It's the devolution of the Republican Presidential Candidate. "I'm a leader not a reader!" shouts Herman Cain to an adoring, cheering public.
Herman Cain's campaign is fighting back hard against the impression of him being uninformed onthe subject of international policy by dismissing the need to be. But instead of issuing a press release or taking an interview where he can produce a soundbite on the subject, he takes it to a new level and makes it into the slogan of a rousing campaign speech.
'I'm stupid! I'm uniformed on international politics! I don't need to know anything about it! Someone else will do all that hard work! Nine Nine Nine!" [I think it was Jon Stewart who had a clip of Cain actually saying that in response to a question about his Libya response].
Only problem (well I guess depending on your perspective) is that he appears to have plagiarized his new slogan from President Arnold Schwarzegger on The Simpsons cartoon TV show.
Here is the Republican race to the bottom illustrated in a microcosm of five minutes. The anti-intellectualism started by George W. Bush, was 'seen' by Sarah Palin and raised by Herman Cain. The standard-bearers of the Republican party, vying for the Republican nomination, are jockeying to be the stupider, folksier, less-informed candidate who thirty years later make Ronald Reagan look like an intellectual giant. Eviscerate out schools? Bring it on!
And what is perhaps saddest about this whole situation is not that everybody seems to know that the Republican candidates are in a competition to be the stupidest, but this is now a valid subject of conversation, taking up serious time on a serious TV news show. Debating, that yes, indeed the President does need to read things! This is now a question that needs answering.
Watch how Chris Matthews and his guests laugh and chortle about Herman Cain, but yet how this doesn't diminish his standing as serious Republican contender one bit. (sorry about the 30 sec. commercial I can't edit out).
And Rick Perry, whose candidacy should have been buried with an epitaph saying 1, 2,....oops!, is back on the trail (after self-deprecating appearances on David Letterman), stands back up and serioulsly criticizes President Obama for being too smart, trying to 'do' foreign diplomacy by out-'smarting' everyone else in the room. The only defense left, for someone who can't remember more than two things at once. Didn't we already go through the dumb Presidency, didn't we suffer through it for eight years, doesn't everyone remember how badly that turned out?
The Republican presidential candidate field is like the Ascent Of Man graphic, in reverse, from upright homo sapiens to knuckle dragging ape. The Republican candidates have all, every one, become a laughingstock. They have taken anti-intellectualism to new lows. Sadly, they probably haven't hit bottom yet and we can only imagine what may follow.