Paul Krugman recently penned a good post in the Times about the Republican embrace of "know-nothing" politics. President Bush, the right-wing talking heads and many of the conservative ideologues in Congress have perfected this approach over the years, and it has quickly become the only thing consistent about the McCain campaign. An excerpt:
Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid. Now, I don’t mean that G.O.P. politicians are, on average, any dumber than their Democratic counterparts.
What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism - the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise - has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”
John McCain is quick to repeatedly spout poll-tested policy one-liners and slogans but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that he lacks a basic understanding of the fundamental issues of our time. The topic on which he is most out-spoken - national security issues - is no exception. And it just happens to be the most consequential. Not realizing Vladimir Putin is no longer President of Russia, thinking Iraq and Pakistan share a border, forgetting that Czechoslovakia no longer exists, and confusing Somalia and Sudan are all disconcerting gaffes but can be spun by campaign staff as misspeaks brought on by campaign fatigue. I don’t buy it but I get it.