Bruce Barlett, a domestic policy and economic adviser to both Ronald Reagan and George Bush the Greater, has called current Texas governor Rick Perry an idiot. Karl Rove, chief toady to George Bush the Lesser, is also not in love with Rick Perry.
Bartlett now considers himself an independent, and his poor opinion of Perry is not that surprising. The minions of Bush the Lesser consider Perry to be a braggart and buffoon and, more importantly to them, the opposite of a compassionate conservative.
Perry is not afraid to run his mouth and in many circles, this is seen as a plus. He's said that if Fed chief Ben Bernanke came down to Texas, "we'd treat him pretty ugly." Some say this is just an example of running against Washington. People whose ears are more attuned to the talk of the South hear a dog whistle of anti-Semitism against a Jewish banker from the Northeast.
I might agree with Bartlett's assessment, but as we saw with both Reagan and Bush the Lesser, being an idiot is no bar to elected office in this country.
But calling names is cheap and easy. I am much more interested in Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah and current second tier candidate for president. Instead of insults, he has made a call to arms for reason. Last week, he tweeted "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."
Jake Tapper of ABC News asked, "Were you just being cheeky or do you think there's a serious problem with what Governor Perry said?"
Huntsman's response: "I think there's a serious problem. The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party - the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012."
I'm not a Republican because I disagree with many of their beliefs of what the major problems are facing our country and what the solutions should be. But most importantly, it is a damn shame that this country should have a party so ready to overthrow the best ideas science has on important topics, both in terms of human progress and public policy. I understand the push against evolution, since Biblical literalists think this means denying the word of God. But the push against the science of global warming is just the petulance of ill-bred seven year olds who will not give up their toys.
As long as this is the position of one of the two major parties in this land, we have nowhere to go but down.