“Oops” sounds even worse—even more sheepish and abject—if you say it with a Texan accent: something like “Ewps.” It was certainly an arresting moment. When was the last time a would-be emperor denuded himself in the space of a single syllable? Yet it also pointed to more general confusions. Over the course of about a generation, it has come to seem that while the Democratic Party represents the American mind, the Republican Party represents, not its heart, and not its soul, but its gut. The question is as old as democracy: should the highest office go to the most intellectually able candidate, or to the most temperamentally “normative” (other words for normative include “unexceptional” and “mediocre”)? In the rest of the developed world, the contest between brain and bowel was long ago resolved in favor of brain. In America the dispute still splits the nation. Things are slightly different, and more visceral, in periods of crisis. Nine years ago, if you remember, the populace looked on in compliant silence as the president avowedly “went with his gut” into Baghdad. Until very recently it looked as though the GOP had been blessed with the most intensely average candidate of all time. Rick “Crotch” Perry (the nickname derived from his habit of readjusting his blue jeans) was a shoeless farm boy from an old Rebel family, a straight-C student and Aggie yell leader, a devout Air Force pilot who rose to become the potent governor of a major state.
more from Martin Amis at Newsweek here.