JONATHAN CHAIT AUGUST 29, 2011
When assessing Rick Perry and the anti-intellectualism issue, here's one thing to keep in mind. Conservatives generally believe not only that George W. Bush was a true intellectual, but that this question has been settled by history, and awaits only the apologies of those who questioned the 43rd president's intellectual curiosity. Jonah Goldberg, in a column on Rick Perry, makes a glancing reference to this interpretation, not bothering to even substantiate what he apparently regards as obvious:
It’s already a cliché among liberals to describe [Perry] as the sort of cartoonish, ignorant cowboy they thought George W. Bush was (though to date, nobody feels the need to apologize to Bush for misinterpreting him).
Jennifer Rubin does bother to substantiate it, regarding the fact that Bush read history books, and that his administration had policies, as sufficient proof of his intellectual prowess:
The knock on George W. Bush that he was an anti-intellectual and uninterested in policy turned out to be dead wrong. He was an avid history reader and championed (unsuccessfully in some cases) detailed policies on stem cell research, Medicare Part D, education, immigration reform, Social Security and tax reform. And he went outside the Pentagon bureaucracy to redesign the Iraq war policy and implement the surge.
Conservatives have expressed the fear that Perry's knucklehead ways could amount to a perception problem in the general election. But, if he wins the nomination, don't expect many of them to concede the substance of the point.