Okay, not good.
Incoming House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes couldn't sort out the main players in the Iraq conflict in an interview with Congressional Quarterly.
When asked whether Al Qaeda was Sunni or Shiite, he guessed Shiite.
Al Qaeda is rabidly Sunni -- so much so, opined CQ interviewer Jeff Stein, that"if a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball."
In fact, it is the stated objective of Al Qaeda in Iraq to spur civil war by conducting and supporting attacks by Sunnis against Shiites.
Pretty basic. Pretty fundamental. For the incoming Intel Committee chair not to know it is pretty bad.
Even I knew the right answer on this one, and I'm just your average, college-educated, mid-level, corporate professional who reads the newspapers -- not a major political leader about to be appointed chair of perhaps the most important House committee.
Remember, Reyes is a member of the party that keeps telling us how much smarter they are than the rest of us and how they're going to fix everything.
I don't feel very well.
One more note -- when President (then candidate) Bush failed a similar pop quiz by a reporter a few years ago, I recall it was the subject of much media attention and chuckling. Yet I see little pickup of this story about Reyes. Interesting.