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HURT: Smart enough to know stupid doesn’t work for GOP
It is time Republicans declare war on stupid. For years, stupid worked well for them.
When the insufferable Albert Gore threatened in 2000, Republicans got behind the frat house screwup. Certainly, plenty of conservatives complain today about the eight years of George W. Bush. But they surely weren't as bad as the four-year lecture we would have endured from the ballooning Mr. Gore.
Then there was the even more insufferable John F. Kerry with his elitist, Northeastern snobbery challenging Mr. Bush in 2004. He managed to hand Mr. Bush a victory that dwarfed the squeaker in 2000. What must it be like to know you are even more insufferable than Albert Gore?
Understandably, conservatives are wary of smooth talk and fancy degrees. So often, these degrees are granted to people who simply are otherwise unemployable. And they are almost always granted to liberals who have submitted to the suffocating liberal orthodoxy that controls institutions of "higher learning" in America.
Just look at our current president. President Obama got a degree from the Xanadu of fancy degrees, Harvard Law School. Specifically, he is a trained legal expert on constitutional law.
Which is really funny if you think about the humiliating smackdowns he has suffered from the federal courts because he fails to grasp some of the simpler points of the U.S. Constitution.
This is why Republicans have been so deeply skeptical of smarty-pants politicians. Especially the smooth-talking ones. Not only are they dumber than the general population, but they are also so often liars.
It is one reason Republicans fell so in love with Sarah Palin. Now she is not stupid. But she is also not exactly an expert on the finer parliamentary points of federal governance. What so many people loved about her — including myself — was that she was hated by all the insufferable smarty-pants people. You could just hear the collective head of The New York Times' editorial board explode every time she opened her mouth. That is always a gratifying sound.
But this love affair with dumb increasingly causes the party problems. Just enough problems, in fact, for Harry Reid to still be in control of the U.S. Senate.
So perhaps it is time now to take a chance with smart. Which brings me to Ben Sasse, who is eyeing a run for U.S. Senate from Nebraska.
Let's begin with what is wrong with him. Mr. Sasse has degrees from Harvard and Yale. And now he is a college president. Normally, this would be three strikes in my book. But I also happen to know the guy from his years working at the Department of Justice and later at Health and Human Services.
Despite his degrees from Harvard and Yale, Mr. Sasse is an incredibly smart guy. Few people know more than he does about "Obamacare" and what a devious basket of welfare enslavement, bureaucratic burdens and unintended consequences it really is.
He blew the whistle on the $8.3 billion slush fund that was quietly slipped into the legislation. Also, he has helped reveal other dastardly provisions that lawmakers voted on without reading the bill.
When it comes to Obamacare, Mr. Sasse can run circles around Democrats the way Sen. Ted Cruz ran circles around them on their zany gun control efforts. In both cases, it is because men are so much smarter and know the issues so much better than their opponents.
Like Mr. Cruz, Mr. Sasse is staunchly conservative. You don't have to take his word for it. His three years at the helm of Midland University have been devoted to scrapping tenured professorships and instilling an ethos of strict accountability. Not only for professors, but also students and even the university itself. As a result, enrollment has nearly doubled and the college is looking to expand to a second campus.
Another hitch is that Ben Sasse has spent enough time in Washington to know he would much rather be in Nebraska.
But he has something else going for him. He's got a wonderfully grounded wife and three beautiful children to whom he is entirely devoted. And Mr. Sasse is smart enough to know that if his children are going to grow up in a free, robust and truly promising America, then there are a lot of things that need to be fixed here in Washington, not Nebraska.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @charleshurt.
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