Last week David Brooks posed a question:
(Why do the Democratic candidates pretend to be smarter than they really are, while the Republicans pretend to be dumber?)This morning Paul Krugman bases an answer to the second half of the question on Rudy!'s claim to be a 9-11 recovery worker and Mitt's claim that his sons are serving his campaign in lieu of service in Iraq:
What’s now clear is that the two men most likely to end up as the G.O.P. presidential nominee are cut from the same cloth.<primal scream> Nooooooooooooooaaaarrrrrrggghhhthh! </primal scream>
This probably isn’t a coincidence. Arguably, the current state of the Republican Party is such that only extreme narcissists have a chance of getting nominated.
To be a serious presidential contender, after all, you have to be a fairly smart guy — and nobody has accused either Mr. Romney or Mr. Giuliani of being stupid. To appeal to the G.O.P. base, however, you have to say very stupid things, like Mr. Romney’s declaration that we should “double Guantánamo,” or Mr. Giuliani’s dismissal of the idea that raising taxes is sometimes necessary to pay for things like repairing bridges as a “Democratic, liberal assumption.”
So the G.O.P. field is dominated by smart men willing to play dumb to further their personal ambitions. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, to learn that these men are monstrously self-centered.
All of which leaves us with a political question. Most voters are thoroughly fed up with the current narcissist in chief. Are they really ready to elect another?