After a stint as a White House reporter for the Times after George W. Bush took office in 2001, Frank Bruni wrote a fairly respectful biography of the president, 'Ambling Into History.' But as a recently minted Times columnist, Bruni has betrayed no similar feeling for the current Republican candidates, who 'are to varying degrees yahoos," according to his mocking Sunday Review column "And Now ... Professor Gingrich."
It's Gingrich's braininess - or at least his preening assertion of such - that doesn't quite fit, breaking the Republican pattern of late. How does an ostentatious know-it-all fare so well in a party supposedly hostile to intellectuals and intellectualism?
The candidates who surged before him are to varying degrees yahoos. They proved it anew last week. Michele Bachmann seemed to be under the impression that we had an embassy in Iran, and Rick Perry was definitely under the delusion that the voting age in this country is 21 instead of 18.
Merriam-Webster defines "yahoo" as "a boorish, crass, or stupid person."