Palin Dumb?

Rush Limbaugh is an astute observer of the American cultural scene. That’s part of the reason for his success. Limbaugh is very good at reading the subtext, the unspoken but solid beliefs of groups.

Limbaugh commented today that even some conservatives are eager to throw Sarah Palin under the bus. He said that it’s an easy way to signal that one belongs to the intellectual tribe, irrespective of political leaning. I think he is right.

I am unquestionably an intellectual myself (although not a falsely humble one, obviously). If you don’t believe me, Google me or activate the link to my (incomplete) vita on this blog. By the way, my intellectual production is in two languages and I read perfectly in a third. So, go ahead, inform yourself and weep!

Here is y contribution to the issue of Governor Palin’s utter intellectual unacceptability. I taught in a MBA program in Silicon Valley for 23 years. Some would say that it was in a second-tier school and I would not argue much about this judgment. Nevertheless, those who graduate from the program have a good reputation in the area. Almost all students were working professionals. Almost all students were in their late twenties and early thirties. Half or more were female.

Though I retired in 2006, I have vivid recollections of – and a few nightmares about – female students’ performances in that program. Here is my comparative assessment of Sarah Palin based on this experience. My assessment is subjective, of course, like all others but it has the merit of being based on an explicit comparison set. That’s more than anyone else can say, I think. So, here it is: In terms of intelligence, Palin would have been easily in the top half of any of my MBA classes. In terms of general level of contemporary information, of general culture, if you will, Governor Plain would have easily been in the top 10% of female students.

If the latter sounds like a gratuitously sexist statement, ask yourself the question below and force yourself to answer it:

When was the last time you saw a woman of any age reading a newspaper? Do you personally know of any woman who regularly watches the news or listens to the news? Think of wife, sister, daughter, roommate, former roommate, former wife, sweetheart. Don’t excuse yourself just because you are female, please!

Here you go: Palin is much better than average in all the respects where I can judge. I can’t say the same of most politicians. Can you?

Since when do we ask politicians to be exceptionally intelligent and super-informed? Please, tell me. I did not notice.


About Jacques Delacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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6 Responses to Palin Dumb?

  1. Meredith says:

    I am female, and I read the news every day. I get my news from a variety of papers including The New York Time, The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, and occasionally The Economist and the Wall Street Journal (when I can get the content free).

    I work in a predominantly female office where women actually read the news. Shocking! Granted, there is the occasional People Magazine(Barf!) that shows up in the break room, but for the most part, I feel we have an informed staff.

    When asked to name one source where she gets her news during her notorious interview with Couric, Palin couldn’t give a single, specific example. This is the top 10% of your class?

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Meredith: Thanks for answering. Thanks to you, I know one woman who reads the news. I did not say there were not any obviously. It’s just very rare. Or, possibly, women just don’t do it in public. That’s a possibility but I don’t see why.

      It was not my intent to engage in an exchange about Palin’s brains. I think people who despise her do so for reasons that have nothing to do with reason.

      Nevertheless, since you tempt me: Palin flunked miserably at the trap set by Couric. I would have also. I could not, in particular, have answered off the top of my head the question about the “Bush Doctrine.” Honestly, would you ave been able to? And do you think Couric herself would have answered correctly – still from the top of her head – if she had been asked?

      I think Palin would have been a good vice-president, not a good president (and there is a problem, right there, of course, because of the succession order). She has much more experience at running things than the Democratic candidate for president had. He, by the way, still has not achieved anything difficult. Until recently, it was possible to think that he had pulled of the despicable – but admittedly difficult – health care bill. It looks now that it was all Pelosi’s achievement. He might do something decisive about schoolyard bullying but he is frozen in placeon the events in the Arab world.

      For this conservative, all the president’s achievements are about things he might have done and did not. I wonder what those who elected him brag about these days. I can’t find the answer in the liberal media, aside from health care reform (see above).

      Thanks, I feel better!

  2. Doods says:

    Thanks for this funny but brilliant insight.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Thanks but I don’t think it’s brilliant. It’s common sense but the Palin rage has gotten so that common sense has been lost.

  3. Meredith says:

    Honestly, I would not have been able to answer the question about the Bush Doctrine off the top of my head, either. I generally understood his policies, but I didn’t know until that interview that they been given the name The Bush Doctrine.

    However, how is asking what you read a trap? It is not a trap. It is a simple question. If you do not have an answer, I have to assume that your memory is so poor that you can’t remember the last thing you read, or you don’t read.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Asking what you read is not a trap. Not being able to answer during an interview does not imply that one does not read anything. A savvy politician who does not read anything would probably have been able to say: “The New York Times,” or some other stock answer. The Palin interview you refer to simply shows that Palin was not ready to be interviewed, by an enemy and possibly by anyone. That’s not a good sign for a candidate. It does not show she is stupid.

      Your original statement piled up accusations against a at least, “the Bush Doctrine.” Then, why include it in your statement? This is a real question. It has to do with intellectual etiquette.

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