Press "Enter" to skip to content

Karl Mundt Refutes Rick Perry’s Excuses for Lack of Intellectual Ability

Governor Rick Perry defends his inarticulacy:

Yep, there may be slicker candidates and there may be smoother debaters, but I know what I believe in. And I'm gonna stand on that belief every day. I will guide this country with a deep, deep rudder.

Senator Karl E. Mundt would have disagreed:

If you can't say it, you don't know it!

Beliefs you can't articulate are like trees falling in the woods. Instead of denigrating intellectual skill, people like Perry should develop their ability to analyze and explain ideas, both their own and others'. Good debaters know how to do that. Good debaters deserve more trust than babblers who can't.


  1. Stan Gibilisco 2011.09.29

    It'll take a pretty good debater to defeat Barack Obama.

    Newt Gingrich would mop the floor with Obama -- after he got done soiling the floor with himself.

    Mitt Romney would hold his own with Obama.

    Anybody else, not so much.

  2. Bill Fleming 2011.09.29

    I think Newt would fold the first time Barack asked him some questions about his bogus "man from Kenya" speculations. I doubt if Gingrich would be able to look him in the eye. Obama would expose him for the cracker he is in about 5 minutes.

  3. LK 2011.09.29

    Newt doesn't have the discipline. At some point, a Gingrich/Obama debate would degenerate into a critical discussion of the finer points of Kenyan anti-colonialism.

    I'm really worried that the 2012 presidential debates will become high school policy debates. There will be a case that includes a philosophical critique as an advantage. The opponent will offer a counterplan, a counter critique, and several disadvantages. Both will claim that the opponent will insure the end of American hegemony and guarantee an act of terrorism that will result in nuclear war leading to human extinction.

    Depending on the Republican challenger, the upcoming presidential debates may be far less entertaining, researched, and informative than many of the high school debates that I have judged over the past few years.

  4. Bill Fleming 2011.09.29

    I just want to hear Barack and Cain do the dozens.
    Barack: "Yo momma so poor, her face on food stamps."
    Cain: "Yo momma so skinny, she hula-hoop with a Cheerio."

  5. Roger Elgersma 2011.09.29

    Bush and Perry both from Texas and can not talk straight. But I was raised with the attitude that your actions speak louder than your words. They both executed a lot of people. So you will not know what they think of you till you are dead. Oh well, he might not even notice South Dakota.

  6. Stan Gibilisco 2011.09.29

    Perry's poll numbers are falling. However, I don't think it has anything to do with a perceived "lack of intellectual ability." Rather, it has to do with his inability to articulate and defend his positions. I think voters see this as an actual lack of coherence and focus.

    Some mighty brilliant people can lack coherence and focus when they get in front of a crowd. Put them in the driver's seat of a real machine, however, and they do the job with the best of them. I think that Perry constitutes an example of that type.

    On a slightly different note, Cory, I might suggest that you use caution when you look down your nose at people as a Democrat. The rank and file get really put off by that, and it's one of the real vulnerabilities of Barack Obama and many in his administration.

    When I grew up in Minnesota, we had the DFL (Democrat-Farmer-Labor) party, and it's still called that, as far as I know. I still see the Dems as the Bob Beckel types, the ones who get the work done, the ones with a few rough spots but a solid core, the union types, the people who keep the lights on and the roads working and our kids educated.

    The Republicans were more "elite" (whatever that means) and maybe "effete" as well. Of course I didn't see it quite that way until, one evening at the University of Miami in the middle of that lost decade known as the 80s, I was refused entry to a Republican student gathering because I wasn't well-dressed enough. I went over to the Dems' party and they took me right in, cutoff shorts and worn out sneakers and T-shirt and all.

    Now, the roles almost seem to have reversed themselves. But beware: The people of this country want someone who can bring the jobs back, get some certainty into the system, and restore people's confidence in their society and in themselves. They have no need of people with "intellectual ability," no matter how great, unless that ability is carried with a certain humility and a proven performance record.

    So, you Democratic intellectuals you, keep them there spectacles from slipping too far down your nose, eh? I don't want to see your snot. I want to see my life come back together again.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.09.30

    Stan, the point is well taken, but I don't know if I can avoid it, at least on this specific issue of Perry's strain of self-justifying anti-intellectualism. Maybe Dennis Kucinich is a good example of the synthesis of working-class values and appreciation of intellect that Dems should pursue. He grew up working class, was broke, lived in his car, understands the value of work and of unions (not to mention polka and kielbasa). But he also appreciates brains and beauty (exhibit #1: his erudite wife Elizabeth!). I won't let hucksters like Perry turn the tables on us teachers and make kids think that being able to express themselves clearly and logically is somehow snobbish. Critical thinking and effective self-expression are intellectual skills, they are deeply valuable... and politicians who try to get by without them should expect a thrashing in the polls (and at the polls).

  8. Roger Elgersma 2011.09.30

    Exactly right, Cory. The president is definitely a roll model. I was in Texas when Obama got inaugurated and noticed that suddenly a lot of black teenage boys started going to the library. A professional well educated black man succeeds and the kids follow in his example. That was after Bush who was from a good school but not well educated.

  9. Stan Gibilisco 2011.09.30

    Dennis Kucinich is way too genuine, way to well-spoken, and way too smart to be President of the United States.

  10. Stan Gibilisco 2011.09.30

    And he probably knows the difference between "to" and "too," too.

  11. Anne 2011.09.30

    And maybe "roll" and "role'?

  12. Douglas Wiken 2011.10.01

    Hay, now and then we right what words sound like without regard to there meaning.

    I don't know if it is because of the conversational nature of blogs and forums or what. I did get some feedback from a guy studying this, but his theories weren't any better than my guess.

    About the only way to catch those slips in spelling is to write everything with a word processor before slapping it in here or elsewhere. Most of us don't have time for that.

Comments are closed.