Monday, December 22, 2008

An end to anti-intellectualism in politics?

Writing on The Daily Beast, Peter Beinart suggests that anti-intellectualism - first deployed by Richard Nixon and perfected by Ronald Reagan - may no longer be a powerful weapon for the Republicans:
But if Reagan burnished the anti-intellectual brand, Bush has now wrecked it. Sometime between the catastrophe in Iraq, the catastrophe in New Orleans and the catastrophe on Wall Street, Americans decided that people who didn’t know much about government weren’t likely to run it very well.

Back in 2000, when Bush stumbled and fumbled his way through interviews and debates, his approval ratings stayed high. When Sarah Palin did the same this year, however, her popularity sunk like a stone. In September and October, when John McCain couldn’t talk fluently about the financial crisis, his campaign crashed and burned.

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