Duh-bya: Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks chides liberals for constructing an explanation for the election loss that reassures "they are morally superior to the people who just defeated them." He writes, "This year, the official story is that throngs of homophobic, Red America values-voters surged to the polls to put George Bush over the top."

He's wrong. We on the left don't think we're morally superior to Bush's fans (that kind of judgment is their game).

But we sure are smarter.

A recent survey by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland backs this thesis up. It found:

* nearly 70 percent of Bush supporters still believe the U.S. has come up with "clear evidence" that Saddam Hussein was working closely with Al Qaeda
* a third of Bush voters believes we found WMDs in Iraq, and
* more than a third believe that a substantial majority of world opinion supported the U.S.-led invasion.

As the Times' Bob Herbert concludes, "This is scary. How do you make a rational political pitch to people who have put that part of their brain on hold? No wonder Bush won." Another source correlating presidential preference with average IQ backs Herbert up: The 16 states with the highest average IQ went to Kerry; the bottom 25 went to Bush.

(Thanks, Ben.)


Anonymous said...

Let's face it; Republicans have no monopoly on stupidity. Democrats rightfully want the votes even of the ignorant, and they're not above recruiting new voters regardless of their grasp of the so-called important issues.

It's silly to suggest that there's a causal relationship between a few points difference in IQ average and a few points difference in voting behavior. But using the average IQs of red states to impugn Bush voters is not only bad social science, it's also bad politics. It's another indication that the left has lost its sense of love and respect for the people. Instead, we're left with a snotty sense of intellectual superiority to match the right's sense of moral superiority. If last week's results should do anything, it should prompt us to think about what it means to reconnect with our basic ideals and the 'base' that supported America's march (albeit excruciatingly slow) to the left in the mid-20th century.

(Come back, Woody Guthrie...)

Eric W. Davis

Anonymous said...

Seems like silliness (not good social science) was the point, Eric.

Not sure if this guy had the same goal: he, a red-stater, wants to use a "Declaration of Expulsion" to kick 13 states out of the union. (Funny that he includes 8 original colonies, yet thinks the red states should still be called the United States.)

Paul Schmelzer said...

Hey Eric, thanks for weighing in.