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Presidential Gaffes? You betcha.

Posted by Kara Miller, Culture Club  October 14, 2011 08:56 AM

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It's been a good week for the Republican presidential candidates. A brilliant week, in fact.

At least from Saturday Night Live's perspective.

We've seen the rise of the Hermanator. The popularity of 9-9-9 (and, thanks to Michele Bachmann, 6-6-6).

And then, thank goodness, there's Rick Perry.

On Tuesday, while at Dartmouth College, Perry paid a quick visit to a Dartmouth fraternity and told those boys a little something about America's history.

"Our Founding Fathers never meant for Washington, D.C. to be the fount of all wisdom,"
Perry said, just after finishing up a debate at the College.

"As a matter of fact they were very much afraid if that because they’d just had this experience with this far-away government that had centralized thought process and planning and what have you, and then it was actually the reason that we fought the revolution in the 16th century was to get away from that kind of onerous crown if you will."

I wonder what the guys at the fraternity house were thinking. I certainly hope they weren't taking notes for midterms.

Of course, it may not matter if our president thinks Thomas Jefferson washed ashore before the Mayflower. Or that - as Bachmann said - the shot heard round the world was fired in New Hampshire. Maybe American history is best left to the Harvard (or Dartmouth) elites.

One thing that should not be left to the elites, though, is economic policy.

Paul Krugman, stand aside.

This, after all, was the week of Rich Lowrie.

Herman Cain, who is now beating Mitt Romney in some national polls, stepped forward to explain how he crafted his 9-9-9 plan.

My "advisers come from the American people," Cain said at the Dartmouth debate. One, he noted, was Rich Lowrie from Cleveland, Texas.

“He is an economist, and he has worked in the business of wealth creation most of his career," Cain noted.

If you've never heard of Cleveland, Texas, don't worry. Herman Cain probably hasn't either. As it turns out, he meant Cleveland, Ohio.

He also, apparently, meant "economist" in the loosest possible sense, since Lowrie is not an economist (see, for reference, Politico's article: "Herman Cain's economic adviser is not an economist").

According to The Washington Post, Lowrie "has a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Case Western Reserve University, not economics. Lowrie, in an e-mail, said he did not consider himself an economist, just 'senior economic advisor' to the Cain campaign."

And - who knows? - this could be a boon to Herman Cain. After all, you don't need a Ph.D. to have an economic plan. Why not let accountants deal with trillion-dollar deficits and tax overhauls. Decision-making should not be the domain of the elites.

Thomas Jefferson would have been proud. Or Ponce de Leon. Whatever.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Kara Miller is an Assistant Professor of English, specializing in journalism, at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. She also serves as a guest panelist on WGBH-TV's “Beat the Press” and contributes to 89.7 FM WGBH (NPR). More »

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