Is there a dumbing down of America?
When Rep. Michele Bachmann stated that John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa, and it was actually John Wayne Gacy, many went ballistic. How could she not know that, being from Iowa?! How could she confuse an American icon with a serial killer? Many said it was a gaffe, an honest mistake, and I agree; I really didn’t have a problem with it.
What I do have a problem with are the numerous gaffes that Bachmann has made, some of which are outright lies. Here are a few examples:
Being from Massachusetts and going to see the re-enactment of that battle as part of school field trips and summer vacations, I was shocked to see a sitting congresswoman so uninformed on American history.
And my all-time favorite:
In an interview with George Stephanopolous on ABC, she stated (again) that our Founding Fathers fought to end slavery (although Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers were slave owners) and cited that John Quincy Adams was one of our Founding Fathers, although he was only nine when the Revolutionary War began. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP primary.]
Hmmm. Despite all of this, she is neck and neck in the polls in the state of Iowa with Mitt Romney in the race for the presidency of the United States of America. [Vote now: Can Michele Bachmann win the 2012 GOP nomination?]
Years ago when I first started as a talk host, my boss said: “Leslie, you’re going to have to work harder and be smarter, because you’re a woman and both men and women will be more critical of you.” And he was right. We are more critical of women, especially women in politics. Just look at the attacks on Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi, and now, Michele Bachmann. [See editorial cartoons about Palin.]
But Bachmann better work harder and be smarter, not just because she’s a woman, but because she’s running to be president of this great nation. It’s sad that many people don’t know her remarks I cited above to be false, but she should’ve known. And she should know better. It’s sad that, as voters, many of us vote based soley on party affiliation or a name we recognize. But I dream of a day we vote for the better candidate, the smarter candidate. When Barack Obama made the decision and came up with the idea of using a very small team of our military and keeping it a secret from his allies and even his Congress to find and kill Osama bin Laden, that was brilliant. We need more brilliance in the White House. The bottom line is, if you want to be in charge of this great country, you better know its history, no exceptions, no excuses, and no gaffes.