Mary Landrieu last Thursday showed what would be, for many of us, appalling ignorance. Debating against the need to build a fence to keep out illegal immigrants -- a proposal which Landrieu had earlier supported -- the Louisiana senator said to Senator Thune from South Dakota:
A smart fence which is what Senator McCain and I want to build -- since he's from Arizona, I think he knows more about this than the Senator from South Dakota, who only has a border with Canada that is quite different.
Consider just how profoundly ignorant that was for any grownup, to say nothing of a senator who chairs the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. South Dakota has no border with Canada. Perhaps a state which was north of South Dakota might have such a border. Let's see. What state might that be? How about North Dakota?
Curiously, almost exactly three years ago, another elected Democrat, Peggy West of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, in calling for a boycott of Arizona because of its tough law on illegal immigration, noted:
If this was Texas, which is a state that is directly on the border with Mexico, and they were calling for a measure like this, saying that they have a major issue with -- you know, with undocumented people flooding their borders, I would say... I would -- I would have to look twice at this, but this is a state that is a ways removed from the border.
West, incensed enough to support a Milwaukee County boycott of Arizona, did not know that Arizona has a border with Mexico (and worse, suggested that if Arizona did have such a border, then its immigration law might have been justified).
Leftists seem to harbor a profound ignorance of geography, history, and other hard facts which anyone involved in politics ought to know. Candidate Obama famously let slip that he thought that there were fifty-seven states in the republic. He also thought that Auschwitz was in Western Europe, the part which Allied soldiers like his grandfather helped to liberate. Most high school history students know that Auschwitz lay deep in Poland and was overrun by the Red Army, not the American Army. President Obama has called Europe a "country," and he has also said that Hawaii -- where he grew up! -- is part of Asia.
Howard Dean has the same sort of deep-seated ignorance about the world. When asked in December 2003 how he would handle Iran, Dean replied:
The key, I believe, to Iran is pressure through the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is supplying much of the equipment that Iran, I believe, most likely is using to set itself along the path of developing nuclear weapons. We need to use that leverage with the Soviet Union and it may require us buying the equipment the Soviet Union was ultimately going to sell to Iran to prevent Iran from them developing nuclear weapons.
The Soviet Union, of course, had disintegrated a dozen years before. Imagine if a politician in 1934 was asked how best to restrain Germany, and he replied that a summit with the Kaiser to clarify the perspectives of Imperial Germany was the best approach!
How can leftists who are so profoundly uneducated in history and geography rise so high? How can that prize dolt Al Gore be the "expert" on global warming when he states as fact in 2009 that the Earth's interior was "extremely hot, several million degrees," when the temperature is estimated to be less than 15,000 degrees Fahrenheit?
Leftus Ignoramus is the product of several malodorous confluences. First, the left has strived mightily to dumb down ordinary Americans. And it has succeeded: half of all Americans between age 18 and 34 cannot find Texas on a map of American states.
Second, the establishment leftist media gives a pass to every stupid gaffe by its cadres. The gathering of "select" media around Obama today -- a sort of Praetorian Guard of the very Fourth Estate which is supposed to protect us from Praetorian Guards -- ensures that a man who can do only one thing well -- read a teleprompter -- is never tested on his knowledge of the word.
Third, leftists all believe that facts exist only to support ideology, and may even be invented to support leftism. In one case, the notorious "fact" that wife-battering jumped during the Super Bowl turned out to be based upon...nothing at all. Only the persistence of Christina Hoff Sommers uncovered this bit of whole cloth.
Fourth and perhaps most ominously, leftists like to be led by ignoramuses, particularly ignoramuses who are blissfully unaware of just how little they know. Leftists need -- indeed, leftism cannot survive without -- true believers who know nothing but believe that their ideology is true and trumps all facts.
Leftus Ignoramous is no accident. He is a Frankenstein created with purpose.