Do this as an exercise: think back through the recent Republican presidents and consider how the left and the media regarded them:
George W. Bush - idiot
George H.W. Bush - affably clueless
Ronald Reagan - senile and dumb
Gerald Ford - bumbling goof
Then consider the way the left and the media has regarded recent Democrat presidents:
Barack Obama - "the smartest president we've ever had"
Bill Clinton - Rhodes Scholar genius
Jimmy Carter - personable and brilliant
It's getting old. Real old. Which is precisely why this tired strategy, now being applied to rising Republican stars Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, and others, will fall so flat.
In fact, it's already backfiring, as columnists like Larry Elder are doing a little investigating and exposing of their own:
Barbara Walters gushed over John F. Kennedy Jr. and foresaw a political future for him. Never mind that the young man had flunked the New York bar exam -- twice.
"Dumb" former President George W. Bush, caricatured as a slacker in an Oliver Stone movie, made better grades in college than did Al Gore, his opponent in 2000. Gore dropped out of divinity school after earning five F's. Then he entered law school and dropped out. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-global warming crusade, and his documentary won an Academy Award, but Gore got a D in science at Harvard. Bush also scored higher on his verbal SAT than did Rhodes scholar and "brainy" presidential candidate Bill Bradley.
"Dumb" former President Ronald Reagan majored in economics. But the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who ran for the presidency, got expelled from Harvard for hiring someone to take a Spanish test.
"Dumb" Republican former President Gerald Ford was ridiculed as a bumbling doofus by Chevy Chase on "Saturday Night Live." Democratic former President Lyndon Baines Johnson famously quipped that Ford, who played football for the University of Michigan, "spent too much time playing football without a helmet." But Ford graduated from Yale Law School, the same school that produced Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The worldly and literate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who ran for president in 2004, didn't exactly kill on his military aptitude test. He got half the questions right and half the questions wrong -- dead average. He explained his poor showing by insisting, "I must have been drinking the night before."
Vice President Joe Biden's 1988 quest for the presidency evaporated when he plagiarized a speech by a British politician. When someone questioned his academic credentials at a campaign stop, the offended Biden claimed that he had a full academic scholarship at law school and graduated in the top half of his class. In fact, he had a need-based half-scholarship and graduated near the bottom -- 76th out of 85.
Elder's column went on from there, and is worth the read. Democrats and leftists would be wise to abandon their "we're smart, they're dumb" routine before the curtain is fully pulled back to reveal some very uncomfortable facts for them.