inessential by Brent Simmons

Smarts doesn’t equal snobbery

Yesterday I wrote about how Democrats come across as too snobby to be the party of the average guy, and that Republicans have taken over this position.

Some of the reaction to this was people saying that they’re not ashamed of being intelligent and it’s sad that intelligence is a liability.

I agree with that, but I don’t think that’s really the issue.

I think of Bill Clinton. In terms of raw intelligence, he was probably in the top tier of American presidents. But we saw him struggle with weight: he liked McDonald’s french fries. You could imagine that, if he weren’t so busy, he might enjoy watching wrestling on TV now and again. People called him Bubba.

Smart—yes, hugely smart—but no snob. He didn’t set himself apart from the mainstream of American culture, even its trashier parts. He was democratic in the broadest sense of the word.