My fellow liberals and I make this same mistake over and over again. We like to think that if everyone was as smart as we are, then we'd all be lefties and all God's children would live in peace and harmony. Too many of us seem to think that the only reason people are conservative is that they're too dumb to understand what we know.
We did this with Ronald Reagan, and all Reagan did was out maneuver the Democrats and change the direction of American government and history. We called Tommy Thompson stupid, and all he did was serve 14 years as governor and out maneuver us over and over again on state issues.
I mocked Tommy last week for being inarticulate in his debate with Tammy Baldwin. He was. But being tongue-tied isn't the same as being dumb. I'd never be stupid enough to say that Tommy is stupid.
And even my neighbors, good and tolerant people, show no hesitation to be education snobs, railing on Scott Walker for not having a college degree. I know a lot of very smart people who didn't go to or finish college. Some are artists, writers, and scientists, and some have even been successful in helping govern this very state. In fact, some of the brightest, most creative people I know didn't finish college. Maybe it's because life's circumstances didn't allow it, or maybe it's because the constraints of college curricula didn't fit their less disciplined creative natures. But I really find the attitude, so prevalent here on Madison's west side, that your worth is judged by your degrees to be, well, just really stupid.
So, the news that my fellow liberals are at it again is not welcome. One Wisconsin Now has just launched Our Dumb Senator, a website dedicated to all of the allegedly stupid things that Wisconsin's junior U.S. Senator Ron Johnson says.
I can't be too critical of One Wisconsin Now because I've been guilty of this kind of thing myself. A few months ago I was pretty harsh on Johnson for what I called a stupid comment about guns in the wake of yet another senseless massacre. I don't take back the criticism. I think the cowardice of politicians of both parties when it comes to taking on the gun lobby is ridiculous.
But routinely labeling those who disagree with us as dumb plays into the stereotype of elitist liberals. We should knock it off because it's wrong, because it's hurting our cause and because it's just, well, dumb.