WASHINGTON — If you’ve been paying any attention to the trial heats of the Republican presidential contest, you’ve noticed an alarming trend: the conflating of ignorance with authenticity. Herman Cain’s fans, for example, seem to believe that his profound lack of knowledge about most of the world is one reason to support him. It makes him a regular guy, more trustworthy than those hated “elites” and longtime Washington pols.
The trend isn’t new, of course. Sarah Palin’s admirers responded similarly to her woeful (and willful) lack of knowledge about many of the complex issues that would confront a presidential administration. Palin’s voters didn’t desert her when she showed her abysmal ineptitude about subjects that were routinely in the news. Instead, they blamed journalists who asked her questions she couldn’t answer.