For only the second time in 40 years, the Republican presidential ticket is immune from attacks that one of its members is unintelligent, denying Democrats and their allied talk show hosts and comics a priceless political weapon and punchline.
Both Gov. Mitt Romney and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan are undeniably smart. Romney earned millions running his own complex financial business, and Ryan is the leading conservative intellectual in Congress.
In fact, this year it’s the Democrats’ turn. The only one of the four candidates whose intelligence is coming under scrutiny is Vice President Joe Biden, who generally fails to let a week go by without saying something stupid.
Since Gerald Ford sought to be returned to the Oval Office in 1976, Democrats have savored attacking one portion of the GOP ticket as dumb.
Ford was commonly said by those on the left to be dim witted and seemed confirm the assertion by appearing to place Poland outside the Soviet sphere of influence during one of his debates with Jimmy Carter.
Democrats lampooned Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 as a former B-Movie actor who sometimes seemed confused, only to find themselves outsmarted at the ballot box by The Gipper and frequently on the floor of Congress as well.
In 1988 and 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle was the butt of jokes about his intelligence. But then in 1996 Republicans ran Kansas Sen. Bob Dole for President and former New York Rep. Jack Kemp for VP, neither of whom showed any evident shortage of IQ points.
In 2000 and 2004 Democrats reveled in charging that Vice President Dick Cheney was the brains behind George W. Bush, who with his Texas mannerisms and tendency to garble his words came off to some as not bright.
And then in 2008 Sarah Palin was mercilessly mocked by her opponents and the crew of Saturday Night Live as both dumb and uniformed.
H/T to a caller on the Friday’s Rush Limbaugh show – guest hosted by Douglas Urbanski – who first noted this.