I got the link from Oxblog, whose David Adnesik gave a strong critique of the paper. I don't think it defeats the overall point, but I don't think that was the objective of the criticism.
Adnesik essentially argues that Shogan's article is biased because it presents academia and intellectuals as flawless. Isn't it possible that Republicans dislike the academy because of the certain (liberal) biases contained within it?
This is true, to an extent, and I think it represents a key weakness in Shogan's argument. I do not, however, think it is ultimately overriding. Even if Republicans have good reasons to ignore academics, this section struck me as almost definitely true:
"First, presidential power in the plebiscitary era relies upon the strategy of “going public.” Television is a medium that encourages images of activity and exalted rhetoric. The political era of the sound-byte frustrates an extended intellectual discussion of complex policy issues. Americans now identify directly with the presidency through fleeting visual images, and this connection is more easily forged when the presidency is depicted as “personal” rather than disconnected, antiseptic, and intellectual.
Furthermore, the plebiscitary presidency is dependent upon the creation of “spectacles” that encourage awestruck citizens to become passive spectators rather than active participants in politics.15 Spectacles lend themselves to the portrayal of presidents as energetic, dynamic, hyper-masculine individuals who defeat evil in the name of American democracy, exemplified most recently by George W. Bush’s landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln. The intellectual process of deliberation cannot constitute a spectacle. As images replace political debate, the plebiscitary presidency becomes more anti-intellectual
The glaring dilemma is that domestic and foreign policy have become progressively complex. An inverse relationship has developed between the demands of presidential leadership and its current institutional incentives and capacities. In this sense, anti-intellectualism is an indicator of the larger structural tensions that inhibit presidential leadership. The political benefit of anti-intellectualism is the pseudo-egalitarian connection it forges between presidents and the public. The danger is that the political importance of this connection has supplanted the more intricate demands of executive governance and democratic leadership."
I think this claim is true, as is Adnesik's. Republicans can reject the academy for perfectly solid, principled reasons. However, at the moment it is also in their political interests, because a) their base is motivated by issues that recieve the LEAST argumentative (as opposed to rhetorical) discussion in America (abortion, gay marriage, etc) and b) it allows them to maintain their advantage on national security even as they oppose the very programs (Homeland Security, Nuclear Plant Security, Nunn/Lugar, etc) that protect us. Furthermore, the rational reasons for rejecting intellectualism doesn't mitigate the negative impacts of anti-intellectualism: The impoverishment of political discourse and government via soundbites. Ultimately, the rejection of analysis and debate in favor of rhetoric and assertion will cause the death of American political institutions.