You heard it right. John McCain, responding to an attack by Louie Gohmert (R-TX), said Gohmert is not what you call an intelligent man. This is not news to liberals but McCain himself is known, from time to time, to be a little slow on the uptake.
I wrote the other day about the brewing war between tea party and establishment Republicans, about impulses to take the GOP over altogether and impulses to start a new party. I mentioned the attacks at the Values Voter Summit on some of these establishment Republicans, including John McCain.
One of those attacks was made by Gohmert, who said, to the laughter of the crowd:
I heard just before I came some senator from Arizona. A guy that liked Qadaffi before he wanted to bomb him, a guy that liked Mubarak before he wanted him out, a guy that’s been to Syria and supported Al-Qaeda and rebels. But he was saying today that the shutdown has been a fool’s errand. And I agree with him. The president and Harry Reid should not have shut this government down.
Obviously, McCain was not talking about President Obama and Harry Reid. He was talking about Teddy and the Cruzers and their reckless Cruzade. Teddy and Gohmert thought they were giving America a dirt nap but McCain came at it from an unwelcome direction, saying Republicans had dug the hole for themselves:
We inflicted pain on the American people that was totally unnecessary. We cannot do this again. We, Republicans, have a hole that we’ve got to come out of and obviously we’re going to have to do a lot of work.
Essentially, McCain accused Cruz and Gohmert and the rest of the tea party seditionists of deception, saying, “So, you deceived a lot of Americans and that adds to the cynicism.”
That no doubt rankled Gohmert. But what rankled McCain, obviously, was Gohmert’s accusation that McCain is an al Qaeda guy. So McCain told NBC’s Brian Williams Wednesday, when pressed,
“Sometimes those are, comments like that are made out of malice, but if someone has no intelligence, I don’t view it as being a malicious statement. You can’t respond to that kind of thing.”
Gohmert took a day to come up with a comeback and finally settled Thursday on saying that “McCain would be better off with ‘no intelligence’”:
Obviously, Senator McCain would be better off with ‘no intelligence’ since he does not know the Syrian opposition he met with is infested with al Qaeda and terrorist kidnappers. His ‘intelligence’ even caused him to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt that burned churches and killed Christians, as the senator stood against the will of the massive majority of Egyptians including moderate Muslims, Christians, and secularists who demanded the Muslim Brotherhood extremist persecutions must end.
Apparently, Gohmert thinks his flat-lined intelligence is preferable to McCain’s occasional lapses, but McCain has moments of lucidity that Gohmert will never know. McCain is right. Gohmert is not what you call an intelligent man. He’s not even a good demagogue and will forever play second-fiddle to true experts like Ted Cruz.
You’ll go waiting a long time if you’re waiting for the representative from Texas to say something of substance. When all is said and done, Gohmert is sort of a poor-man’s Santorum, and there is no way to make that sound like a good thing.