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John McCain’s campaign has started running a web ad attacking his GOP primary opponent, J.D. Hayworth, ridiculing him for saying earlier this week that “we never formally declared war on Hitler’s Germany.”
The ad closes with an announcer saying, “J.D. Hayworth: Is it any wonder he was voted among the dumbest members of Congress?” This statement is followed by an image of a Radar Online story from 2006 that listed Hayworth as among “America’s 10 Dumbest Members of Congress.”
With all due modesty, I must say that I was well ahead of the competition on this pressing issue. Back in 1995, when Hayworth was serving his first term in the House, I had him as the sixth-ranked dumb member of congress. Here’s an excerpt:
Hayworth’s entire political philosophy can be boiled down to “Big government, bad; less government, good.” The Arizona Republic has said that “substance has never been a strong suit of Hayworth’s…and that he even has “to read his cliches from a script.”
Though decidedly dumb, Hayworth is also smooth and relentless. “You can’t have a real debate with Hayworth,” says one Democratic staffer. “He talks as passionately about his need to take a No. 1 as he does about the need to cut government spending.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”