Although their presidential candidate can't tell the difference between Al Qaeda and the proverbial hole in the ground, Republicans are unconcerned -- only Democratic elitists like smart people!

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The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, April 9, 2008. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at

Democrats are Bigots - They Like Smart People

During the Congressional hearings in which Gen. David H. Petraeus lectured senators on progress in Iraq ("We've made great progress, so much that we have to stay indefinitely"), Senator John McCain once again revealed he didn't know the difference between Sunni and Shia Moslems.

For some reason, McCain likes to insist that Iran is training Al Qaeda operatives in Iraq. But that's not how things work in that part of the world. Al Qaeda is Sunni, Iran Shia - Iran has been training Shiite militia.

I know: it's so damned complicated over there! When you combine the prior info with the fact that deposed dictator Saddam Hussein was Sunni, and that we replaced him with a Shiite party that naturally favors Iran, you see we have the makings of a quagmire.

Democratic commentators tend to be critical of McCain's stupidity. Republicans, on the other hand, shrug it off - who can keep those factions straight? Does anyone seriously think George W. Bush understood any of this before invading Iraq? I don't think so!

All of this traces back to a deeper division between supporters of the two parties. Democrats like smart people! This is highly distressing in an era when educators tend to minimize conventional measures of intelligence. Despite this, Democrats virtually always nominate the candidate with the higher IQ.

But Americans overall vote for the man they'd most like to have a beer with. When the smarter candidate is also a better beer buddy (think JFK and Bill Clinton), we get both qualities. Often, however - as with the current president - we get only the better drinker (or, in GWB's case, former drinker).

The unavoidable conclusion - in order to achieve long-term electoral success, Democrats have to run stupider candidates. Unfortunately, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are high-achieving wonks. You can't listen to either one of them without thinking - "Are these people nerds, or what?"

Americans, instead, love to focus on the unconcerned faces of people like George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. Sure, things can be going to hell in a handbasket. But looking at these men, you can't help but think, "What, me worry?"

This brings us to our moral - The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent. To which we can add - "nor the presidency to the brainiac." No, quite the opposite.