Politics

You Don't Have To Be "Smart," Just Right

Rick Perry's intelligence isn't the issue.

|

Folks in the media often judge the intellect of candidates using one crucial question: Do you agree with me?

Now, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, leading Republican presidential candidate, readily admits that he's not a scholarly type. But if your spider senses, like mine, are tingling, it probably has more to do with Perry's slippery politics than it does with his aversion to curling up with a dog-eared copy of The Wealth of Nations.

In a recent Politico piece (one that mistakes wonkery for overall intelligence), readers are asked, Is Rick Perry dumb? "He is not an ideas man," explains Politico. He "hasn't spent his political career marking up the latest Cato or Heritage white papers or reading policy-heavy books late into the night. Advisers and colleagues have informed much of his thinking over the years."

Listen, I love reading a Cato white paper as much as the next guy, but that doesn't make me smart; it makes me tragically boring. No doubt Barack Obama picked up his sad conviction in redistributionist economics perusing stacks of white papers—highlight marker within reach—but his presidency was won on crude progressive populism anchored in emotion, not reason. Policy ideas had little to do with Obama's election victory, though they have almost everything to do with his failures as president.

I've not seen or heard enough of Perry to form any opinion on his intellect—and if he instituted policies that I agreed with, I, like most Americans, wouldn't give one whit what his IQ was, but politicians, by their nature, are not intellectually curious, save their ability to twist their opponent's beliefs for political gain. Elections, after all, are about pandering, not thinking.

That doesn't make them "dumb." What makes a person dumb is repeating mistakes when all the evidence tells him to stop for his own good. We will witness this human shortcoming when the president rolls out his new "stimulus" package. Some ideas, goes Orwell's saying, are so dumb only intellectuals can believe them.

On the other hand, reflexive anti-intellectualism (a misguided belief on the right that was spurred by having to share the word "intellectual" with Cornel West) is also destructive. If you're going to propose more than hope in 2012—say, some policy—you have to be prepared with scholarly backup.

If a candidate asserts that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and a "monstrous lie," I may agree (because I read Cato white papers!), but he'd better have some innovative ideas to offer voters instead—ideas that can pithily and reassuringly convince baby boomers they won't be cracking open dog food canisters to survive in a few years. Decades of reliance on flawed New Deal policies doesn't just end. They need to be reformed or replaced—unlikely as that is to happen.

When a candidate claims that Medicare is another "fraudulent" system "designed to take in a lot of money at the front and pay out none in the end," he sure is right, but he'd better be able to deftly handle policy questions and transcend talking points—which it seems to me is all Perry has offered so far.

This requires the only form of intelligence that matters in politics: the ability to synthesize the complex ideas of other people and then sell them.    

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Blaze. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM

NEXT: How Far Should the Government Go to Protect Us from Snake Oil? The Case of Homeopathy.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The job of a politician is to fool voters into thinking he is smart.

    1. The current one sure did a job.

      1. Not with me.

        1. Me either. I actually looked at his “record”, his team and his friends and believed him when he said he wanted to “fundamentally change” the way Washington worked. I figured I knew what a Marxist meant.

          1. I want to fundementally change the way Washington works. If I were POTUS, the talking points for my first SOTU would be the balanced budget and the Constitutional Amendments I proposed.

      2. But but but…errr Columbia! Ehh…Harvard! Uh…uhh…comic books! He likes comic books! Bad at bowling! Quiet deliberation! He’s…he’s just too smart for you to understand.

        1. Present!

  2. Is he smart enough to understand that forcibly taking money/wealth from one person in order to redistribute it to another person who had no hand in earning/creating said money or wealth – regardless of their “need” or what euphemism by which you refer to said act – is plain-and-simple theft?

    He does?

    Good enough for me.

    1. Is he smart enough to understand that core government functions like police, fire, infrastructure and military defense are every bit as “redistributive” as food stamps or Section 8? Then he really is smart enough to lead.

      1. Are you smart enough to understand that core government functions involve paying someone to do a job, whereas food stamps or Section 8 are a transfer of wealth from one party to another?
        Then you really aren’t smart enough to vote.

        1. Are you smart enough to understand that the argument you just made implicitly justifies public-sector make-work jobs programs like FDR’s WPA? Then you really are smart enough to breath on your own without a machine.

          1. Are you smart enough to understand that “make work” is not a “core government function”, and amounts to a transfer of wealth?

            These “core government functions” involve protecting life, liberty and property. Police, fire, and military do what individuals have a right to do in absence of government. Seek justice, protect their property and protect themselves.
            Transferring wealth, i.e. stealing for someone else, conflicts with reacting to injustice because it is an injustice in itself.

            If you’re too stupid to not see that then you really should do the world a favor and kill yourself.

            1. WPA-style make-work can involve the same kind of functions, and it did.

              Are you too stupid to see this? If you are, then you should castrate yourself and kill your whole family, plus your pets and any close friends, and burn your house down, along with your car.

              You wanna keep “elevating the discourse” like this, sarcasmic? Because I can match ‘incivility’ with anybody on the planet. Literally.

              1. I forgot never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

                1. If you are smart enough to wrestle with a pig…you might be a redneck.

              2. And no, I am not stupid enough to miss the distinction.

                Justice is an absence of injustice.

                Forced charity is an injustice. It is theft by proxy.

                If the duty of government is to react to injustice, it cannot itself be an instrument of injustice.

                If you cannot grasp this concept then I have nothing left to say.

                1. You never had anything to say.

                  By your lights, there is no reason I should be “forced” to pay to defend someone else’s “property,” or help someone else “seek justice” anymore than I should be “forced” to help them keep their children from starving. It’s all charity. It’s all theft by proxy. If we are on our own, then we are really on our own no matter what, even if we face murder or robbery or rape.

                  If we are not on our own, then the hazards we collectively guard against are fully open to negotiation among all participants in society. You want my help with police protection? Then I can put help with another type of problem — like unemployment or a pre-existing condition — on the table, too. It’s bargaining over government by self-governing people, and there is no injustice in such a process whatsoever. (End results are another matter.) No god in heaven ever dictated that you should get exactly what you want out of government and nothing else, while everyone else’s preferences are deemed irrelevant.

                  You don’t want to help feed hungry kids? Fine. Go on your own. Grab your axe and head for the woods. And don’t ever expect me to help pay for a 911 call at your house.

                  1. By your lights, there is no reason I should be “forced” to pay to defend someone else’s “property,” or help someone else “seek justice” anymore than I should be “forced” to help them keep their children from starving.

                    You don’t surrender the right to provide for your children under government, but you do surrender the right to seek justice.
                    If you are a failure as a provider for your family then you can seek charity. Government doesn’t take away the right to give to charity.

                    Government should do no more than it prohibits you from doing yourself.

                    1. preview – how does it work?

                    2. You don’t surrender your right to fight a fire burning your house down, either, or to shoot an intruder in your home, or to fire at Russian aircraft flying over and dropping bombs on you. But government is there to help out, even with things you are perfectly free to do for yourself.

                      You’re just spinning and offering up make-weight arguments now. Your theory is incomplete at best; utterly hollow in all likelihood. You have mere policy preferences about income redistribution that you are vainly trying to elevate to the level of god-given unimpeachable law. Give up. It’s hopeless. Especially for you.

                    3. I do have the right to shoot an intruder, but if he gets away I surrendered the right to hunt him down and take back what he carried with him.
                      I do not have the right to seek justice like Paul Kersey.
                      There are some good arguments in favor of privatized fire departments.
                      Your aircraft example is, well, inane.

                      Again you try to make this about personal preference. It is not.
                      Sure it would be nice if government took advantage of the fact that all those rich people exist, and plundered them so I wouldn’t have to pay for anything form myself.
                      Yeah, that would be nice.
                      But what about their right to seek justice?
                      How do they seek justice when they ceded that right to the very government that is plundering them on my behalf?
                      Can you not see the contradiction?

                    4. “There are some good arguments in favor of privatized fire departments.”

                      No.
                      There.
                      Are.
                      Not.

                      Unchecked fires are a common hazard. A system that withheld fire protection from non-payers would expose innocent life and property to destruction. So government helps us with fire protection, even though we are perfectly free to fight fires on our own.

                      Your premise is false; based on absurd distinction. Government can, does, always has, and should help us with any number of things that we are theoretically “free to do for ourselves.”

                    5. A system that withheld fire protection from non-payers would expose innocent life and property to destruction.

                      Who says protection would be withheld?
                      If letting the fire spread would damage property of payers, is it not in their interest to have the fire put out?

                    6. So now you are switching gears from “private” fire protection, which entails subscription for protection, to “privatized” fire protection, in which subscribers pay for protecting everyone, including non-subscribers? Makes little sense.

                      How are we supposed to know ahead of time if somebody is inside a burning building? If you want to protect human life, you can’t withold fire protection from certain owners. You have to fight fires AT LARGE in order to protect life. That suggests that everybody has to chip in for fire protection (no free riders!), and that means government is helping us do something even though we have not given up any “right” to do it for ourselves.

                      The counter-example means your theory fails. No theory is left. Just your preferences. Like I said before.

                    7. So we shouldn’t protect free riders such as churches.

                    8. If it’s tax-exempt by law, it is not a free rider.

                      DERPDERPDERPDERPDERPDERPDERPDERP!!!!!!

                    9. Your counter example is based upon the premise that if government doesn’t do it, nobody will do it.

                      Next you’re going to tell me that I don’t want people to eat because I don’t want the government to run all the farms.

                    10. Taxpayer-funded fire departments. Yes or no?

                      I sense you are about to abandon it because you can’t square it with your dumb-@ss theory.

                    11. No, I’m telling you you don’t want everybody to eat because of your big hate-on for food stamps.

                      Government uses tax money plus private vendors, not public ownership, to guarantee against hunger for low-income Americans. (Much like it relies on private factories to build the military’s weapons.)

                      Try to focus.

                    12. When government uses tax money to give people something for nothing (not to be confused with giving justice for not seeking vigilante justice) that is plunder.

                      That is rewarding people for not contributing to society.

                      There is a remedy. Charity.
                      It is necessarily shameful. It is shameful to live off the work of others.

                      Unless you’re a progressive liberal socialist.

                      Because when government plunders for charity there is no shame in living off what others produce.

                      No shame at all.

                    13. You remind me of an ex-friend of mine who managed to succeed in his goal of becoming a ward of the state. He complained of an injury, found a good lawyer, lawyer set him up with a doctor, doctor made it worse (oh no!), now dude gets a check every week for the rest of his life as long as he doesn’t work and the government keeps giving him checks.

                      He succeeded in using the government to plunder so he has to produce nothing.

                      He’s an ex-friend because his check and my deductions were too damn similar for me to look at him and not want to think of him as a thief who uses government to steal from me.

                    14. I see you dodged the hard stuff.
                      That’s OK. All you’ve got is ad hominems and men of straw.
                      Have a nice day!

                    15. Hard stuff? Eh?

                    16. Yes.
                      You ignore the contradiction.
                      How can government both respond when someone steals in order to give to someone else, and be the one who steals to give to someone else?

                      And don’t try to tell me that taxation to fund officers of the court is the same as taxation to fund charity.
                      Paying someone to do a necessary job is not the same as paying someone to do nothing.

                      Why am I even arguing with you?

                    17. Government can pay some one to “do nothing” or to “do something,” and whether that “something” is necessary or not is a matter of opinion. Again, you grasp for some metaphysical validation where you can never find it.

                    18. Metaphysical validation?

                      There are only two ways that one can obtain the means to live.
                      One can produce or one can plunder.
                      That’s it.
                      Live off what you produce or plunder what someone else produces.

                      Tell me another way.

                      Using government as a tool to plunder is still plunder.
                      When plunder becomes a way of life, where is the incentive to produce?
                      When the incentive to produce is gone, and everyone exists off plunder, then what?
                      Who produces?

                  2. If we are not on our own, then the hazards we collectively guard against are fully open to negotiation among all participants in society.

                    That sounds all well and good. Except that it is doomed to failure.
                    If the functions of government are not limited to what an individual could do on their own (protect them and theirs, seek justice), then there are no limits at all.

                    None.

                    You want to use plunder to feed the children.
                    You want to use plunder to feed the unemployed.
                    You want to use plunder to help the sick.
                    You want to use plunder to replace charity.

                    And at some point you run out of plunder and are left with a society of dependents who produce nothing.

                    Then what?

                    I can answer that. You starve.

                    1. So we only “plunder” to break strikes and “plunder” to clear bums out of the parks and “plunder” to keep Jay Leno from having one of his 50 sports cars stolen out of his five-million dollar garage. All that “plunder” is well and good, but “plunder” to feed hungry kids is unacceptable.

                      I’ve got your number, big boy. Thanks for playing.

                    2. I’ve got your number, big boy.

                      No, all you’ve got is a man of straw.

                      You can keep arguing with him though. You have that right.

                    3. What straw man? Do you or do you not think people should be taxed to protect Jay Leno’s car collection, but not to feed hungry children?

                    4. Jay Leno’s collection of largely American cars provides jobs and opportunities for American manufacturing. The more cars Jay Leno buys, the more he supports the American working, middle class family. Why do you want American factory workers to starve?

                    5. Oops, almost forgot: Why do you want the CHILDREN of american working-class families to starve. Sorry, forgot to mention children in my bullshit hypothetical moral scenario.

                    6. I don’t have the issue. You’re the one who needs to explain why government force and taking are OK for one purpose but not the other.

                    7. Unseriousness: the last refuge of the Libertarian scoundrel.

                      DERPDERPDERPDERPDERPDERPDERPDERP!!!!!!

                    8. Go suck a dick Tony.

                    9. Somebody ran out of arguments.

                      DERPDERPDERPDERPDERPDERPDERPDERP!!!!!!

                    10. Someone doesn’t like Tony.
                      And not because he’s a fag.
                      Because he’s a moron.

              3. “WPA-style make-work can involve the same kind of functions, and it did.”

                Citation needed.

                1. I’m not your history professor. Google it up for yourself and get educated.

                  1. I’m not your history professor. Google it up for yourself and get educated.

                    “I CAN MAKE BLANKET ASSERTIONS WITHOUT PROVIDING EVIDENCE BUT THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON YOU TO SHOW I’M WRONG A BLOO BLOO BLOO!!”

                    1. Ah, the handle-jack. Everything back to normal.

        2. Are you smart enough to understand that paying someone to “do a job” or perform core government functions for someone else is every bit as “redistributive” as food stamps?

          1. No, I am not stupid enough to understand the difference between paying someone to do a legitimate function of government and paying someone to do nothing.
            Too dumb.
            Can’t see how they are equal.

            Off to the chipper.

            1. I would be happy to pay higher taxes to get the government to do less.

        3. Are you smart enough to understand that core government functions involve paying someone to do a job, whereas food stamps or Section 8 are a transfer of wealth from one party to another? Then you really aren’t smart enough to vote.

          Are you smart enough to understand that core government functions involves killing or driving off natural Non-State societies and a transfer of wealth from one party to another via privation property land entitlement?

          Then you really aren’t smart enough to vote.

        4. You do understand that $ 0.72 of every dollar spent on welfare never makes it out the door. So a more accurate statement would be

          Not only is the Government parasitic in the creation of welfare programs, the primary function of the programs is not welfare for people in need but rather welfare for government workers that are neither capable of producing or providing a good and/or service nor are they capable of running for public office.

          So when one speaks of useless Government workers there actually is a groups for which this applies.

      2. “Is he smart enough to understand that core government functions like police, fire, infrastructure and military defense are every bit as “redistributive” as food stamps or Section 8?”

        So according to this reasoning, the only limits to the confiscatory powers of the Federal govt are those set by the Federal govt itself. As such, your money or wealth don’t really belong to you…they are on loan to you by the Federal govt.

        So, Liberty: what’s the purpose of the 4th Amendment? After all, how can a person’s “houses, papers, and effects” be protected from “unreasonable searches and seizures” when said person doesn’t really own their house, papers, or effects but instead are only stewards of those items for the Federal govt?

        1. No dude, all functions of government are equally legitimate. A government that doesn’t provide basic emergency services like police and firefighters but provides free condos to starving children is morally superior than evil minarchist libertopia.

          1. And Coherence Fail II.

          2. And the false dilemma works both ways. If being in favor of any collectivism means you must accept all collectivism. Then tony is making an argument in favor of a totalitarian fascist state.

        2. Coherence fail.

          1. A pretty standard response from a Leftist lightweight who senses that his incoherent “reasoning” is about to back him into a corner that he can’t get out of.

            But, I guess I should at least be thankful that your minimal intelligence warned you to just jump to the Lefty end game of “I’m too intelligent to respond” instead of boring us with endless paragraphs of your tedium.

            So, thanks! 🙂

  3. I’d be okay with a moron obsessed with slashing and burning government. Even if he did those things literally.

    1. I was gonna say, isn’t it heretical to say something like this?

      Decades of reliance on flawed New Deal policies doesn’t just end. They need to be reformed or replaced

  4. The smartest president in my lifetime was Carter.

    His brains didn’t help him.

    The left tries this argument all the time, and it usually backfires. Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush Jr. went 6-0 in presidential elections, despite being “morons.”

    1. Carter was a dolt!

      1. He was smart enough to make it into the Navy’s nuke program. Not usually the realm of dolts. Even if he did washout (I have seen this claim) passing the tests to get in show some degree of a high IQ.

        1. “…passing the tests to get in show some degree of a high IQ.”””
          How do you know that???

          1. I was in that Navy Nuclear program as a reactor operator for the last eight years. You cannot be a part of that program and lack intelligence. But most of us were highly deficient in the wisdom dept. Carter might have be bright enough to grasp a great number of things, but unable to make the correct connections with that knowledge. Knowing all the fine points of percipitation theory without knowing to get out of the rain.

    2. It’s funny that opponents would have called Eisenhower a moron, considering he was astute enough to be selected supreme allied commander on the western front. The fact is that every president we have had has possessed above average intelligence. Doesn’t prevent them from making some really dumb policy decisions.

  5. Don’t worry, io9… your confirmation biases are in full display. You’ve properly signaled that you aren’t one of those yucky Republicans.

    But, I have to ask, what does this have to do with Dr. Who?

    1. It’s such a bullshit meme–kind of like TV news telling us how we’re all going to die if we keep doing whatever they heard was dangerous this week. The Republicans are as committed to their rhetoric when in power as the Democrats–not at all. And both parties thumb their noses at science, economics, and reality in general.

      As for io9, that family of blogs is mostly crazed leftish, statist crap.

      1. I don’t want to ignite another KULTUR WAR thread, but what is a little annoying about the whole “Team Red HAtes Science” meme is that Team Blue has plenty of bible thumpers in their lineup too, but we never hear about them because they are kept away from the cameras when the media asks people about evolution.

        It’s similar to the social values of minorities, such as the lack of support for gay marriage among the black population. It’s like a dirty secret that no one wants to admit.

        1. Of course they do. In fact, I imagine that, given the numbers, they have tens of millions of fanatically religious voters in their ranks as well.

          1. This is a big part of the appeal of libertarianism that was discussed a bit yesterday. The tent is wide enough to fit people with wildly different views on things like evolution or gay marriage, as long as they both agree that it isn’t any of the governments business to enforce their views.

            1. Seems pretty obvious to me–don’t want government interfering in your religion? Need less government.

  6. Come on guys, it is awesome having a college professor president!

    Have you ever read all the awesome law journal articles Obama wrote while president of the Harvard Law Review and on the law faculty at Chicago? We elected him because of his brilliant scholarship, didn’t we? I know we didn’t elect Obama because of his long successful career as an executive in business, the military and/or local/state government.

    1. all the awesome law journal articles Obama wrote while president of the Harvard Law Review and on the law faculty at Chicago

      Citations needed.

      1. I thought his tongue in cheek was obvious Hep.

        1. I thought Hep’s tongue in cheek was obvious. 🙂

  7. If a candidate asserts that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and a “monstrous lie,” I may agree (because I read Cato white papers!), but he’d better have some innovative ideas to offer voters instead?ideas that can pithily and reassuringly convince baby boomers they won’t be cracking open dog food canisters to survive in a few years. Decades of reliance on flawed New Deal policies doesn’t just end. They need to be reformed or replaced?unlikely as that is to happen.

    This may be the malicious misanthrope coiled around my black, unbeating heart, but I can’t work up the sympathy to “wean” boomers and the thousand other leeches off of their respective dole in order to ease their suffering at the expense of people currently feeding the system.

    1. My aunt, a boomer, spent an entire year’s worth of SS on one visit to the vet. Damn dog got something stuck in its digestive system and needed an operation.

      Without Social Security her poor puggle would be dead.

      Why do you hate puggles?

  8. The cult of political intelligence is a feature of the modern left. The underlying assumption is that if the “right” people are in charge, their ideas will somehow magically work. Limited government, on the other hand, relies on the strength of the idea. You needn’t be the best or the brightest to leave me the hell alone.

    1. The underlying assumption is that if the “right” people are in charge, their ideas will somehow magically work.

      Close, but not quite.
      The assumption is that if enough force is put behind good intentions, that the intended result will follow.
      If it doesn’t follow then it isn’t the fault of the idea, for it was born of good intentions.
      It means not enough force was applied.

      Force is all the left understands.

      If there is limited government, liberty, and nobody forcing people to do things, how will anything get done?
      Who will know what to do?

      Where is the authority?

      1. Force is all the left understands.

        It’s possible that, since all you can perceive of the left is force, force is all you understand.

        1. Responding to their force takes up quite a bit of our time.

    2. TOP. Men.

      1. The Best and the Brightest

        Never gets old does it?

    3. This is really what the central planning intelligence worshiping on the left comes down to. If the right people are in charge their benevolent fascism is bound to create a better society than liberty.

  9. My personal take on any politician telling me what a genius he or she is is to wonder why the hell is it that they can’t hold down a real job.

    1. It’s, uh, it’s a, um, calling to help my Fellow Humans.

      ** mumbles under breath **
      I could hold down a real job, if I wanted to. I could.

      1. Anyone smart enough to be a good President….wouldn’t do it for any amount of money!

    2. Argument for Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, you got there.

  10. This requires the only form of intelligence that matters in politics: the ability to synthesize the complex ideas of other people and then sell them.

    That may be the only thing that matters in getting the nomination, but I like presidents who can count. Maybe someone smart enough to subtract expenses from revenue and realize 1) we’re broke and 2) so was Iraq.

    1. Well, its a crying shame that “The Smartest President EVAH” saw fit to either escalate or continue the worst of his policies, then.

  11. In 2000, slightly less the 50% of America and five Supreme Court justices decided that it’s okay to have a dimwit president so long as he has his heart in the right place.

    God help us if we ever, ever, ever make that mistake again.

    There is no substitute for brain power when leadership of 310 Million people is at stake.

    1. And then in 2008 slightly more than 50% of America decided that it’s okay to have a dimwit president so long as he’s eloquent when equipped with a teleprompter.

      What’s your point?

      1. Actually that’s not true.
        Voter turnout was 55% in 2008. So a little over a quarter of America made that decision.

        1. If it takes a “dimwit” to kill bin Laden, oust Kaddaffi, and legislate universal medical insurance, I say bring on the teleprompter-reading idiots.

          1. If you think HE did those things himself, then you really are as stupid and I thought.

            Is this MNG or Tony? Not that it matters.

            1. No, he didn’t do them “himself.” He is a “President.” He leads an organization called the Government of the United States which has two other Constitutional branches, and which is affiliated with an even broader alliance called NATO.

              Kennedy didn’t go to the moon “himself.” FDR didn’t land at Normandy “himself.” Lincoln didn’t win the Civil War “himself.”

              And the last ‘linked’ handle I used in this handle-jacking, griefing, false-troll-alarming sh!tbarn that is the Reason comment boards was “Danny.”

              Not that it matters.

              1. Obama gets credit for Osama, although it’s not like we just started looking for the guy when he took office.

                He gets nothing for Qball because he ignored Congress and lied about our involvement, not to mention his delay in acting probably prolonged the inevitable ouster and costs more lives than if he had acted sooner.

                The “Universal Health Insurance” claim is laughable on its face.

                1. Ah, a fighting retreat.

                  Too bad you have nowhere to go.

                  1. Credit for Osama my ass. What was he to do, he had no rational choice.

                    Once the intel put the raghead in that compound over 300 people knew it, from CIA, State, White House, Congress, and Pentagon. It wasn’t likely that fact wouldn’t get out, sooner rather than later in an election year.

                    So, the pud does nothing, and it gets out we had him and let him go and he can count out reelection. If he goes in and it’s Black Hawk Down all over again, he can count out reelection. He had to give it a go.

                    I bet the fecker sweat bullets until that Seal Team was safe.

                    1. Well, according to McCain and Romney on the 2008 campaign trail, the option would be to “respect Pakistani sovereignty.” We could have done nothing, and, under a GOP president, maybe we would have.

                      Obama said in 2008 that he would go into Pakistan to get bin Laden, and that is exactly what he did. For me, that alone was worth the price of admission. Just that, and nothing else at all, would suffice.

                    2. [quote=Liberty 4 me but not 4 thee]Well, according to McCain and Romney on the 2008 campaign trail, the option would be to “respect Pakistani sovereignty.” We could have done nothing, and, under a GOP president, maybe we would have[/quote]
                      Do you honestly believe they would have? I mean come on.

                    3. Whatever, Bin Laden has been dead for years.

                    4. ???

                  2. A fighting retreat?

                    I just showed you that your three points are essentially meaningless.

                    Your response is thus? WEAK SAUCE BRO.

              2. What the fuck difference does it make if Osama is dead or alive???

                1. Because it illustrates an important choice: the Bush method of capturing bin Laden (bombing the shit out of random countries) or the Obama method (actually doing it).

                  1. You will never see me defend GWB about anything, especially his warmongering.

          2. GWB expanded Medicare and also ousted a dictator, without paying for them and adding large sums to our debt. You are now lauding Obama for expanding healthcare and ousting a dictator, again in light of dire fiscal straights. Why is one cheer-leader worthy and one isn’t?

            1. KIA Iraq: 4,500+
              KIA Libya: 0.0

              And GWB did not expand coverage to the uninsured. He just juiced up an already-sweet program for the elderly.

              1. How about the civilians? Why are we a party to yet another war?

              2. So bush should have just nuked Iraq and Afghanistan instead of invading with ground troops, he would have been a glorious president?

                1. No Americans have died in Libya, but that’s simply because we’ve let others do the lions share of the fighting. Obama may have called for the air strikes and no-fly zone, but only after the pressure from our NATO allies. If anything, Libya is France and the UK’s far more than it is Obama’s.

                  1. No French or British died, either.

                    DERPDERPDERPDERPDERPDERPDERP!!!!!!!!!!

                    1. I was referring to the ground “troops” – the libyan rebels themselves. NATO provided air support and let an internal civil war take its course.

                2. Whatever President can assassinate/oust the most dictators is the one that will bring the most prosperity to America. DUH.

              3. And GWB did not expand coverage to the uninsured. He just juiced up an already-sweet program for the elderly.

                It was a much sweeter deal for the pharmaceutical companies.

            2. It’s just a good thing Obama invaded Libya. No telling what Qadaffi would have done to the U.S.

          3. legislate universal medical insurance

            Is this the same bill he’s been handing out more waivers for than beers at a frat house keg party?

          4. Oh wow I skimmed your posts and just realized you think Obama is doing a good job. I’m dumb founded at your retarded team blue loyalty but just keep the faith man, the next stimulus will TOTALLY work this time, it would have been much worse right?! RIGHT!?

    2. In 2000, slightly less the 50% of America and five Supreme Court justices decided that it’s okay to have a dimwit president so long as he has his heart in the right place is elected by the election rules in place at the beginning of the election rather than ad hoc election rules made up on the fly in order to give the election to somebody “smarter”.

  12. Rick Perry is a two-faced opportunist faggot cheerleader democrat who ran Texas into massive deficit.

    Anyone who votes for him is a moron.

  13. I’d read Reason more if it’s comments section wasn’t filled with morons.

    Jesus people, debate with arguments and facts, not just ad hominum attacks.

    1. ^THIS^

      …is why I’ve been scarce around here for a while. I keep checking back once in a while, only to find, much like a port-o-john that hasn’t been pumped for too long, that things have not improved and in fact, appear to have gotten even stinkier than they were before; and so I duck back out for a while again…

      1. Don’t let the door spank ya on the way out.

  14. I certainly hope Politico is not somehow insinuating that anyone on the left has “spent his political career marking up the latest Cato or Heritage white papers or reading policy-heavy books late into the night.” Certainly not Madam Speaker Pelosi, who evidences the intelligence level generally associated with a carton of lithic objects.

  15. “Rick Perry’s intelligence isn’t the issue.”
    Thank god for that, because if it was he’d be fucked!

    1. No kidding. With all the hate that Stossel, Bailey, and Moynihan get around here, I really think Harsanyi is the worst. Just 2nd-rate op-ed page drivel.

  16. Ah yes… the cult of personality, it’s much more important than policy.

  17. In the same day, one article at Reason informs us that liberals call people who disagree with them dumb, while another informs us that liberals call people who disagree with them Racist.

    I suggest two news feeds at Reason Libeals say “You’re a Racist” Watch, and Liberals say “You’re Stupid” Watch.

  18. Rick Perry isn’t right about anything.

    I know all you guys don’t buy this argument, what with your well-honed expertise in freshman logic, but if someone believes that rain is a function of prayer and isn’t quite sure whether evolution is true, then you can’t seriously believe he knows anything about economic policy. If you happen to agree with him on that, then one of two things is true: he’s right about a very complex subject purely by accident, or you’re all wrong about economics AND whether prayer causes rain. Occam’s razor?

    1. What do you have against Native Americans?

    2. By your apparent “he can’t be smart because he’s religious” standard, Ron Paul isn’t right about anything, either. He’s a Baptist. For that matter, Isaac Newton obviously doesn’t know squat about calculus or physics, as he was a non-Trinitarian Christian.

      I’m reminded of an atheism-related quote from South Park: “Dawkins knew that logic and reason were the way of the future, but it wasn’t until he met his beautiful wife that he learned using logic and reason isn’t enough. You have to be a dick to everyone who doesn’t think like you.”

      1. Yeah, when Ron Paul is right, it’s by accident. That’s fairly easy when you’re just collapsing all government functions, dragging a few actual abuses down with them.

        I’m aware that people are able to be intelligent while compartmentalizing certain things they want to be irrational about. I’d just hope a president would keep that to a minimum.

        1. I must admit, I didn’t expect you to keep on digging.

          So, you’re seriously of the opinion that if someone holds any religious beliefs, then all other decisions/opinions that they get right are just the equivalent of monkeys with typewriters producing Shakespeare via random keystrokes? Billions of non-atheists are somehow managing to practice medicine, pilot aircraft, write software, and tie our own shoes out of sheer blind luck? And you think (per your reference to Occam’s razor) that such a theory is simpler/requires fewer assumptions than “theists people are on average as smart or stupid as atheists”?

          Funny how Ron Paul, Baptist, was so supremely lucky to get the right mental lottery numbers to be against the welfare state, takings, the Federal Reserve, gun restrictions, and so forth — especially since, if all of those positions are random, they can’t follow from any underlying principles, yet they all *seem* to follow from a belief in property rights.

          There, time for me to hit the “submit” button. Just going to click randomly all over the screen until the mouse pointer just happens to be over it at the right moment…

          1. I must admit, I didn’t expect you to keep on digging.

            You must not know me very well.

            So, you’re seriously of the opinion that if someone holds any religious beliefs, then all other decisions/opinions that they get right are just the equivalent of monkeys with typewriters producing Shakespeare via random keystrokes?

            That would be a pretty high standard if we’re talking about presidents. No you can be religious (or claim to be) and be smart. I do think the smartest tend to be atheists, and I want the president to be one of the smartest. But that’s wishful thinking.

            Right now I’m content excluding, as much as possible, religious zealots like Perry and Bachmann, even if they are only claiming to be religious zealots. Not good!

            if all of those positions are random, they can’t follow from any underlying principles

            They’re never random, especially when chained to “underlying principles.” Not what I’m saying. I’m saying they’re wrong about the underlying principles and thus are only right by sheer accident.

            1. I do think the smartest tend to be atheists, and I want the president to be one of the smartest. But that’s wishful thinking.

              Given the track records, I’ll take, for example, the economic policies of a religious Reagan or Thatcher vs. those of an atheist Lenin or Mao, any day. Anyone who starts with “thou shalt not steal” and sticks with it, can’t help but be a laisse-faire capitalist.

              And in my experience, the correlation goes more like “atheists tend to *think* they’re smarter, whether or not that’s true.”

              As to the rest, you haven’t answered the question of how, if a non-atheist’s choices are “only right by sheer accident”, so many millions of us survive the 50/50 chance of which side of the road to drive on to work each morning, much less get anything worthwhile done.

    3. Christ, enough of the evolution shit. If Darwin could come back and peer into an electron microscope he’d wear a bag over his head.

  19. you can’t seriously believe he knows anything about economic policy.

    If he can do basic math, he’s miles ahead of where you stand.

    1. If he believes that tax cuts increase revenue, then he can’t do basic math.

      1. If he believes that tax cuts increase revenue, then he can’t do basic math.

        And if you believe free lunches are a revenue-generating activity, then neither do you.

        1. I believe there are no free lunches, so there.

          1. I believe there are no free lunches, so there.

            Please–your whole philosophy revolves around giving lunches to people who did nothing to earn them.

            1. Like the children of wealthy people?

              1. Of course Tony, there are no free lunches. But who says the person receiving said lunch is the one paying for it?

                1. When we’re talking about children whose parents can’t afford lunches, it’s good if someone else is paying for it, since starving children are bad. Derr. Badder than the wealthy parents being taxed.

                  1. In other words ends justify the means eh? You won’t mind getting mugged on the street as long as that money taken from you is used for good?

                    And now let’s suppose they keep half for themselves. Still ok. Actually more like 99% since they need to send out kickbacks and pork to their buddies too. It’s not easy getting a job where you make 6 figures stealing from people in the name of the poor. Most jobs you have to actually work and shit.

                    All this by the way in a country where people were more than willing to feed the hungry without being forced to and have been doing so.

                    So now you’re being robbed, with only a tiny percentage going to the poor, and its not so much to prevent starvation, since someone else was already handling that, but to let them buy fancy steaks and shit instead of soup.

                    But it’s good since starving children are bad.

                    1. Ends don’t always justify means, but when the means is taxation and the ends is preventing starvation among children, yes it most certainly is justified.

                      Claiming that charity alone will handle it is to hugely burden private entities like churches and to believe in fantasy. And the beauty of actual redistribution is it’s not charity. The goal is to make people upwardly mobile, not treat them like pitiable underlings.

                    2. God forbid there was a stigma associated with not supporting your own children. Specifically the “unfair” stigma of being someone who does exactly what you fucking are doing–living on handouts rather than earning a living for yourself.

                      And the beauty of actual redistribution is how it makes people dependent.

                      And what the hell do you think churches do all week? 300 billion a year is given to charity in this country. with a “B”. They have to go to foreign countries to find people who actually need their help.

                    3. Why exactly do the children deserve the stigma? Not to mention the hunger…

                      And if churches aren’t overburdened in this country, maybe that’s because we take care of our poor through public means.

                    4. I don’t need to prove children should suffer stigma. You’re the one arguing the government should use force to tax and imprison those who don’t pay up, in order to protect nothing more than someone’s feelings.

                      And you’re just embarrassing yourself by assuming charity is negligible. Donate and volunteer that much eh?

  20. Has southern drawl. Ergo stupid. What more proof do you need?

  21. I agree Red Rocks Rockin.

  22. Rick Perry!!!!…

    is the new Matt Damon…

    in my mind at least.

    1. And Tony!!!…

      the new Sean Penn…

      perhaps?

  23. I think smart very important,but work hard important, too!

  24. In a country of over 300 million, forgive me if I feel I have the right to expect an entire slate of stellar candidates who are both smart AND right. Instead…

  25. Ha ha. Look at Harsanyi try to wave away the intellectual qualifications of an asshole who prays rather than reads.

    An understandable move only inside Reason, that tabernacle where faith in divinely perfect markets runs rampant – markets that have devastated society every time they were allowed to be unregulated.

    No, don’t get up. Stay on your knees.

    Ha ha.

  26. Perry will win just like Obama and every other president has by telling the people what they want to hear. Perry’s so called intelligence is finding out what issues stir the emotions of the American Public and promise them he is the solution to the problems America has. The average American citizen will eat it up hook , line, and sinker. The Democrats have lost this year most likely because of Obama. But hey that was the plan all along. Last election was all about who the fall guy was. And it turns out his name was Obama. Let the Democrat guy go in and win because we know he couldn’t possibly fix any damage done. In turn the public view of Democrats is ‘toast’and they will be voting republican or for that matter anything not involved with the Democratic Party. Come on people these guys are just basically used car salesmen conning you all. The presidential race isn’t about about becoming president. It is a bunch off bored rich guys who have nothing else to do but try and win a popularity contest.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.