Democrats were desperate to get Reagan (pictured here) to agree to debate Carter, whose smartness they assumed would win them the 1980 election. / Levan Ramishvili 

The Politics of Smart

Rick Perlstein talks to Chris Lehmann

Democrats were desperate to get Reagan (pictured here) to agree to debate Carter, whose smartness they assumed would win them the 1980 election. / Levan Ramishvili 
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Welcome to this Baffler podcast, EXPERTS BAFFLED.

In our first episode, Rick Perlstein talks to Baffler editor in chief Chris Lehmann about his salvo “Outsmarted” in the new issue of the magazine. They discuss the curious identity of smartness, American Psycho, the dark underbelly of meritocracy, and the long-term political origins of the “libtard” insult.

Rick Perlstein is a contributing editor of The Baffler and author of Nixonland and other books.

Chris Lehmann is editor in chief of The Baffler and author of Rich People Things. His latest book, The Money Cult, is out now from Melville House.

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 August 3

I was wandering in a smoldering landscape, knowing that nothing could be done. The decisions had been made.