There are, of course, lots of ways to be smart and lots of ways to be dumb. We often talk about book smarts and street smarts, as though the two are mutually exclusive. We know from experience that brilliant book people can be nincompoops when it comes to common sense, while people lacking formal education can be brilliant problem-solvers. We know these things, yet we seem to have fallen in love with the notion that only book smarts matter when it comes to the nation’s problems. At least Democrats have. Republicans, despite having a few brainiacs in their midst, have taken the opposite approach, emphasizing instead the value of being just regular folk.
Parker is, of course, perpetuating stereotypes in both cases. The party of the poor, which is what Democrats still claim to be, can hardly argue that only academics can lead us. It's not so much an actual Democratic assertion of academic superiority as it is their disparagement of the forced folksiness and apparent contempt for higher learning indulged in by Perry and his predecessor in Texas that gets Democrats, liberals and progressives accused of elitism. With the elitism charge comes the ivory tower fallacy, the assumption that liberals privilege theoretical speculation over practical know-how because they lack experience of practical life. As for Republicans:
Republicans have earned some of the ridicule aimed their way. Many are willing to dumb themselves down to win the support of the party’s base, preferring to make fun of evolution and global warming rather than take the harder route of explaining, for example, that a “theory” when applied to evolution has a specific scientific meaning. It isn’t just some random idea cooked up in a frat house.
Nevertheless, Parker believes that Republican anti-intellectuals have an advantage with the electorate, simply because " most people in this country didn’t go to Ivy League colleges — or any college for that matter. Most haven’t led privileged lives of any sort, but nonetheless have unspoiled hearts and are willing to help any who would help themselves." But where do these people get the impression that liberals, even "Ivy Leaguers," won't let them do this? Where do they get the idea that Ivy Leaguers want everyone to depend on them? From the Ivy Leaguers themselves? I suspect not. Parker advises that "until someone emerges to remind Americans of who they are in a way that neither insults their intelligence nor condescends to their less-fortunate circumstances, smart money goes to the “stupid” politicians." This takes for granted what remains unproven. Where is the condescension? Where can it be found in writing, or on tape, or on video? Whatever liberals say, it probably sounds like condescension to those who don't feel dependent on government, or on the Ivy League, but where did they get the idea that anyone was saying they were dependent, or should be? To me it sounds like one group feels insulted on behalf of other groups who don't necessarily share the feeling. Their attitude requires a more critical examination, no matter how condescending it may seem, than Parker is willing to provide.