites. Can anyone really believe that Michele Bachmann has a plan to bring back $2 gas. It just shows her complete lack of understanding about economic systems.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  205. Seenen

    Americans are lazy, intellectually, morally, ethically and physically and it's far easier to go with your gut instead of having to read and think. Some people are easily swayed by logical sounding yet spurious arguments and their opinions are easily influenced by authority figures and personalities. Maybe there is an obedience-to-authority gene. That's why people laugh at their bosses jokes when they are not funny and buy a certain brand of underpants because Michael Jordan wears them.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  206. janetlaw

    Because the repubs have gutted the education system – Karl Rove's evil plan all along. Keep'em stoopid and brain-washed and they will believe anything said on Fox News. Oh, and also take away womens' rights to controlling their own bodies, so we can keep'em barefoot and pregnant, too.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  207. BKRushing

    The real problem is that in the quest to stay in office and line their pockets, politicians have resorted to polarizing the electorate to such a degree that each side demonizes the other and in that environment nothing gets done. It is as if Democrats and Republicans are neighboring states at war rather than citizens of the same country. And to add to your comment about brains, I am a strong believer that whoever holds public office should have a higher IQ than mine. Just one point higher than me. I am not asking a lot!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  208. Greg

    Wins by Obama and Bush Jr. show people prefer empty rhetoric. Ron Paul has personality problems but has much more intelligence the other. I don't agree about Newt's intelligence; he may be smarter than Bush and Obama, but that does't say much.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  209. joshua

    and then there's joe biden, barack obama and dennis kacinich. call it both ways.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  210. Drinker

    I read once that the smartest people usually do not have political aspirations because they have too much of a conscience. I really hope the GOP comes up with a more moderate, more intelligent candidate otherwise we may be in big trouble!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  211. New Filter

    Scientific Evidence shows that many conservatives make decisions based on the emotional part of their brain, where many liberals make decisions based on the logical part of their brains. So the candidates conservatives are choosing make them "feel" a certain way. The far right seems to be based on fear and anger these days.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  212. Ward Silver

    There are several reasons. First, people have been lied to by leaders with brains – Nixon started that rock really rolling downhill and the trend has continued right up through the financial crisis so there is a basic undercurrent of mistrust. Second, the response from brainy people is rarely simple and direct and most people don't want to wade through the subtleties and nuances – they want solutions NOW. Compound that with flashy slogans and simplistic answers that have always been easy to sell, no matter if they are wrong or damaging – ask HL Mencken. And there is a general confusion between charisma and competence – if you're not photogenic, you're not going to get coverage like the eye-candy pols do, no matter the quality of your policies. Unless the electorate learns to look past the lipstick and the hair, we will continue to substitute volume for fact at our peril.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  213. Reynardine

    Americans, god bless 'em, have no patience. They want everything to be fast and easy, and that's why they swallow microwave cooking, cornflakes, fast food, and simplistic "solutions".

    August 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  214. John in Pennsylvania

    Jack, it's all part of the "coarsening (sic?) of America." As we become poorer and less educated, we begin to celebrate those qualities as desirable in an effort to make ourselves feel better. Since (to some candidates) politics is nothing more than telling the people what they want to hear to secure votes, then doing whatever they want once in office, you will hear stupidity from the stump as long as it remains popular.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  215. New Filter

    Scientific Evidence shows that many conservatives make decisions based on the emotional part of their brain, where many liberals make decisions based on the logical part of their brains. So the candidates conservatives are choosing make them feel a certain way. The far right seems to be based on fear and anger these days.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  216. Don in SF

    Hi Jack, I think it's because the conservative Republican talking points are completely non-intellectual

    August 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  217. Jerry in Texas

    Intellectually challenged candidates make brash and provocative statements as a substitute for carefully thought out positions. Guess which one the media prefers to cover?

    August 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  218. jeanby

    People are spending their evening watching America get Talents and others Caesar Circus games. Even Hollywood has so little ideas that remakes are a good avenue. People refuses to think anymore. TV's shows and polarized medias do it for them. People lives by procuration. So if you have a brain you're not like me ! And I want somebody like me as President !
    Sorry President Obama, you're too smart ! Get Perry with Backman as VP and watch the remake of The Decline of the Roman Empire !

    August 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  219. Jim, Denver CO

    Jack,

    It isn't a question of intelligence in our president, it is the combined lack of intelligence of the rest of Congress (House & Senate) that we need to worry about. Get some of the idiots and career stiffs out of there and get somebody in who knows what is going on in the average normal person's life. Put term limits in place and get some of those brain-dead ADD politicians out of there. That's a good start.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  220. BCA

    Oh Ron Paul... that silent man sitting at the single table watching the other table full of idiots squabble and blather on about their own egos.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  221. Chris from Philadelphia, PA

    It's early, Jack. The smart candidates would be advised to keep their heads down and let the morons self-destruct. There's plenty of time. Bachman, Perry nor Palin has what it takes to go a full 15 rounds without spinning out of control. None of them will win the nomination.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  222. Not fooled

    We have the smartest man in the White House right now. He is just surrounded by people with no brains. (Congress–mainly the Tea Party and leaders of the Republicans.)

    August 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  223. MikeM in Ohio

    Obviously. People complain that Obama is professorial. Huntsman, who at least HAS a brain, is going nowhere. Yet the folks who don't even understand the Fed or what a debt ceiling does are going along great guns. At some point, the government NEEDS some brains. Too bad the folks on the right, in particular, are running away from science and facts.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  224. stlouisjake

    “elite” has become a dirty word. we used to laud our most intelligent students as elite. now, those that pander to the right’s base have vilified intelligence as some badge of shame. unfortunately, they have also tied “enlightened” to socialism (instead of social conscience.) i agree with other posters that the real fault lies with the electorate that continue to vote for people like bachmann, perry and palin.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  225. Lawrence E

    Moe, Larry, Curly? I resent that!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  226. Chuck Bellamy

    the late great H. L. Mencken wrote: "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron".

    August 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  227. Bob in Pa

    A second thought on your comment question Jack. As with beauty, intelligence is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. You as with many others insinuate that these office seekers are not smart, while President Obama sits high amongst the intelligent elite. I would counter that I have heard President Obama give addresses as if he were a 5th grade child that didn’t study or do any prep work on a project that has been due for weeks.

    As case in point, by most accounts that I have read, Albert Einstein was a poor student, so What does being a Ivy League graduate give Obama that the others don't have ?

    August 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  228. ChrisG in Fremont, CA

    Take the corporation contributions and the PACs out of elections and you will see brains appear again.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  229. Barbara

    The question of the decade. It seems that the criteria for public office has become, for many, "Who is the most like me?" The "me" being someone who's threatened by thinkers. It's not easy, and it's not fun, to think things through, to look to history for object lessons or for answers. I blame the Reagan administration (for almost everything, really) but particularly for validating an anti-intellectual, it's good to be greedy, let the other guy take care of himself mentality. I'm frightened that a majority of voters (who once re-elected George W. !!!!) are going back there again, lowering standards still further, rewarding outlandish, ignorant sound-bites with applause and laughter and votes, while thoughtful, well mannered, experienced candidates, who should be our role models, are drowned out by the coverage given to this hype. And I don't know what I can do...

    August 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  230. Missak Artinian

    Jack. We live in a society that embraces anti-intellectualism. I'll explain what I mean: when I was in high school, I was considered a loser. After I graduated from college, I was still considered a loser. Then I went to Canada on vacation and finally I have a girlfriend!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  231. chris

    Americans are lazy minded individuals as a whole. We don't like to think, we want to be led to success. Having intellect does not insure great leadership, but it is the best start. Intellect is one of the few tangible things one can observe from another's mind. Love, passion, spirituality, ect. can all be falsified, however, intellect(or lack thereof) will show through.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  232. lil magothy from Annapolis

    Part of it is the American public's fault. Our short attention span – when someone presents a reasoned argument with any expananation, we fall asleep. We live in a sound bite world. Our sense of entitlement and being pandered to – when Michelle says she'll give us 2 dollar gas, we don't ask how; we just know we want it and we want it now. When the tea potty says no new taxes, we don't ask how roads and bridges will be paid for. Part of it is the media's fault. The lunatic ravings of a Perry, Bachmann, or Palin are much more entertaining than the logic and reasonableness of a Huntsman or a Ron Paul . As many a culture's adage says, "Sometimes God punishes you by giving you what you ask for.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  233. Rocco from Pittsburgh

    I think the question should be why are REPUBLICANS allergic to brains? Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry and President Obama all are very smart gentlemen, whereas the last Republican cadidates were Bob Dole, George W., Geaorge W. and McCain/Palin – enough said.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  234. Brian

    Our worst presidents have been elected by landslides. Harding, LBJ and Tricky Dick Nixon were elected by landslides. Is there something wrong with the voters in this country. Mencken described them as the "booboisie."

    August 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  235. mr. snrub

    America sees itself in those candidates, and likes what it sees.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  236. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    An intelligent president would be a threat to the mega-corporations. You can't tell an intelligent president that there is no such thing as global warming, evolution, air pollution. Only with an idiot in charge can Congress really get away with subsidies for the wealthiest corporations making record breaking profits. Obama makes things very uneasy for Congress. It must miss Bush terribly.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  237. tfbuckfutter

    This is the biggest problem with the Repulican party.....the stupid members are just stupid, but the intelligent ones are evil.

    How can anyone vote in that direction?

    August 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  238. ewhitakerm

    I think the problem (and this applies to the whole political spectrum) is that the more extreme people are in their views and the louder they shout them the more people get excited or at least pay attention.

    The unfortunate truth is talking rational sense doesn't get people fired up, idealistic zealotry does.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  239. Cee.La

    These three, Palin, Bachmann and Perry are without a doubt......scary......they are using social issues to incite voters....You see when they control the conversation with social issues.....they dont have to do anything about real issues, deficit, jobs, health care,tax reform, ....SS, Medicare, Medicaid, and they are not patriotic IMO...... extremely narcissitic.....

    August 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  240. Christopher Howe

    What can you expect from a party that's been hijacked by a bunch of mental lightweights who fancy themselves as patriots. We are truly in the era of a "No Taxes Cult ." The brain power shortage in Congress may be worse than that among these Republican presidential candidates. America needs statesmen and instead we get a bunch of robots that all think alike, that it's their way or the highway! As JFK said, "You can't negotiate with someone that says what's mine is mine and what is yours is negotiable."

    August 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  241. Rich in Englewood, NJ

    This is an unintended consequence of an entire generation of parenting that focused on falsely elevating a person's self-esteem. We used to believe that some people were smarter than us. Now we believe that we're all smart enough to be President. Or God, for that matter. Since we believe anyone is smart enough to be President, all that matters is that he/she agrees with us. No longer will we trust that someone smarter than us can make decisions on our behalf.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  242. Matt B from Seattle, WA

    We put too much stock in the manufactured, idealistic personalities made up by campaign staffs. When a more genuine personality with brighter intellect is put in charge, they are lambasted for their nuance, intellectual complexity, and supposed "elitism." We (falsely) perceive it as like a lack of decisiveness and consistency.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  243. Paul B.

    America isn't allergic to brains. It's the Republican Party that is allergic, rejecting brains at every opportunity. The modern Republican Party is the party of "Idiocracy," and the GOP 2012 candidates reflect that.

    Wait, that's not fair: They aren't just idiots. They are Christian fundamentalist extremists, morons who deny science while pushing Dominionism (look it up–they're scary). They are a thousand times more dangerous to America than any Islamic extremist, ever.

    Don't blame all of America for the anti-brain movement, Jack. It's the right-wing, Christian, neoconservative side of America that is trying to drive us into a Dark Ages. The rest of us LIKE intelligence.

    Sadly, that's all that we got with Obama–brains. No spine, no guts, no soul...

    August 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  244. Jim

    Jack,

    Why are you accusing "America" of being allergic to brains when the problem clearly lies with the GOP and their supporters? The three brainless extremist Bozos you mentioned are all Republicans. I didn't see you taking any cheap shots at Obama's intellectual credentials. Face it, Jack, Obama could end up winning 2012 by a larger margin that he did in 2008.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    August 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  245. Ann Marie

    Please point out any brains in the Liberal "elite" or the Democratic Party? it seems they have a math problem.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  246. illmatar

    Visual information is the most likely to be remembered. Verbal is the most likely to be forgotten.
    It's about image. Humans make our first and most powerful judgements with our eyes.

    Therefore, we elect the people with the best advertising houses and PR firms. Bush got caught with his "subliminal message" but usually it's so much more subtle than that. They use good sun and up shots on the candidate they are supporting. Upshots make you look taller and more imposing. They use bad camera angles on the candidate they are against...most of us are a bit asymmetrical and it's a turn off. The more they can distort a person's face with weird expressions the better. "Good guys" pose in front of sunny parks and American flags. "Bad guys" get black and white or dim lighting. Last election season I even saw one with a faked background of animated storm clouds.

    It all comes down to who can afford the best artists to them look good and their opponents look like the devil's own. It's very subliminal, it's very powerful, and Americans just eat it up.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  247. SERDA

    America is not allergic to intellect, they are just severely lazy. Most people look to ONLY two sources to be spoon fed their daily dose of "reality" ! It's this lack in thirst for knowledge and truth about the world they live in that leads the American media to continue to dish out the what the average person "craves" which are show boaters, one-liners and the next SNL parody jackpot.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  248. Shirley Turner

    I think we have become a nation accustomed to being mindlessly entertained rather than intellectually stimulated by thoughtful conversation and the exchange of ideas.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  249. Eric

    The answer is easy. One can never underestimate the stupidity of the American people. The intellectual elite have always been a minority here in the US and always will be. Those that would be ideal as President are smart enough not to waste their time and run. They have much better options than to expose themselves to the wrath of the idiots that make up a majority of the voting public.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  250. Bill in VA

    I would start by asking the 53% of the elcetorate that voted for Obama in 2008. They are the current experts on that subject.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  251. Andrew

    Newt is by far the most intelligent candidate, but Republican voters shy away from candidates that are more intelligent than they are. Today's republican is much more likely to vote for someone who is more like they are.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  252. jay

    Seems interesting. America has had a lot of people who have run from President who did have the intelligence and the background to be excellent in the job. Some have become president while others were quickly dismissed for being too cerebral. Wait...you mean they were dismissed for being too smart? It happens nearly every election. American's want someone who they can relate to instead of someone who is good enough to do the job. Sounds like a hiring flaw by the American public. YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO HIRE THE SMARTEST GUY IN THE ROOM!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  253. Michael

    There are no brains in the WH now, what's the big deal. America's best and brightest do not run for President because the Media and individual parties dig up dirt and misreprsent the potential candidate. It is No win Dead end job.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  254. Emmanuel Goldstein

    I'm with Michael Bindner – Al Gore, the Clintons, and Barack Obama certainly aren't intellectual lightweights.

    George HW Bush wasn't, either; but George W. Bush was a master of the "sound solution; wrong, but sound!".

    August 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  255. dfas

    "If Palin runs, we'll have another Mensa candidate to join Bachmann and Perry." Hahahahaha

    August 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  256. James A. in Warrensburg, MO

    For half of the population – YES!
    Here are some reasons I can think of right now:
    • Ordinary people are suspicious and fearful of people who can obviously outsmart them and out talk them.
    • Many people are jealous of brains.
    • Educated people typically have more than one point of view, as a result, they are often perceived as being dismissive of religion, or gun rights, etc.
    I’m sure there are other people out there that can think of dozens more.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  257. Ian from MN

    Because people want to elect candidates who remind them of themselves. The average American isn't really all that bright.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  258. Damian - Gunbarrel Coloradon

    Hi Jack, I think that folks of lesser intelligence are threatened by those with higher intelligence. It's why those folks act out, say silly things, get all puffy chested when debating with someone who is calm, cool, collected and knows what they are talking about. I think that the US population on average is of average intelligence, or is from the baby boomer generation that is becoming more and more out of touch with the realities of this day and age. Intelligent voters will turn out to the polls, because those that have an opinion but aren't registered, will be too scared to go register and cast a vote.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  259. Bob

    Too many Americans are taught to distrust intellectuals. That which we do not agree with is a lie. That which we do not understand is bad. Also, most of us do not want an explanation as to what we should do differently. We would prefer the candidate who confirms what we already believe and do.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  260. Ann Marie

    I'm not sure what you mean by brains. Jimmy Carter might have done quite well in school but he was a disaster as a President. Ronald Reagan might have been an average student but he was an excellent President. As for the current occupant of the White House, even the village idiot knows that you don't pay off your debt by incurring more debt. I don't think we have an issue with brains, I think we have an issue with arrogance starting with those who choose to judge those they deem to be beneath them simply becasue they believe in a different approach.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  261. Pam from Fountain Valley, CA

    What do you expect from the "Fringe Right?" You have to ignore science to refute evolution, believe that prayer will bring rain, and believe that giving money to the rich will somehow sprinkle down to the poor and disabled. Our allergic reaction started with GW Bush. An intellectual icon to the Right!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  262. Andrea - NY

    Yes, Jack, because it was not crazy at all for Obama to promise all those things, including my favorite, line-by-line budget checks, on which he could never have delivered? Some of think that's crazy!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  263. Eddie G. McAllen, TX

    All due respect to Joe Biden, but I think that if President Obama wants to win the election, challenge the American electorate and really make them think about what it means to be a unified America, then he should consider asking a Republican moderate intellectual to join him in the ticket for 2012. Not only will it pull the rug from underneath the GOP frontrunners, it just might bring the country together. Talk about audacity!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  264. dale

    Since GW, brains have been associated with 'liberal elitists' (i.e. someone who got better than a C- in college). Red state conservatives don't want intelligent people who dare question their religious status quo.
    Dale in MA

    August 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  265. John, Baltimore MD

    Jack, America has always been wary of highly intelligent people because of a cultural bend towards anti-elitism. But not since the Dark Ages have people been so distrustful of experts opinions even in the very fields they are experts of! Who cares if a bunch of professors with a Ph.D. in economics argue that we must raise taxes AND cut spending? If it doesn't fit your political ideology, it's not worth listening to.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  266. Trae

    How about someone with EXPERIENCE?

    August 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  267. John C

    Why? Because as Americans we have no brains. I think it may be genetic.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  268. John

    David Hannum said it best, "There's a sucker born every minute." Our politicians understand that.
    Most Americans are too lazy to do what it takes to become informed about issues that affect them. If it can be summed up in a 15 second sound bite, that's all their attention spans can fathom. Remember, a majority of Americans did nothing more than finish high school, and many struggled to do that. Showing a level of intelligence in politics will result in folks tuning out the message. It's too complicated.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  269. michele

    As far as the Republican contenders, the ones getting the most attention tend to say what they think the base wants to hear. They spout things about God, patriotism, and play on their fears. They say nothing of substance. That is easy talk – easy to say, easy to hear. Not too much thinking or research involved. It has always been this way in politics. If they are elected, they are then easily controlled by the true powers that be – those that paid for their campaign. The president we have currently is a very intelligent man, but is accused of being an elitist and looking down on the average person, even though he has a blue collar background and more in common with middle class America. Again, play on peoples fears in sound bites. People should research candidates – with the internet it is certainly easy to do, look for older newspaper articles for example – and see how they really behaved. But of course, this takes effort. Back to your question – why is intelligence not rewarded? Requires too much time and effort to look at the truth and make an educated decision.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  270. Nicholas Blanton

    Jack, it's obvious that Americans are preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse! A brainless President will be safe from the ravening hordes of undead and lead the world in repelling the attack. Just picture Michelle Bachmann in the place of Homer Simpson and I think you'll get the idea.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  271. Newyorker

    This is nothing new. Americans have always preferred having dumb Presidents to smart ones. However, as the education levels of ordinary Americans have fallen over the years, it has become more and more difficult for Joe Six Pack to identify with a smart candidate. Americans seem to prefer a President who shares their low IQ, low-levels of education, and their so-called 'values' (whatever these may be), than for an egg-head who uses big, fancy words, and who appears to talk down to them (see Gore, and Kerry). Presidents Obama and Clinton have been exceptions, partly because despite their big intellects, they can/could identify and empathize with ordinary Americans, and because ordinary Americans were still smart enough to realize that the country's economic problems could be better handled by a President who was smarter than themselves. Right now, if Americans are giving up on Obama, it is because of their over optimistic expectations of what a smart President can do to fix an economy that is the worst since the Great Depression, particularly if there is such a determined but misguided opposition (Tea Party GOPers). However, the alternative to this smart President is not a dumb President, but a smart President who also has the ability to play the political game as well, if not better than his opponents, and actually get things done. If Obama cannot learn to do this, then Americans should elect someone who can.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  272. Sandy Clifton

    The electorate is not allergic to brains; individuals with brains are allergic to politics, so we don't get any decent candidates on either ticket!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  273. deborah ballweg Seibert, co

    Smart people don't want that job.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  274. Fred Nickols

    You've got it wrong, Jack. America isn't allergic to brains, it's immune to them!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  275. Joe

    John,

    We are not electing Presidents anymore – we are electing parties. That is the issue. We are so blinded by the divisive politics that has crippled this country in recent years that it's no longer about who is running for President. Just that the party we've traditionally supported defeats the party that we've traditionally opposed.

    We need to push away from party politics of any sort and return to electing based upon the merits of an individual's ability to lead. Or we will fail.

    NY, NY

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  276. Mike

    At least Palin would provide some entertainment. When I see polls showing Bachmann plling with a few points of Obama – I get scared, then I get reassured – America as a whole is not dumb enough to vote in any of the current GOP "crop" – sorry I just don't see. If a Republican wins we have arrived at the Idiocracy...

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  277. ncsouthernbelle

    We "supposedly" elected brains and that has gotten us no where but BROKE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  278. Mack in Florida

    Given that the vast majority of Americans have no better than an eighth grade education, is it any wonder they prefer idiots as Presidential candidates? This is what you get when you import poverty and then reduce your educational standards and spending.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  279. Lance

    It's part of the American character to equate shrewdness and audacity with intelligence. In rare cases – Lincoln for example – these qualities have made for and even transcended a President’s lack of education and erudition. But it has also left the American political system vulnerable to hucksterism, exploitation and demagoguery.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  280. Natalie

    Correction...it's not "America" that's allergic to brains, it's the far right on the GOP side. Please don't confuse the real issue.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  281. john st.pierre

    I simply believe that most of our joint political parties are in it for themselves than for the American people.No man or women with a brain,would have allowed for America to get into the multiple crisis and disasters that we have faced these last few weeks,months,years.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  282. Newyorker

    This is nothing new. Americans have always preferred having stupid Presidents to smart ones. However, as the education levels of ordinary Americans have fallen over the years, it has become more and more difficult for Joe Six Pack to identify with a smart candidate. Americans seem to prefer a President who shares their low IQ, low-levels of education, and their so-called 'values' (whatever these may be), than for an egg-head who uses big, fancy words, and who appears to talk down to them (see Gore, and Kerry). Presidents Obama and Clinton have been exceptions, partly because despite their big intellects, they can/could identify and empathize with ordinary Americans, and because ordinary Americans were still smart enough to realize that the country's economic problems could be better handled by a President who was smarter than themselves. Right now, if Americans are giving up on Obama, it is because of their over optimistic expectations of what a smart President can do to fix an economy that is the worst since the Great Depression, particularly if there is such a determined but misguided opposition (Tea Party GOPers). However, the alternative to this smart President is not a dumb President, but a smart President who also has the ability to play the political game as well, if not better than his opponents, and actually get things done. If Obama cannot learn to do this, then Americans should elect someone who can.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  283. Ryan schell

    America ISN'T allergic to brains. That's why we elected president Obama. Now the tea party wing of republican politics? That's where you will find all the anti-intellectual sentiment...

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  284. Ancient Texan

    It became clear to me long ago that being "educated – degrees in abundance" is not to be correlated to intelligence. I have highly educated friends that are not timid about reminding everyone how superior they are because of their degrees, that do not have "walking around sense" and are constantly argueing with sign boards. We will see who is smart enough to be an electable candidate and who is just a showboat candidate.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  285. craig

    People like simplistic answers, both because they have been programmed that way by the media, primarily commercial television, and because candidates can't deliver on them anyway...and everyone knows that. Why spend a few minutes explaining something in detail when a simple sound bite is enough. Half your audience will tune you out. The idea that a problem is nuanced or complex doesn't matter. $2 gas is easy to remember, even if it can't possibly be done. The masses go home happy, and then complain when things don't happen.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  286. Steve

    One wonders where the good old U.S.A. is headed when "knowing something" is considered a liability when running for President. Gerald Ford was lampooned for being a bit of an intellectual lightweight. Yet I don't recall anything he said that would be in the same league as today's intellectually challenged candidates.

    Has the American public just gotten dumber, or has the media just gotten into the habit of reporting politics like Hollywood gossip columnists?

    August 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  287. Danyell, Ohio

    America is not allergic to brains, we're becoming allergic to each other. In beliefs, politics, and just about any other issue you can think of Jack. Presidential politics is becoming nothing more than a mere playground, where the children laugh and play.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  288. Joe

    Jack,

    We are not electing Presidents anymore – we are electing parties. That is the issue. We are so blinded by the divisive politics that has crippled this country in recent years that it's no longer about who is running for President. Just that the party we've traditionally supported defeats the party that we've traditionally opposed.

    We need to push away from party politics of any sort and return to electing based upon the merits of an individual's ability to lead. Or we will fail.

    NY, NY

    August 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  289. Linda

    Norwalk IA

    Jack, look at America.....Lazy voters = lazy brains. Most voters won't compute more than a simple slogan....Republicans know that....so.....

    August 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  290. MB

    Its sad to say, but I feel like the reason people like incompetent politicians is because they are incompetent themselves. People like a candidate that they relate to, not someone that confuses them.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  291. Harry

    That's an easy one? These candidates, dumb as they are, are still smarter then their contituency. Stupid is a pretty big club.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  292. Newyorker

    Right now, if Americans are giving up on Obama, it is because of their over optimistic expectations of what a smart President can do to fix an economy, that is the worst since the Great Depression, particularly when there is such a determined but misguided opposition (Tea Party GOPers). However, the alternative to this smart President is not a dumb President, but a smart President who also has the ability to play the political game as well, if not better than his opponents, and actually get things done. If Obama cannot learn to do this, then Americans should elect someone who can.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  293. Ya No

    A rhetorical question, I presume. Jack, you know better than most, intelligence has been specifically banned in any political arena.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  294. Bob from Long Island, NY

    Jack I'm afraid to say but most of us like what we see in the mirror! Pass me some more Bar-be-Q (burp)!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  295. Joshua, Waxahachie, TX

    Because most people do not like to put for the effort it takes to discover what a candidate is actually like. People like to hear nifty catch phrases like: 'The Audacity of Hope' and 'Change' and pick the candidate that everyone else seems to like best...regardless whether they know anything substantive about them.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  296. Larry L, Torrance, CA

    America is not allergic to brains in politics.

    Brains are allergic to politics in this country.

    Why would some intellectual put himself through what is required to get nominated in this country. And it's even worse for the Republican Party.

    To be an acceptable Republican, you must endorse no taxes, you must eschew the science of evolution, you must be dumb enough to be certain that all the billions of tons of carbon dioxide that humans put into the atmosphere does absolutely nothing to the climate. And that's just a few of the nutty things that someone with brains would avoid like the plague.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  297. Bobo, CT

    Why do they hate brains? Because most of these people don't have any, and don't trust anyone WITH any. So let the Bachmanns, Perrys, and Palins have the White House. It would be a no-brainer.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  298. Ed

    President Obama has plenty of brains. Only the Republicans, and especially the Tea Party segment, are allergic to intelligence.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  299. azzab

    Are you kidding, after 8 years of Bush, we have been brainwashed to accept brain deads like Bachman, Palin.
    If any of these ever become the president, I will go to Dubai and join the camel racing crowd.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  300. Newyorker

    This is nothing new. Americans have always preferred having stupid Presidents to smart ones. However, as the education levels of ordinary Americans have fallen over the years, it has become more and more difficult for Joe Six Pack to identify with a smart candidate. Americans seem to prefer a President who shares their low IQ, low-levels of education, and their so-called 'values' (whatever these may be), than for an egg-head who uses big, fancy words, and who appears to talk down to them (see Gore, and Kerry). Presidents Obama and Clinton have been exceptions, partly because despite their big intellects, they can/could identify and empathize with ordinary Americans, and because ordinary Americans were still smart enough to realize that the country's economic problems could be better handled by a President who was smarter than themselves.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  301. Ned

    There's nothing a little claritin primaries that will shake these numbskulls out.

    By adhereing to puny states picking the nomiees with their first in the countries....the allergy is in Iowa.

    Bring them down to Florida and we'll weed through the nutcases real quick. AhChooo

    August 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  302. Jim in Illinois

    Jack, we elected Obama a brain by all accounts and look where that got us.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  303. Chris

    It's just a different form of reality TV. People don't want to hear the boring truth that Ron Paul puts out. They want to hear crazy talk and off the wall comments. Thats what sells air time.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  304. Natalie Cornell

    Jack, It's not Americans who are allergic to brains; it's Republicans.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  305. Alexis - Austin, TX

    It's not that America is allergic to brains – right wingers are allergic to brains. Didn't you know that being educated and logical is code for being elitist and un-American?

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  306. Curt, Ohio

    Jack,

    I notice you're focusing on the Republican candidates as you pose your question. That seems appropriate. Too many Republican followers disparage educated, intelligent people as being "elitist." Too many either don't understand science or outright reject the scientific approach to understanding our world. Candidates like Bachmann and Perry are ahead in the polls because they reflect the preferences of a large segment of the Republican constituency. It's fine that they get what they deserve, but I fear the country as a whole may suffer the consequences of such prejudices starting January 2013.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  307. Bob in Houston

    Jack,
    You don't need to pass an IQ test to attract support in a Republican primary.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  308. Dr.BA H

    The lack of brains in politics in this country is only eclipsed by the lack of brains of the folks voting for them.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  309. Michael Q - Toronto, Canada

    Not only is Obama formally educated, highly intelligent, extremely patient and diplomatic, thoughtful and a listener, it is no wonder the American voter is confused when you added the word "brains". When was the last time a President actually had brains? Right. Carter. One term. Individual Americans can't seem to handle anyone they think is smarter than they are. Enough said!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  310. Steve

    Jack, it's not what you say but how you say it. We love style over substance. I recall a poll where Bill Clinton's integrity rating was higher than war hero Bob Dole. We care not about what you have to say as long as the delivery is entertaining.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  311. Rubin Shonbom

    This country is addicted to stupid. How else do you explain the huge ratings and non-stop coverage of the Kardashians?

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  312. Kelvin

    Jack:
    Once upon a time, people valued leaders who knew more than they did; indeed, the essence of Edmund Burke's theory of conservative governance was that elected representatives exercised judgment that was more sober and reasoned than the fickle opinions of the less informed masses who chose them, which was a principle reason why they deserved to be chosen. In recent decades, however, America has accepted the canard that leaders should be "people like us" or should reflect the "will of the people," presumably as reflected in polls, etc. Well, the simple fact is that the majority of "the people" are not deep thinkers, or are well-informed on the broad range of issues that face the country. No reason that they should, either. The majority have lives to lead and families to feed, and are not responsible for governing. This explains why the Perrys and Bachmanns draw such rabid followings, even as they make thinking people very nervous. There's nothing wrong with elites per se; so long as they see their intellect as a gift to be used to serve their country (think FDR, Benjamin Disreali, Vaclav Havel) as opposed to something to lorded over their "lessers," they make darned good leaders.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  313. Bill, MA

    you ask an america this when we seem to be addicted to Jersey Shore and the like? We've grown to like flash, not substance and we still have a Congress that doesn't seem to want to get along the person on the other side from them. Too bad the founders didn't require an IQ test score minimum.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  314. Matt, New York

    Most Americans are allergic to brains because they don't have ones themselves. What do you expect when Snookie is a role model, or the majority of people that cant tell you how many Senators there are in each state. Heck many probably dont know how many states we have, ever watch Jay Leno's Jaywalking. Many stupid people are out there.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  315. rob o'neal

    hey jack, killer commentary. in a world of jerseylicious and the like, it's all about the freak show and nothing about substance. i just have to wonder how these political mouthpieces choose their handlers. seems most of them are asleep at the proverbial wheel. you needn't look further than the elvis birthday gaff, talk of treason and third-world-produced campaign t-shirts. only in america, right? i say bring back the alaska show, this comedy routine could use a boost. you betcha!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  316. Kathy in Nashville

    Candidates with brains? How foolish. The "handlers" and Congress would not be able to control and manipulate them if they had a clue. Can you imagine if Obama actually knew what was going on? Congress would collapse in on themselves in frustration. Term limits, campaign fund reform and the ability to fire the enitre corrupt crew. Then we could hire citizens that care about the country and not the power.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  317. Tom from Toms River, New Jersey

    This allergy to brains sounds like a pandemic, like bird flu ("bird brain" flu, maybe). The GOP better start praying that the CDC comes up with a cure quick- before Obama's poll numbers start to climb again.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |