Well, yes

… of course the White House has contempt for the Republican base. Who knows better how easily manipulated that base is by appeals to fear and hatred? Their problem today is that fear and hatred are working against Bush, Rove & Co.

Peggy Noonan:

This White House thinks its base is stupid and that its heart is in the wrong place.

Mickey Kaus, channeling Noonan:

… the White House really does think its own GOP base is composed of yahoos who can be fooled …

But of course. And the White House is right to think so.

After all, if you weren’t stupid, if your heart wasn’t in the wrong place, if you weren’t a yahoo, if you couldn’t be fooled, then why on earth would you be an enthusiastic Republican today? Rove & Co. ran two campaigns in a row that bet heavily, and successfully, on the gullibility of around half the voters. As as Mark Twain’s “Louis XVIII” remarks in Huckleberry Finn, “Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”

The good news is that the gullibility, even of chronic gulls, is not unlimited. George W. Bush may become the only man in history to go broke (politically speaking) by underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com