According to Francis Poretto:
In the early part of the Twentieth Century, the electorate appeared to respond more readily to brainy politics -- that is, to claims of intellectual elevation -- than anything else. Look at the presidents of that time:
* Woodrow Wilson, a former college professor.
* Calvin Coolidge, a professor of law.
* Herbert Hoover, "the Great Engineer."
* Franklin D. Roosevelt and his "Brain Trust" of socialist theoreticians.
In five of the six presidential elections from 1912 through 1932, the electorate chose the man with the more credible claim to high intelligence and an advanced education. This pattern came to an end with World War II, after which the supposedly brilliant Adlai Stevenson lost twice to retired general Dwight Eisenhower. A transition from brainy politics to fearless politics had occurred;
I can remember how everyone on the left thought Eisenhower was dumb. How dumb could he have been, if he successfully ran the war in Europe? Reagan was "an amiable dunce"--I guess it was just blind good luck that caused him to triumph over Communism. And now Bush is "stupid," "delusional," etc--while at the same time being diabolically crafty and dishonest.
If Jimmy Carter was a smart president, I'll take dumb every time.