CNN's Cafferty: Perry, Bachmann, Palin Supporters Seem 'Allergic to Brains'

CNN's Jack Cafferty slammed the "intellectual lightweights" leading the Republican presidential field on Wednesday, wondering why their supporters "seem to be allergic to brains."

The CNN contributor labeled the candidates "Curly, Moe, and Larry" and sarcastically dubbed Palin a "MENSA candidate," a term reserved for smart people. Recently he also bemoaned a possible Palin run and gave credence to the conspiratorial theory that Bachmann and Perry are serious members of a theocratic fringe sect of Christianity.

However, he reserved Wednesday for attacking the intelligence level of the three, providing no more evidence than some loopy soundbites. He hit Bachmann for promising $2-a-gallon gasoline and Perry for hinting it would be "treasonous" for Fed chairman Ben Bernanke to print more money. He added that "we already watched Sarah Palin ruin whatever chance John McCain had four years ago, and she's – I mean she's just beyond the pale."

He also lumped them into the same ballpark with fringe Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio). "I think there's a few more whackjobs out there this time," he said of the present field, before adding "Although last time around we had Kucinich, and there – I mean, there's always a few fireflies buzzing around."

And just who are Cafferty's intellectual heavyweights in the GOP? Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, and Newt Gingrich. "I venture to say none of the three has a prayer against Curly, Moe and Larry," Cafferty quipped, "[a]nd that's a sad commentary on the state of our politics, isn't it?

A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 24 at 5:18 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

JACK CAFFERTY: In an election where the Republican candidate actually stands a chance against a weakened incumbent president, so far it is a couple of intellectual lightweights who are stealing the show.

Since Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll and Rick Perry entered the race, these two have been sucking up most of the media's attention, mostly for saying stupid stuff. Like Bachmann's claim that as president she'll bring gasoline down to $2 a gallon. Or Perry's highly inappropriate shot at Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke saying that his actions could be "treasonous."

Meanwhile, some Republicans, including Karl Rove, are suggesting that the former half-term dropout governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, is going to join the race as well. Swell. Palin's people are pushing back against the speculation, saying that anyone who claims to know about her plans is misleading the American people. But Palin has certainly been acting like a candidate, now hasn't she? Showing up in Iowa during the straw poll voting, and (Unintelligible) Iowa-themed political video released ahead of her Labor Day speech which is also scheduled to take place in Iowa. If Palin runs, we'll have yet another MENSA candidate to join Bachmann and Perry. There is no doubt this three-some would consume the lion's share of the media coverage.

At the other end of the intellectual spectrum, there's Ron Paul, who placed a very close second in the Iowa straw poll. He continues to talk sense – whether or not enough people are listening. There's Newt Gingrich – love him or hate him, he's a very bright man. There's also Jon Huntsman, who says candidates like Bachmann and Perry are too far to the right and have "zero substance." Testimony to his intellect right there.

He may be right, but I venture to say none of the three has a prayer against Curly, Moe and Larry. And that's a sad commentary on the state of our politics, isn't it?

Here’s the question: When it comes to presidential politics, why does America seem to be allergic to brains?

(...)

JOE JOHNS: You've got the whole studio laughing here, Jack. But do you really think the crazy talk is worse this year than previous election years?

CAFFERTY: Uh, yeah. I mean we've already – we already watched Sarah Palin ruin whatever chance John McCain had four years ago, and she's – I mean she's just beyond the pale. Michele Bachmann – I'm going to have $2 gas, this guy Perry saying – you know, I think there's a few more whackjobs out there this time. Although last time around we had Kucinich, and there – I mean, there's always a few fireflies buzzing around. But these guys are getting all the attention. Perry's out in some poll today getting 29 percent of the support in some poll – double-digit lead over Bachmann, he's burying Mitt Romney, and he's way in front. I mean, it's a little scary. It's early, but it's scary.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014