Memo To GOP Contenders:
Don’t Provoke The Willfully Ignorant
– by David Matthews 2
I have a really simple message to the GOP wannabes in Georgia.
You know that Internet saying of “Don’t feed the trolls”?
Well the same applies to Georgia’s willfully ignorant.
You know who I’m talking about, right? All of those people that hate thinkers and hate thinking. The ones that didn’t make it past high school… if that. The ones that hold a special kind of disgust for higher education and for those that were able to attend it and actually get the sheepskin. The ones that scrambled to support Chick-fil-A and “Duck Dynasty” when they cried “persecution” like a child not getting that extra ice cream scoop. The ones that should be wearing the “I’m With Stupid” tee-shirts with the arrow pointing up.
You know… the ones that really like Sarah Palin and think she’s the greatest woman to have ever existed and “goddamn those who think otherwise!”
Yeah, you know those folks. Just pop into your nearest Wal-Mart if you need a refresher.
Well, the GOP here in Georgia really need to be careful about aggravating them.
I know that’s hard sometimes, because they’re really easily offended. They have really thin skins. Sometimes all you have to do is show them a globe, or say the word “evolution”, or bring up the historical fact that they lost the Civil War. (They’re really sensitive about that last part.)
Or sometimes it’s reminding them that you have something that they don’t.
David Perdue made that mistake recently. He’s the cousin of former Governor Sonny Perdue, and he thinks that his business experience (along with his family’s political connections, wink-wink) will make him the ideal person to replace outgoing Senator Saxby Chambliss.
Perdue likes to brag about his resume. He likes to mention that he turned a few companies around and made them profitable. He likes to tout the fact that he’s a supposed “outsider” going up against a field of career politicians that have done nothing to fix what is wrong with the country.
But then Perdue screwed up. Apparently he made the comment that one of those other contenders really isn’t qualified to be senator because she doesn’t have a college degree.
Bad move, Mister Perdue.
You do know that there is no educational requirement to be a United States Senator, right Mister Perdue? Go ahead and pull out your little pocket edition of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution and go over Article I and all of the Amendments pertaining to the qualification of U.S. Senators and you’ll find there’s no mention at all of education. You can have the IQ of a twig and still be qualified as long as you’re over thirty and a resident of the state you represent. (Don’t tell me you don’t have one of those little “Pocket Constitution” things, Mister Perdue. All good little GOP members wave them around nowadays like bibles.)
Then there’s the candidate that he tried to “disqualify” in his comments. Karen Handel may be a career politician, but she’s also a favorite of the anti-abortion crowd, not to mention the willfully ignorant. And apparently she’s also a friend of Alaska’s former governor and failed VP nominee Sarah Palin, who has been endorsing her since Handel tried to run for governor in 2010. Oh, and she knows how to play the “poor victim” card too.
Put those things together, Mister Perdue, and what do you get? You get a rapid-fire retort from Governor Palin that is so jam-packed with anti-intellectual buzzwords and catchphrases that I’m honestly surprised that nobody in the background shouted “Word Yahzee” when it was over.
Not only was the take-down so anti-intellectual that it became pro-retarded, Mister Perdue, but it also made you look like an effete elite intellectual snob when it was done.
I think the word that you’re looking for here, Mister Perdue, is “Ouch!”
Now let’s get brutally honest here… if you are a GOP contender, then you really should not be pointing out the ignorance of the willfully ignorant, especially here in Georgia, for several reasons.
First, because the willfully ignorant do that all by themselves. In fact they’re really very good at it. Look at all of the people that think that pre-historic man used to ride atop dinosaurs simply because they saw it on a cartoon called “The Flintstones”, or still believe that the sun revolves around the Earth. Like I said earlier, it sometimes just takes showing them a globe.
Second, as Mister Perdue found out the hard way, when you use your education to go after those without one, it opens you up the counter-attack that you are an effete elite intellectual snob; automatically lumping you in with the most liberal of liberals like Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. You know how cons and neo-cons despise the Clintons and Obama? It’s not just their policies; it’s also their pedigree.
Third, and the most critical of reasons, is because the anti-intellectuals are also essentially the GOP’s base. These are the people you need to suck up to, Mister Perdue. They’re the ones that will show up at the polling place come primary time, especially when they feel “obligated”. And it doesn’t take much for them to feel “obligated”. Just look at what they did concerning Chick-fil-A and “Duck Dynasty”.
Making matters worse, Mister Perdue then actually called Ms. Handel up to apologize for his comment.
I know common sense says that this is the right thing to do, but in the world of GOP politics this is actually the wrong thing. Cons and neo-cons, which dominate the GOP, consider an apology to be a sign of weakness.
Cons and neo-cons do not apologize. Ever. Even when they are wrong. Even when they know that they are wrong, their egos will not allow themselves to recognize it. They will instead double-down on their original assertion, no matter how asinine it may be.
There is a way that Perdue could have salvaged that thread if he didn’t apologize. He could have pointed out that Ms. Handel attended two colleges but never finished them, like a “certain senator” in Illinois that started but never finished his first term before running for President. Or, for that matter, a “certain governor” in Alaska who quit in the middle of her first term after her failed VP run. He could question Handel’s commitment to “follow through” on something. He could have even questioned Governor Palin’s hokey anti-intellectualist attitude as being part of the problem with the GOP of late and as to why they’ve been losing political ground. All of that was thrown out the window with his display of what is essentially political cowardice.
I understand that Mister Perdue wants to be different than the other GOP contenders. He wants to stand out as someone that could actually get things done. That’s commendable. Unfortunately for him, the people that would really appreciate that are usually not the ones that show up at the ballot box for the GOP primary. The ones that usually vote in the primaries are more like the people that listen to Sarah Palin and Karen Handel than they do the voices of reason.
And that is one case of ignorance that could seriously affect Georgia’s voice in Washington.