The Harperization of the Republican presidential field

Voters eventually turned to candidates with legislative experience–or at least an MD


In Iowa, the sideshow carneys had a bad night. This continues a robust losing streak for candidates who seemed to believe that a mavericky attitude could substitute for book larnin’ and legislative experience in their quest for the presidency. Herman Cain and Sarah Palin didn’t even make it this far; Michele Bachmann is now toast; Rick Perry will not be in it much longer.

The survivors are a former moderate Massachussetts governor; a former two-term Senator and two-term Representative who actually did some legislating while he was in the legislative branch; a 20-year Representative and former House Speaker who’s written or co-written 23 books, some memorable; and Ron Paul, who’s an eccentric or worse but who got his MD at Duke University and who captures votes in chronically under-served corners of American conservatism, like foreign-policy isolationism.

I make no great claims for Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Paul. It’s a very conservative field, well to the right of the party’s 1996, 2000 and 2008 nominees. But my point is, they’re not blithering idiots, and yet in recent months they spent a lot of time trailing candidates who were. The Iowa caucus-goers, pursuing a rickety and outmoded process in the dead of winter in the middle of nowhere, have served up to Republican strategists a handy reminder that voters care about competence, can spot its absence, and punish its lack. 

This should surprise Canadian conservatives less than anyone. Stephen Harper is custom-designed to be disliked by liberals and social-democrats, but he has a decent education and is obviously really smart. Under him, Canadian conservatism has continued nearly 20 years of momentum, which stalled only when the movement’s most conservative wing wrested control of its main party from Preston Manning and gave it to Stockwell Day, who was not obviously really smart.

Within Harper’s entourage — both paid political staff and within his caucus — fairly standard tests of intelligence and real-world experience determine who rises. So his chiefs of staff have been a political scientist, a blue-chip lawyer and a Bay Street money guy. The average level of formal educational attainment in his PMO has at least matched that of his predecessors’ shops. Dumb people sometimes get cabinet posts, hardly a new development in Canadian politics, but the ones who rise have, disproportionately, been the ones who weren’t dumb.

I raise all this because it was surprising to see a few Canadian Conservatives grumble on Twitter in recent months that the dreaded Liberal media was being mean to good solid folks like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. But it’s important to recognize dumb for what it is, and to understand it cannot do a political leader any good over the long run. There’s a deep anti-intellectual vein running through much of what Harper does — his attacks on Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff, his know-nothing crime policy — but that’s not the same as saying he’s not thoughtful or that thoughtfulness has no place in his Conservatism.


The Harperization of the Republican presidential field

  1. The real test for conservatism to come in Canada though, will be how successful the party’s leadership is in fending of their dumb base. Republicans have been losing that battle handily.

    • I really don’t understand why this has become an article of faith for so many. The Republicans are on track to nominate the second-most moderate, and most electable (based on match-up polls) contender. Nor has Romney had to bend over all that much to the base to get there. He is running on middle class tax cuts, vague commitments to balance the budget, and has defended Romneycare. 

      Even the “crazy” base is not indifferent to the electability of their preferred plans. “Can defeat Obama” was the candidate quality identified most often by Iowa voters in 2012. 

      • With how narrowly Romney won Iowa, and that was with Bachmann in the race, thus draining off some of the “crazy” vote from other candidates, I’m not sure how much strength your argument has.

        Not that it’s necessarily wrong.. I just don’t know that it’s very strong.

        • Yeah but Iowa is the conservative caucus, in which Romney barely campaigned and Santorum, Paul, Bachmann and Perry had invested heavily. Moreover Bachmann only accounted for 6% of the vote.

          If you look at intrade, a political futures market, Romney winning is seen as 83% likely to happen (http://www.intrade.com/v4/markets/contract/?contractId=652757). Alternately fivethirtyeight’s projection model has similarly rosy numbers for him in NH and SC (http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/). 

          If you look at the polls in New Hampshire he has a double-digit lead over Ron Paul. In South Carolina, another conservative caucus state, he leads as well. Michigan is one of his three de facto home states, in Nevada he has the Mormon vote, and nobody else is committing resources in Florida.

          What is more, after that, you have super Tuesday, in which a number of states vote in tandem. Paul and Romney are the only viable campaigns with either, and Paul’s foreign policy views have thus far prevented him from making any headway. I vast vast vast preponderance of evidence suggests that this is Romney’s to lose. 

          • Ah! Fair enough then. I know I don’t follow US politics at all, only catching tidbits that I see around here and a couple of other places. Given that additional information, it does seem that you may be right.

            I see a number of news programs though running around and interviewing republican people at the debates and primaries and reporting a lot of, “the field simply isn’t very strong” anecdotes though. Given the stats you’ve provided, I’m assuming that’s more the news looking for a story than any real reflection of the general party’s inclinations.

  2. What about Huntsman – how do you explain his failure? 

    • I don’t think it’s a linear thing, where the smartest person must defeat all others. I think it’s more like a sign at an amusement park, “Must Be This Tall To Ride.” Huntsman is a complete unknown to most adult Americans. He’s not a galvanizing speaker. There’s plenty of reasons why he’d have a hard time punching through, despite his evident intelligence. 

      • One of the GOP candidates, not blithering, according to Mr. Wells.  Guess which one:

        “Needlin’, a new form of racial terrorism has struck New York City streets on the tony Upper West Side. At least 39 white women have been struck with used hypodermic needles — perhaps infected with AIDS — by gangs of black girls between the ages of 12 and 14.”

        • Another non blithering (according to Wells) GOP candidate:

          “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?”

          I could go on.

          • “I could go on. ”

            Yeah, you could spend all day writing quotes that Ron Paul never said. Good for you.

            I’ll bet you might even make time to talk about Santorum’s dead child.

            Anyway, let’s try some quotes said by a famous individual:

            “It was also interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There’s a lot of — I don’t know what the term is in Austrian, wheeling and dealing.”

            “I’ve now been in 57 states — I think one left to go.”

            “We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad.”

          • Those are just slips of the tongue – everyone knows Obama is the greatest orater/genius the world has seen since Clinton.  When Bush made dumb statements it was because he was a drunk marionette and the strings in Cheney’s hands got tangled.  Of course.
            BTW, are you the same as s_c_f, or just someone with a deceptively similar name and worldview?

          • Yeah, I’m the same, I ended up with a second disqus account through a migration from a pre-existing non-disqus account elsewhere. Most of the time I stick to my original disqus account.

        • It’s almost like you don’t follow links. 

          • It is more as though you have redefined “to blither” so it doesn’t apply to GOP candidates.

          • In fairness, he’s using Stephen Kyoto is a socialist scheme to regulate a substance essential to life Harper as his standard for “not blithering”.

      • He also worked for Obama as Ambassador to China and wrote glowing comments about Obama. That will not make too many Republicans happen with him. That’s why among other things he only got 1% of the vote in Iowa. He is going nowhere in a hurry.

    • He said ‘all the dumb get culled’ , not ‘all the experienced survive’. These are logically different propositions.

      • Assuming they were arrived at logically.

  3. I’m beginning to think you have a man-crush on Harper. Or are you just testing out conceptual chapter headings?

    • I believe it is testing out conceptual chapter headings. There is some confusion involved in this article!

  4. A thoughtful post.  One quibble, for the sake of argument.  I’m not sure there’s an “anti-intellectual” vein that explains a crime bill disliked by academics and attacking hapless opposition leaders who used to be professors as hapless professors.  It could be coincidence. 

    Concerning the crime bill, the debate is broadly framed as whether it will make the streets safer, and whether it is too expensive.  The principles of sentencing extend beyond rehabilitation.  There is punishment and denunciation as well, and a lot of voting Canadians obviously reasonably believe that, whatever the efficacy of the current sentences, something is lacking.  That’s a reasonable belief, and isn’t necessarily anti-intellectual.  It might be anti-criminologist, to the extent that the criminologists lay people read about in the press appear rehabilitation-focussed. 

    Concerning professors, I think the attacks were opportunisitic.  The attacks on Dion focussed on his inability to communicate: body language, spoken language (“do you think it’s easy to set priorities?”), and a complex policy proposal that required a lot of communication to succeed.  The attacks on Ignatieff focussed on his being a parvenue/carpetbagger, made plain by trying to hide being an elite with rolled up shirt sleeves and hot dogs.  Had he run as a real Trudeau and embraced his cosmopolitanism as a strength, I’m not sure the Tory attacks would have been pursued with the same vigour. 

    • Actually, it’s not a reasonable belief at all. It’s an irrational belief, about as reasonable as the belief that the earth is flat, or that heavier things fall faster than lighter things — ie, almost completely divorced from the facts.

      And since you weren’t paying attention, Ignatieff *did* embrace his cosmopolitanism, and when he did so, the CPC attacked him for being out of touch with the people who lived in Canada.

      • I think you’re missing matt’s point.  He is simply stating that the crime bill is not about safety but rather retribution against criminals.  It is certainly not unreasonable to believe that humans have base instincts that put such motives in play.  Indeed once you have met two conditions (1) label and dehumanize the criminal and (2) get the upper hand, why on earth would be stop at retribution.  You annihilate the f’n SOBs!
        The Conservatives are hardly the first to recognize the widespread appeal of that sequence, indeed it is prevalent in both Hollywood & the gaming industry.  The difference is the Conservatives are applying it to real people.

        • But wouldn’t an appeal to base instinct, contrary to available expert evidence, be anti-intellectual in itself? 

          • Yes. They know who votes for them, and set their policies accordingfly.

        • Ah, except that he said Canadians have a reasonable belief that that is lacking.

          While it’s reasonable to believe that we do have such instincts, what is unreasonable to believe is that the application of those instincts in our justice system are either lacking or are in any way improved by this crime bill.

          • Your second paragraph isn’t clear to me.  Let me see if I can help a little.

            My point was that there are multiple principles of sentencing, not just rehabilitation of criminals.  These principles are written into the Criminal Code.  They include:
            -to denounce unlawful conduct; -to deter the offender and other persons from committing offences; -to separate offenders from society, where necessary; -to assist in rehabilitating offenders; -to provide reparations for harm done to victims or the community; and, -to promote a sense of responsibility in offenders, and acknowledgement of the harm done to victims and the community. Here is a link to a backgrounder on them (issued in 2005): http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2005/doc_31690.html

            My earlier post tries to say that the Tory crime bill reflects sentencing principles other than rehabilitation (such as denunciation), and that tweaking the balance between those principles in the circumstances contemplated by the crime bill is reasonable given that the issue was front and centre during the election and the Tories received a majority.

          • You need to read the first paragraph of that backgrounder. 

          • My point is that those sentencing principles are not in any way positively affected by the Tory crime bill, because typical sentences are longer than the minimums imposed, and where they are not, it is often for good reason — such as the grandmother sending a couple grams of her legally grown marijuana to a friend who was starting to suffer from the same type of pain she was suffering from.  Under the new law, she would be guilty of trafficking and subject to a minimum 1 year in prison, for an action that most of society would not suggest should be denunciated.

            Additionally, while previously defence attorneys were aware that arguing for less than precedence was unlikely to succeed, now they have written law to back them in requesting sentencing that is *less harsh* than that generally established by precedent.

            So what this means is that it is unreasonable to believe that the Tory crime bill is good in *any* fashion other than news bites.  It doesn’t help with rehabilitation, it doesn’t help with denunciation. It is unlikely to make streets any safer since police or prosecuting attorneys will likely be loathe to bring charges against people who are committing borderline crimes, and hardened criminals have a baseline of sentencing to go for that is lower than what they would have likely received previously.  It’s a failure in pretty much every respect than fodder for a gullible base who doesn’t actually examine the facts..  so it’s very much like heavier things falling faster than light things. Unreasonable.

          • 1. JanBC: no, I don’t.  The first paragraph describes flexible sentencing and reliance on judicial discretion in the context of a Criminal Code that contains minimum sentences, and a Charter that provides protection against minimum sentences that are grossly disproportionate to particular circumstances.  Bill C-10 will add minimum sentences and increase the length of existing minimum sentences for offences relating to sexual offences against children and drugs.  Yes, there will be more minimum sentences.  But that’s not new to the system.  Judicial discretion will continue to be relied upon and the Charter will continue to provide the same protection.  With respect, any suggestion that Bill C-10 will make the first paragraph an inaccurate description of Canadian sentencing principles is overdamatic.
            2. Thwim: your argument opposes minimum sentences generally based on fears that they will create sentences that are too harsh and too soft.  This ignores the facts that a) minimum sentences have been part of the Criminal Code since 1892, b) prosecutorial discretion and the Charter *currently* apply to avoid the too soft / too hard extreme examples you allude to, and c) the new minimum sentences are carefully targeted to specific offences and aggravating circumstances.

            I suggest you review the Library of Parliament’s legislative summary of Bill C-10.  It expresses some of your concerns, but places them in context.  I think the most helpful links are here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Parliament/LegislativeSummaries/bills_ls.asp?ls=c10&Parl=41&Ses=1&source=library_prb&Language=E and here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Parliament/LegislativeSummaries/bills_ls.asp?ls=c10-04&Parl=41&Ses=1&source=library_prb&Language=E

  5. Churchill ~ The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter

    What I like best about Churchill quote is that it points out that everyone is crazy once you scratch the surface. Anyone can seem sane if you talk to them for a minute or two but once you start digging down, we all start to fly our freak flags.

    One of the things I like about American system is how Congress/Presidential candidates aren’t beholden to their political party and election process forces them to expose their oddness and then voters get to decide which nutter they prefer. Canadian MPs are just as peculiar as any other human but our system lets them hide it behind caucus solidarity. 

    All Republican candidates for president are quite accomplished but Wells, and his liberal chums, make it seem like Cain et al. didn’t graduate high school and are missing half their teeth. Cain has done significantly more in his professional life than any one at Maclean’s has achieved and yet the mag’s editors/Weinman felt comfortable calling the black guy an American idiot a few weeks ago. What’s that about? 

    For many years, I have believed one of the problems facing Liberal Party is how many liberals are in msm. Cons and NDP don’t have nearly as many sycophants in msm as Liberals do, Lib party never faces serious dissent or criticism and has become slothful. Cons and NDP vigorous because they face constant criticism and are evolving while Libs are more like jabba hutt/vicky pollard.

    • Could it be that Cain’s numerically challenged 9-9-9 plan lead to viewing him as an idiot.

      • Idiot?  He has an undergrad degree in mathematics, a master in computer science, worked as a ballistics expert for the military (very math intensive), became Chairman of the Fed (KC), was an extremely successful businessman.

        When Chretien and the Liberals were in power we conservatives didn’t have to make stuff up to justify hating him.  We didn’t have to weave airy-fairy narratives as there was plenty to criticize.  Same with Obama.  

        Are Cain and the rest of the GOP so invincibly awesome that you have to make stuff up to get your digs in?     

        • Did you actually read the comment. It said the silly 9-9-9 plan may explain why he was VIEWED like an idiot. I didn’t say he was one.

        • He may be a smart man, but he was politically clueless. Then again, that didn’t stop Bush from getting elected… twice. Americans like dumbass; maybe it’s the sexual harrassment that did him in.

    • Boring, boring Arsenal…

      Sorry, off topic, but I just couldn’t help myself.  Stand up for the champions!

      • I am pleased with ‘the champions’ today because I have Ba and Taylor in my fantasy football team. 

    • I really like this whole comment Tony – especially the part referring to the MSM. I can remember 2 months after Mulroney won his first mandate – they set themselves up as the unofficial opposition – deadened Liberal thinking & initiatives for 4 years and ensured the PCs a second term.

    • Sorry, you don’t get to crap all over my work for a year and then help write my book. 

      • Damn. I once touched greatness, and it rejected me.

        Say, did I ever tell you about the time I approached the NCC in Calgary to help me fight an issue against the NDP gov’t in BC – they banned me from filing FOI requests for one year. Well, as I was meeting with David Sommerville (then outgoing Pres) he said they were too busy with other matters – and pointed to an anti-Wheat Board campaign underway, supporting a farmer in Sask or Manitoba – can’t recall.

        So, when I asked him where my file was – he said the new guy “Stephen Harper” was reviewing my correspondence.  Looks like in hindsight it was the model for thwarting FOI requests at the Fed level.

        – Ya, you can quote me.

  6.  “the dreaded Liberal media”
     I was unaware that there was a hair styling code for the left wing communos

     What is the designated coif of the Conservative media?

      • *oil ethically produced

    • Crazy bald heads?

  7. How smart can Harper (and Flaherty) be when he wants to pursue the very same economic policies that have destroyed the US middle class? Or is it that he wants to wreck government on an ideological basis. That would explain Giorno.

    • I think you have it.  They believe in the John Snobelen dictum of “creating a ‘useful’ crisis.”  This leads to an environment where the Conservatives can bring in their extreme solutions (to the crises they fomented in the first place, of course).

      • Tell me what is extreme. Extreme is in the eye of the beholder. Everybody rails about the crime bill. On the other hand the lefties and the experts tell us crime is falling. If that is true then doesn’t it follow that there will be fewer criminals to send to jail. The point is not whether crime is falling. It is whether those that are convicted of crimes are punished appropriately for that crime.

        • The point is not whether crime is falling. It is whether those that are convicted of crimes are punished appropriately for that crime.

          Uhhh, shouldn’t we also maybe try to KEEP CRIME FALLING? 

          Surely even people who appreciate the retributive aspects of the crime bill must at least  be given pause by arguments that some aspects of it could actually lead to an increase in crime.

          • I hear this argument that some aspects could actually lead to an increase in crime. How so? If the criminal is in jail he cannot repeat the criminal activity that he probably has been committing for many years.
            To me this is not a very convincing argument. Time will tell. The fact is Canadians do not believe that the criminal justice system is tough enough on the criminal element. Building more basketball courts or excusing bad behaviour because of a person’s upbringing are not acceptable excuses.

          • Well, the American approach has produced a higher rate of recidivism, that is the danger.   

          • What you Liberals and your nanny state approach do not get is that it is all about personal responsibility and choices. If these criminals keep wanting to commit crimes against innocent people they are going to do the time. I agree that prisons are terrible places and I sure as heck would not want to be locked up in one of them. In essence what you are saying is that despite being locked up and the terrible experience that is these people are not smart enough to know that they need to change their ways.

          • hollinm appears to be addicted to the stone age concept that if you lock some one up with their own pisspot and a homicidal cell mate or three you’ll be so sh*t scared you’ll vow never ever to be a bad boy again. The only possible way this could work would be if we revisited stone age justice methods and had miscreants hanging around on gibbets and on racks.
            Current research shows that habitual criminals don’t think rationally, aren’t detered at all by longer sentences. The death penalty in the US is a case in point – very few of the kind of people[ law abiding] who would be scared of a death penalty commit murders. There is no causal link between a slack penal system and a higher crime rate. It is almost certainly dependent on demographics.
            Not to say we shouldn’t tighten up on truly dangerous individuals – i have a kid, i don’t want them out on the street without some real assurance they wont hurt others.
            A crack down on crime – particularly marginal youth crime without adequate rehab is just an exercise in self indulgent, middle class sancitmony.

          • Of course only enlightened Liberals like you understand the criminal justice system and the impact of tougher sentencing.
            The fact is these sentences that are being proposed are for the habitual, hardened, violent criminal elements that populate society and keep repeating their crimes.
            You can demean my position if you like but the fact is most Canadians are in favour of tougher sentences.
            You Liberals have had your day in the sun which has resulted in the criminal justice system in Canada being considered by many as a joke. All I know is that hardened serial criminals will spend more time in the slammer and therefore society will be protected from them and their ability to keep repeating their criminal activity.
            It doesn ‘t matter whether criminals are deterred from crime because of the new sentencing provisions. If they do the crime they do the time. It is their choice. Its called personal responsibility.

          • hollinm

            “The fact is these sentences that are being proposed are for the habitual, hardened, violent criminal elements that populate society and keep repeating their crimes”

            Just like the govt you can’t provide any evidence or informed opinion to back that up, can you?. That statement is simply bs.That’s all your post amounts to really, a bunch of misinformed, unsupported opinions.  You’re welcome to them but stop posting them as “facts”; you wouldn’t know a fact if it bit you in the ass.

          • If the criminal is in jail he cannot repeat the criminal activity that he probably has been committing for many years.

            Isn’t that in argument in favour of keeping every criminal in jail indefinitely?

            I believe the argument surrounding the notion that crime could be exacerbated by mandatory minimums is premised on the notion that in some cases, sending a petty criminal to jail for an inordinate amount of time is not so much “punishment” as it is “crime graduate school”. The way that these types of inflexible sentencing guidelines could theoretically lead to more crime isn’t that hard for me to fathom. If I throw a 20 year old kid in jail for nine months for sharing a joint that he grew with his roommate, do you suppose that kid is less likely to become a career criminal than before he got caught with that joint or more likely? One can certainly argue that maybe you just scared a bad kid straight, but one could equally argue that you just sent a good kid in to the arms of criminals for nine months and he’ll come out worse than when he went in. It’s entirely plausible to me that for every crime that doesn’t happen because criminal X is in jail longer, five more crimes will be committed by criminals A, B and C, who might not have ever become career criminals at all had they not been sent to jail on a relatively minor charge with an inflexible sentence and, say, joined up with a gang at a young age.

            Now, none of which is to say that the Tory bill WILL lead to increased crime, and I’m just anecdotally explaining the logic behind the arguments that mandatory sentencing can lead to this type of counter-intuitive effect, I don’t have any of the studies right at hand at the moment, but it’s not nearly so simple as “if the guy’s in jail, he can’t commit a crime”. You need to factor in the people who become lifelong criminals after making one mistake and getting a mandatory minimum, and then get caught up in the criminal culture while behind bars, and the lower level criminals who “graduate” to more serious and repeated crimes after being exposed to the truly bad guys for too long.

            I think there’s legitimate concern that jail is really best at two things. Keeping criminals from committing crimes while their in jail, and making them better criminals when they get out.

          • Sorry, bit of a double post here!

          • LKO

            Apparently there’s also a possibility that if new funding isn’t channeled in to an overburdened justice system that MMs may compel more plea bargaining, which could result not only in someone pleading gulity, who might otherwise have pled innocent in order to avoid a stiffer sentence[ an injustice initself] but may even allow some to walk who should be tried on more serious charges.
            Judicial discretion is best left in the hands of those best qualified to judge – the judges.

          • @kcm2:disqus 

            Good point.  

            I’ve said before that in many ways mandatory minimums don’t really even necessarily eliminate any discretion from the system, they just shift the burden of applying the discretion from judges to prosecutors.  What we’ll (hopefully) have now is simply more prosecutors saying “Well, I’m not going to charge this kid with X, because X now has a mandatory minimum of Y years, and that would be RIDICULOUS for this facts of this crime”.  So, instead of judges handing out sentences for serious sounding crimes that seem too low because the public’s not aware of the specific circumstances of the particular case, said convict will now more likely be charged with a less serious crime to begin with as PROSECUTORS try to make sure that the probable sentence fits the facts of the case instead of judges trying to thread that needle.

          • Three comments to the posts immediately above:

            1. Mandatory minimums presently exist in the Criminal Code.  They have since 1892.  The Supreme Court has successfully reconciled them with the Charter.  The Tory bill will not change this.

            2. The mandatory minimums proposed respond to how judicial discretion is being exercised.  Parliament is kicking certain sentencing trendlines up, in other words.

            3. Prosecutorial discretion already plays a massive role in the justice system.  The Tory bill will not change this.

  8. The US is a single party state and this presidential  race means nothing. The presidency has been reduced to errand boy status in service to a corrupted and retrograde status quo.   

  9. The world is in a massive upheaval at the moment, changing at a rapid rate, it’s actually the most change we’ve ever seen and in the shortest amount of time…..and we have no leaders…it’s not just Canada and the US, it’s a commonplace everywhere.  

    None of the leader-wannabees KNOWS what to do, so many of them dither and double-talk, or obsess over small stuff like deficits or sex, or they promise nonsense,  or they seek a return to the past…because they understand and can function in the past. That’s the biggest call we’re getting at the moment…retreat to the past.

    A world where there were simple solutions…whomp em/buy em/subvert em/ban em/control em….but none of that works anymore.

    And of course we get the loons, and the apocalypse-lovers, and the racists and the war-mongers and so on coming forward….looking for a scape-goat they can blame everything on and attack.   Hey, it’s worked before.

    None of this helps us choose PMs or Presidents….it just warns us not to put the worst of them in office….and not to expect too much from even the best ones.

    • It didn’t work too well in the United States with a guy who could read a teleprompter well, had no experience and was said to be smart because he ran the Harvard Law Review. The United States is being destroyed as we speak because he is a socialist who believes that governments have the answer for all that ails the country.
      If the American people do not see this and de-elect Obama in November they are going to be in for a world of hurt.
      The policies being advocated by the Obama administration have been tried in Europe and that whole area of the world with the exception of a few is heading for collapse.

      • Get.A.Dictionary.

        so·cial·ism   /ˈsoʊʃəˌlɪzəm/ Show Spelled[soh-shuh-liz-uhm]

        1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

        ……and then try answering my post without the tub-thumping partisanship and ideology of the past. The very place I said we can’t go to hide.

        I said nothing pro-Obama either…I said we have no leaders.

        • I was reinforcing your point but I guess you are too dumb to see it.

          • If you see Obama as a socialist, and think that using a teleprompter is a sin, you weren’t making any point.

            However, I can see you want to opt out of the conversation.

          • At least with you.

          • “If you see Obama as a socialist … ”

            Wall St Journal ~ Why ObamaCare Is Losing In Courts

            Having largely abandoned this unwinnable argument, they now claim that the mandate does not really compel individuals to buy insurance, but merely regulates their inevitable future health-care consumption.

            But because the future consumption of nearly all existing goods and services is inevitable across the entire population, this argument means that Americans can then be compelled to purchase an infinite variety of goods and services chosen by Washington. Far from limiting what government can do, this is the ultimate enabling principle. Even Soviet apparatchiks, who told producers what to make, did not dare tell people what to buy.


            USA Today Dec 2011

            General Motors was saved by the Obama administration with a $50 billion bailout. But now it could turn into a bigger political headache than ever for President Obama, Bloomberg News reports in an analysis.

            GM shares have fallen to less than half the price that the government needs to break even.

          • He is not using a teleprompter. He is lip syncing.

          • LOL at the rate things are going in the US, I’d believe anything.

          • @hollinm:twitter 
            Remember this experience, so you don’t make the same mistake again.

      • Because Germany is really hurting right now because of sozial marktwirtschaft…

  10. There’s a deep anti-intellectual vein running through much of what Harper does …
    his know-nothing crime policy ”

    Dumb on crime?  The authors of Freakonomics (vastly more educated than you), on page 121, make fun of people like you – Paul Wells – for being so stupid on crime: “Harsh prison terms have been shown to act as both deterrent and prophylactic.  Logical as this may sound, some criminologists have fought the logic…As the political scientist John J. DiLulio Jr. later commented “Apparently, it takes a PhD in criminology to doubt that keeping dangerous criminals incarcerated cuts crime.”


    Conservatives aren’t the ones whining for quotas for jobs and seats in the house.  We believe in merit.  It’s not especially logical for the whiny quota people to feign intellectual superiority over the cohort they admit they are inferior to and can’t compete with.

    On everything from crime to the environment to education to gender to the economy the left wing position is unscientific, to the point where conservatives have been thrown in jail in Canada under dubious “hate speech” legislation and shady HRCs for exposing how and why leftist positions  are, well, dumb.  You can’t even win an argument without going running to Big Brother to silence dissent.  Crybabies.

    • Wow! Someone’s unhappy they didn’t get their fair share of affirmative action.

       Maybe it’s the Hahaha! that gave you away?

       I think you just might have made Wells’ point actually. Just goes to show there’s still aneed out there for AC.

  11. Every GOP candidate earned their way in life without race quotas, which is more than what can be said for the current Affirmative Action Case In Chief.  

    Maclean’s and virtually every other media outlet refuses to publish what Barack Obama has acknowledged in his own words:  he’s an affirmative action case:

    “I must say, however, that as someone who has undoubtedly benefited from affirmative action programs during my academic career, and as someone who may have benefited from the Law Review’s affirmative action policy when I was selected to join the Review last year “http://www.hlrecord.org/2.4475/record-retrospective-obama-on-affirmative-action-1.577511?pagereq=1#.TwTH0TWiHh4 Who’s dumb now, Paul?  The fake lawyer with the quota diploma who, like his affirmative action wife, barely practiced any law at all?  WHO’S THE DUMMY NOW WELLS????

    • Orly Tait, is that you?

    • Wall St Journal ~ Is Obama Smart? 

      On another occasion—at the 2004 Democratic convention—Mr. Obama explained to a Chicago Tribune reporter that “I’m LeBron, baby. I can play at this level. I got game.”

      Of course, it’s tempting to be immodest when your admirers are so immodest about you. How many times have we heard it said that Mr. Obama is the smartest president ever? Even when he’s criticized, his failures are usually chalked up to his supposed brilliance. Liberals say he’s too cerebral for the Beltway rough-and-tumble; conservatives often seem to think his blunders, foreign and domestic, are all part of a cunning scheme to turn the U.S. into a combination of Finland, Cuba and Saudi Arabia.

      I don’t buy it. I just think the president isn’t very bright.

      Socrates taught that wisdom begins in the recognition of how little we know. Mr. Obama is perpetually intent on telling us how much he knows. Aristotle wrote that the type of intelligence most needed in politics is prudence, which in turn requires experience. Mr. Obama came to office with no experience. Plutarch warned that flattery “makes itself an obstacle and pestilence to great houses and great affairs.” Today’s White House, more so than any in memory, is stuffed with flatterers.

      But it takes actual smarts to understand that glibness and self-belief are not sufficient proof of genuine intelligence. Stupid is as stupid does, said the great philosopher Forrest Gump. The presidency of Barack Obama is a case study in stupid does.

    • “Every GOP candidate earned their way in life without race quotas, which is more than what can be said for the current Affirmative Action Case In Chief.”

      I wish i could remember who wrote that wonderful essay that argued  the Harvard/Yale alumni basically acted as a built in affirmative action programme for privilleged folks like W and ivy league liberals in general of course?    

    • You must have been in a coma for the entire 8 years of George Bush the Younger and Dumber.

      • Bush is not dumb. If you look at standardized tests he took in the Texas Air Guard, he scored at about the 95th percentile (
        http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/24/politics/campaign/24points.html ). That a silver spoon-sucking Harvard/Yale alum convinced you he was a good ol’ boy says more about your gullibility than it does about his intelligence.

        As for Obama – he is also clearly more intelligent than the average person. That said there are some holes in his record. He transferred from Occidental college to Columbia, suggesting his grades at Occidental must have been very high. He graduated from Columbia two years later, without honours. That means his GPA was below 3.3 (a B+ average), and that his Columbia grades must have been fairly low (since his Occidental grades must have been high, or else, how was he able to transfer). 

        While there is some question of how he got into Harvard Law (a 3.72 would put you at the 25th percentile there today), he did well in his classes there, and was in the top 10% of his class. However, as editor of the law review he didn’t produce much, and his books – about the only thing he has produced in his life – may have been ghostwritten. There is something truly mysterious about Obama’s circumstances, that looks like the work of a powerful benefactor (he’s not the only one in that boat by the way – Cheney’s and Rice’s career progressions are similarly mysterious). 

  12. If Stephen Harper has a deep anti intellectual vein with attacks on Dion and Ignatieff what do the voters have who pretty much spanked both leaders out of politics?
    And, Im confused….is there a Liberal biased media or a supportive Right Wing media or are you all just havin’ fun at our expense?

  13. “But it’s important to recognize dumb for what it is, and to understand it cannot do a political leader any good over the long run.”

    A little off topic , but how to explain MI – unless you except as given the efficacy of the attack adds? [ which may indeed explain it judging by feedback from lib mps & volunteers on the doorstep]
    I’m not so sure MI would have been wildly succeesful in any case. According to Newman[ reading right now] Ignatieff received his first real slapdown from liberals themselves because he was the brash outsider.[ so libs were themselves thinking some of the things cons were – they just didn’t dream of going so far as to falsify and misrepresent the man’s whole previous life and life’s work]. After that he attempted the insider politician route when being the “outsider”, the untarnished by lib corruption intellectual, was supposed to be his strength.
    To give the guy some credit it was a really big learning curve for anyone without political experience, but still you have to wonder about his politcal judgement in any case. It was a gamble, it failed, could he have eventually learned enough to succeed – who knows. Point being he was incredibly bright, but not in the areas that mattered most – there’s a lot to be said for good old common sense , judgement and realistic self assessment.
    I’m still mulling this one over – Newman’s a great read, sometimes blindingly insightful but just as often making imo opinion dumb or unsupported assertions.   

    • The post refers to “book larnin’ and legislative experience.” Both are important, and the second may be more so. Ignatieff had little, and what little he had was in such a peculiar environment he wouldn’t have been able to benefit much from it. 

      As for the attack ads, I’ve said a few times before that the first people I heard making the arguments the Conservatives used in those ads in 2009 were Liberals who supported other leadership candidates in 2006. 

      • That sounds about right, boy the libs are slow learners! I’m afraid i was prejudiced against Ignatieff at an early stage, being influenced partly by a scathing essay/blog on him by Ron Graham and the fact he just didn’t turn my crank[instinct is good sometimes].
        I should have added that Newman makes it clear he doesn’t principally blame MI for his failure – the libs has been dysfunctional for a long while, he was just the catalyst.

        Chretien would serve as a good example of someone who, while not dumb was no rocket scientist – didn’t Mulroney claim the man had never read a book in his life?…well he’d know all about hyperpole – was a very effective legislator/leader.

        • Just a thought…voters might want someone who they think they can relate to.  I know that Ralph Klein in Alberta was wildly popular.  Some people thought he wasn’t smart but he had excellent instincts and he had a terrific rapport with working people….and he got the province out of debt.

          • No. A surge in oil prices got the province out of debt.  Had it actually been his policies, we wouldn’t have been right back into deficit/debt again the moment those prices dropped.

  14. I am always leery of people who try to dissemble whether one is intelligent or not. A person’s I.Q. can be measured in many ways, and their skills can be applied to many varying situations. Stephane Dion was obviously book smart, but he would not make it in the real world. Ignatieff made Stockwell look competent. Your precept is that most of our prime ministers have supposedly been “pretty smart”, and supposedly surrounded themselves with smart people. But………..why did these smart people mortgage our children’s future? Why did these smart people experiment on society with their social ideologies? Why did Paul Martin transfer his assets out of Canada to avoid paying taxes when he knows those taxes would strengthen Canada? So I must ask,why do you differentiate between the functional intelligent and the intellectual? In running a country, is it not the feet on the ground that gets the things done, and not the head in the clouds? Can it effectually be said that an intellectual thinks of others before himself? Could it be a bias from journalists looking for the next Trudeau instead of trying to find a Cicero.

    You keep using that word intelligence, but I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    • Inconceivable!

    • Amen. For one thing, I don’t really buy the notion that there is such a thing as general intelligence. Short-term memory, visual-spatial skills, verbal reasoning – all of these are different skills and don’t always correlate (nor do people need to be good at all of them to succeed – problems have multiple solutions). 

      Worse, the mental abilities most related to decision-making are not observed on the campaign trail. What we see is verbal intelligence and short-term memory, which is hardly the sum of all that matters (though it may seem that way for the Journalism grads that write about leaders). Moreover, most candidates don’t even write their own speeches or soundbites. Was Bush an idiot, or was David Frum? Even in debates, there isn’t a great deal of spontaneity. 

      Moreover there’s inconsistency in whether we ascribe outcomes to intelligence. When Dion stumbled it was because “his plan was too complicated”. When Harper makes gaffes it is because it is part of an evil plan. When Day got the direction of the Niagara river wrong or discussed rising unreported crime (there is actually supporting data – the GSS polls people on whether they’ve been victims of crime), it was because he was dumb. It kind of makes one wonder when the grand judgment of who is/isn’t smart was handed down. It’s partly background, but even that can’t explain it (eg. why are college dropouts Gerard Kennedy and George Smitherman accepted as smart men, while Stockwell Day and John Snobelin were not).

      PS: I submit that virtually no prominent politicians are, or have been, of below average intelligence by any broad measure. Yes, even George W. Bush and Rick Perry are above average (with Perry’s grades consider that he took difficult subjects, was a non-traditional student, went to college when only 30% did, and accounting for grade inflation would have a B average today). 

      • “The GSS contains a standard ‘core’ of demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal questions, plus topics of special interest. Many of the core questions have remained unchanged since 1972 to facilitate time-trend studies as well as replication of earlier findings. The GSS takes the pulse of America, and is a unique and valuable resource. It has tracked the opinions of Americans over the last four decades.”

        Collecting peoples opinions is interesting and useful but it is not analogous to the collection and scientific study of criminal behaviour. For instance claiming something that is not reliably measurable is “rising” may have contributed to Stock being mocked, no?I don’t think it’s a matter of intelligence in the book larn’n sense[ thx PW]. It has more to do with judgement[ which is largely a matter of related, accumulated experience] and performance. It may be unfair but you have to perform on the day – ask MI about that one…and Perry and Cain and Bachman.Day had a track record of questionable actions…trying to influence a sitting judge in AB, various quirky opinions on this and that. Doesn’t make him dumb – just brings into question the judgement of an intelligent man who couldn’t forsee the down side of those actions. Yes , everyone makes mistakes but we expect our pols to perform under pressure and ever closer scrutiny…that’s just the way it is. Perception plays a role too – remember how McCain basically blew up his presidential chances by first making a questionable selection of Palin as running mate and worse “appearing” to panic when a cisis came up during the election.[ cancelled his campaign and headed to Washington to deal with a crisis that was not his to deal with] Of course it’s a question of how you spin it too…all part of the art of politics i guess. Some people have a knack for it…Harper does, Mcguinity does…Day didn’t…neither imo did MI.

    • I’m pretty sure I.Q. is measured in only one way….

      • Actual intelligence may only be measured one way but we do look at things like the way people interact…their social and emotional intelligence.  Some people may be brilliant but at the same time, “socially retarded’ (excuse the term).  People like that are not likely to be successful in politics because they have a very hard time interacting with people.  Bill Clinton and Hiliary Clinton are an interesting example of two people, one (Bill) has a very high emotional IQ and Hiliary is brilliant but has to work on her people skills.

        • I would go even farther and say that iactual ntelligence could be measured in many ways, but that I.Q. or “intelligence quotient” is based on a formula and set to a scale. 

  15. I submit that virtually no politicians are of below average intelligence (Belinda Stronach is probably as close as we’ve come in this country, and she may just be lazy). Rather they appear dumb for one of a few reasons:

    1. Their peers are also intelligent
    2. They are wilfully appearing dumb
    3. They have low verbal intelligence, but good reasoning skills (you can count on journalists to elevate those components of intelligence required by their profession)
    4. The demands of remaining on-message require memorization, and careful consideration not only of “does this answer the question” but also “does this fit with my message”. 

    Lets take Rick Perry as a hard case. One of the only indicators of Perry’s intelligence we have are his grades – Perry was a C student (http://brobrubel.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/2-e432155d61.jpg). However, only about 30% of American young adults attended college at that time, and his C was a legitimately average grade at the time – today he’d probably get a B (http://gradeinflation.com/figure2.gif). Moreover, his courses included notoriously difficult material (eg. organic chemistry), and he was grappling with the challenges of a nontraditional background (his parents were tenant farmers with little education). 

    Lets also look at the other knock against Perry – his lousy debate performances. Perry is very capable of a strong debate performance (he did very well in the later debate on foreign policy). However, a few things worked against him: first, he was on medication prescribed for pain following a back surgery that summer. Second, he was less prepared having been a late entrant into the race. That meant he hadn’t repeated his talking points all summer on the stump. Third, he had not begun to put together a platform either – meaning that he had to debate without offering a clear solution on the central issue of the day. Fourth, he shared a stage with a number of highly intelligent competitors. 

  16. The Teapublicanization of Harper would be a more appropriate headline for anything regarding this copy-cat lapdog. 

    • Are you not smart enough to offer a comment other than this jingoistic pap you typed above.

  17. Why such an obsession over educational pedigree?  Memorizing biochemistry or securities law bears no relation to strategic planning, work ethic, or judgment—in other words, ability to govern.
    Proof?  Paul Bremer (Yale undergrad, Harvard Business School) drove the Iraq occupation into the ditch and nearly brought America with it.  Although brilliant in his field, the man knew nothing about the job at hand yet was arrogant enough to think he knew everything.  It’s a recipe for disasterous leadership.
    You disagree? Education—although not sufficient—is a necessary indicator of ability?  Hardly.  Success can be measured in a host of ways.  I won’t belabor the point with tales about T. Boone Pickens (Oklahoma State University) or Harry Truman (drop-out).
    Look: academia is certainly one path to success.  And earning a degree should be admired.  But we’d be fools to dismiss as “dumb” those who pass-up $45k/year tuition, and choose to blaze a new trail.

    • What obsession over educational pedigree???

      Rick Perry has an undergraduate degree.  Michelle Bachmann has both a B.A. and an L.L.M.  They’re not being mocked for not having academic credentials (they have academic credentials).  They’re being mocked for being dumb.

      Perry and Bachmann aren’t examples of the fact that you don’t need a university degree to be smart, they’re examples of the fact that many people WITH university degrees, even graduate degrees, are blithering idiots.

  18. Why such an obsession over educational pedigree?  Memorizing biochemistry or securities law bears no relation to strategic planning, work ethic, or judgment—in other words, ability to govern.
    Proof?  Paul Bremer (Yale undergrad, Harvard Business School) drove the Iraq occupation into the ditch and nearly brought America with it.  Although brilliant in his field, the man knew nothing about the job at hand yet was arrogant enough to think he knew everything.  It’s a recipe for disasterous leadership.
    You disagree? Education—although not sufficient—is a necessary indicator of ability?  Hardly.  Success can be measured in a host of ways.  I won’t belabor the point with tales about T. Boone Pickens (Oklahoma State University) or Harry Truman (drop-out).
    Look: academia is certainly one path to success.  And earning a degree should be admired.  But we’d be fools to dismiss as “dumb” those who pass-up $45k/year tuition, and choose to blaze a new trail.

    • Pickens has a degree in geology.

      Truman was in law school, but had to drop out when he lost his job. He did, however, become a judge.

      • True, but neither arrived at their success by taking a lengthy walk through the ivy league. Nor did that fact lessen their ability to dominate business and government.

        Simply put: Paul’s premise is that we can dismiss leaders for lack of prestige. Frankly, it conjures images of aloof politicos laughing as they show Harry Truman, Michael Dell, and Steve Jobs out the door. So I ask again, who’s “dumb” in that picture?

        • Nobody said they had to go to Ivy league schools…Dubya in fact was the best argument against that!  LOL

          Dubya’s daddy donated big bucks for those degrees, so Bush got a ‘gentleman’s C’

          But the fact remains that successful people…..leaders in particular….need basic education. Presidents need to know where Iran is, that the US doesn’t have an embassy there, and that China had nukes long time ago….Cain’s and Bachman’s educations weren’tt broad enough to include such things and apparently they never watched the news, or read.

          Dell and Gates and Jobs were getting formal educations….but businesses they started took over their time.  Computers were hot and new back then, and they learned more about their chosen subject that way.

          We are a long way from the days when someone with no formal education could be president.

          Bush came close enough.

          • And that’s the distinction. Right there. It’s not lack of a prestigious degree; it’s lack of on knowledge. Rick Perry’s problem isn’t his alma mater; Texas A&M actually leads the nation in nuclear engineering. The problem his him and his lack of knowledge.

            By assuming those things are identical, Paul casts a perilously wide net. Society would lose by following suit.

          • In order to gain the knowledge in most fields you have to go to university.

            I don’t know how Perry’s education or the ‘prestige’ argument got into this at all

  19. Twitter. Who needs twitter when a man has weed and access to Wells scribbling?I’ll go with Harpers brain trust considering the worn Piled Higher & Deeper offerings of the LPOC.

    • “Who needs twitter when a man has weed and access to Wells scribbling?”  

      I like that Paul now fills a void evidently left by Ice Cube’s “Next Friday” or the end of Shark Week.

  20. (1) If Perry, Bachman, and Palin are “blithering idiots” then there’s not much hope for the rest of us.  I’d venture to suggest that they’re each smarter than every Macleans columnist and commenter.  They’re even smart enough not to point it out.

    (2) “Dumb people sometimes get cabinet posts, hardly a new development in Canadian politics, but the ones who rise have, disproportionately, been the ones who weren’t dumb.”

    Very true.  It’s just as true about success in American politics.  People who win state governorships are not stupid.

    (3) I question the relevance of legislative experience for someone vying to become the Chief Executive.  If anything, being the chief executive of a state is the most relevant experience.

    (4) Today’s university degrees are vastly overrated.  While it is true that someone with a good education – i.e. a well-rounded education in history, philosophy, mathematics, economics, language, the sciences, and music – is likely to be a better ruler by virtue of their deeper insight into the world around them, it is just as true that most modern university degrees are nothing more than vocational training for a particular job rather than an education designed to develop the intellect.   Degrees in journalism, for example.  And a lot of modern university degrees (primarily those in the arts) don’t even achieve that, instead feeding students the intellectual garbage that is the faddish, soon to be forgotten literature of our day rather than the works which shaped our society.

    I can’t say I like any of the Republican candidates very much, but if cleverness is our measure of suitability for the office then God help us all, for these candidates are particularly suited.  

    Or perhaps, rather than cleverness and meaningless academic credentials, one should look for (a) virtue, and (b) the ability to reason.  Wouldn’t that be novel.  And un-journalistic.

    • People who win state governorships are not stupid.


      However, I think that perhaps the logic of “Sarah Palin must be smart, she got elected Governor” could perhaps be as tenuous as the logic of “Nickelback must be a great band, they’ve sold millions of records”.

      Success is not necessarily a measure of ability.

      • I think it can even be argued that success in politics is more a measure of mediocrity.

      • There’s merit to your point, but such logic is no more tenuous than that which says “the media paints Palin as an idiot, she must therefore be an idiot.” There seem to be a lot more people who are quite certain of her idiocy than have actually met her in person and come to their own conclusions.

        And in general, I think it’s A LOT more likely that someone who successfully wins a state governorship or Presidency is pretty intelligent than not. You’ll notice, however, that a lot of politically successful conservatives (Palin (state governor), Bush (state governor + 2-term President), Perry (state governor), Reagan (state governor + 2-term President), etc.) are portrayed as morons while they are running for national office. Meanwhile, politically successful leftists are uniformly geniuses. Even politically unsuccessful leftists are geniuses, just misunderstood. Possible? I guess. Likely? No.

        So while it’s possible that Palin is no more intelligent than your average journalist, it’s more likely that she’s a politically successful conservative who also happens to be a living example of the pro-life mindset, and therefore draws a lot of hatred from the narrow-minded narcissists who dominate our punditry class.

  21. So Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Sarah Palin and Rick Perry are super-big dopes. Unlike the brainiac running the country into the ground.

  22. Harper may well be smart, but that does not mean an overload of wisdom He still has the ‘me’ mentality of most right-wingers! To H with the common man, just accept that I am right and take what you are given. Since 1867, nothing has changed other than the social programs forced upon them by the NDP and the CCF. 
    As for the US Presidential contenders list, I can’t see any of them worth a puff of smoke! They all run on the same platform of ‘loving a God fearing America’ more than the other guy; [ or any other common 99%er for that matter].

  23. Thanks for pointing out that Coates article in the Atlantic.  Too bad we don’t have any writers like that.

  24. Hmm… “the middle of nowhere” is that like Man, Sask, NB or maybe Canada? The “dead of winter” does that mean well above zero temperature? Is the “outmoded process” like the Senate?

    Seems to me that this two-party process is doing its check and balance thing, unlike the somewhat wild history of the (Progressive) Conservatives.

  25. Which one was the idiot? the decade-long governor with the country’s best record in job creation or the rocket scientist with decades of spectacular success as a CEO?

    Bachmann’s resume is, admittedly, thin. She is a tax attorney with some impressive community work, a term as state senator and a term at the federal level. You might argue that’s not enough experience to be president if it weren’t a near-perfect match to the current White House occupant.

  26. My God, Wells…Ron Paul is NOT an eccentric, he’s a man centered in reason and far more so than anyone in US politics that I’ve heard…especially those on the right! Indeed, Mr. Paul is absolutely correct when he says US foreign policy reaps the hatred that inspired 9-11. US military and Intelligence agencies have been interfering in world affairs, removing democratically-elected governments in other nations, installing bases all over the world…and they wonder why those countries resent America! Why are you so oblivious to the obvious? Open your eyes! Indeed, you and people of your ilk who marginalise Ron Paul should stop branding him as a fringe candidate and actually listen to what this bright man has to say. Shame on you Wells for providing a link after calling Paul ‘an eccentric’ which lead to an article claiming he’s also a racist! Shame on your shallow, lazy journalism. I read the link you included and then I searched for any evidence of Paul’s racism (because it sure isn’t there in anything I’ve read or heard about/from him). It seems that you’re only aping what the lunatic right claims about him, Wells. I recommend you all get your heads out of your asses and pay attention to a real leader for a change! Try harder to look beyond the ‘pretty’ faces on those woefully empty heads. Unlike them, Ron Paul makes perfect sense when he speaks! It’s true that the US has been in one war or another (apart from JFK’s attempt to disengage from Vietnam…just before he was murdered) throughout my entire 57 years of life. Finally, the US has a candidate who knows that the US trods too heavily on the world stage and that the cost of their global adventurism is huge, monetarily, yes, but especially more so wrt young American lives! RON PAUL is by far the smartest man on the Republican stage. Every clip one finds on YouTube shows Dr. Paul making sense…you fools must have your blinders on and your fingers in your ears (that is, when your head’s not up your ass)!

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