February 13, 2011

I really hate stupidity

And the Republicans have let stupidity rule over the last 10 years. It hasn't always been so, though more of the tendency of the last 30 years. And, with the addition of the Tea Party idiots, the stupidity quotient is going up. Look at their budget proposals and you see a group of people who really don't understand how our system works. As Bruce Bartlett notes, many of them newly elected to Congress have no real idea how Congress works--at a literal level. We have seen member after member denounce government healthcare as socialist, while then either complaining about their own coverage, or not even realizing that their healthcare is subsidized by the tax payers.

Read Bartlett further and you realize that the anti-government crowd is incredibly loud and incredibly stupid. Many denouncing government don't even realize the benefits they get or have gotten from government--which reinforces my main argument that people associate government spending with welfare and not with programs that benefit them. The myth of autonomy, or the "bootstrap myth" seems alive and well, and we see that with the newly minted Wisconsin governor declaring war on unions. After all, if you truly believe that you have made every dollar on your own, then why do you want others to get assistance?

Bruce Drake suggests further that the Tea Party nonsense (keep your government out of my medicare) is actually really at odds with the rest of the Republican party. In fact, he says that on most spending cuts and investment issues, that non-Tea Party Republicans are closer to Democrats than to the Tea Party.

Yet, they let them in the tent. They could have laughed at them with the death panels and "keep your government out of my medicare," but supposedly responsible Republicans such as Chuck Grassley decided to cheer them on. Now they may regret that as they have let in the dumbest and dullest into their midsts, and now have to work with people who believe that compromise is communism. Hell, we see people like Pam Geller now denouncing the conservative CPAC as infiltrated by muslim extremists. They are everywhere! Be afraid. Hell, read the story and see the idiots saying that all muslims are extremists.

And the fact is, I think many of those are not truly idiots, nor are they such extremists, but they have been encouraged to think this by people who should know better. SOF and I have been talking about Fox and how people who watch them could have a very hard time not being fear-filled at every single story. After all, watching Fox, you will get a completely different view of everything from the middle-of the road Obama approach on taxation and healthcare to what just transpired in Egypt. Perhaps, if I watched Fox all day, I too, would believe that Muslims were all extremists and linked to communism.

Did anyone see this story? I know it is Media Matters, but this interview with an insider from Fox was quite interesting. The unnamed source (yeah, I know) says straight that the "news" is just made up:
"The source continues: “I don’t think people understand that it’s an organization that’s built and functions by intimidation and bullying, and its goal is to prop up and support Republicans and the GOP and to knock down Democrats. People tend think that stuff that’s on TV is real, especially under the guise of news. You’d think that people would wise up, but they don’t.”"

This is, in big part, the fault of the Republican party. In the guise of expediency and electoral wins, they embraced their new ally in Fox, and then the Tea Party. Now, those with half a brain left find themselves working for idiots and open liars. I would feel sorry for them if the consequences weren't so dire.

I grew up Republican, and certainly believed that there were serious people who supported their policies. I still do, actually. But I no longer believe that the party itself, nor the people running it, are serious people who want government to work. They simply want the rich to get richer, and the rest can suck it.


Smitty said...

But I no longer believe that the party itself, nor the people running it, are serious people who want government to work. They simply want the rich to get richer, and the rest can suck it.

The latter part of your statement, rich getting richer, I believe to a degree. That's their base of support (not their "base," who are people at odds with - but strangely supportive of - the Big Business and wildly rich; by base of support I mean the $$).

The former part...I see your point, and know that we sometimes tend towards hyperbole to make the point we're making. Dealing with politicians day in and day out, I think that they really do want government to work. The votes they take on issues here in Lansing are almost...almost...never as extreme as the platform that brought them there. NO TAXES is a rhetorical device; "sane taxes" become the reality when the bills reach the Governor's desk.

The problem is, as you clearly stated, the rhetoric. The rhetoric brings the stupid. I do believe that there are a few politicians and a number of regular individuals who believe that NO TAXES is a real, viable strategy, and that the smallest government possible, with so few services as to be nearly nonexistent, is an ideal.

There are times when I really think that I want that thought experiment to win. I want that, if for just a few years so that the lazier-but-bright among us see what a bucket of fail that idea becomes, and how quickly it will fail. The realist in me knows that that's not possible; we can't let that experiment win the day, for reasons obvious to you and I...and honestly for reasons that "they" know quite well too. "The votes aren't there" for the truly radical stuff, and never will be, far as I can see.

Now President Palin on the other hand? Well.....

Streak said...

Smitty, I take your point. To be very honest, I am so frustrated with this situation that I am spreading blame and motivation pretty widely. I can concede that.

But on taxes, for example, I see no Republicans at the national level even being willing to consider raising taxes. Well, that is on the rich. As this suggests both parties have participated in raising taxes on the poor.

Am I wrong about that? Is this just about rhetoric? I see Obama throw out a budget that cuts programs that actually help people, all to appeal to the GOP and to represent his conservative fiscal self, I think, and the GOP slams him because he wants to raise some taxes.

And, as you note, there are some, like Palin who are truly stupid, and that was my point about the Tea Party people. As that Bartlett article showed, someof the new people didn't know what an appropriations was, and even asked Scalia if earmarks were "constitutional." These are not the brightest bulbs, and like Palin, many of them don't seem to care that their view of the world isn't correct.

Does that make sense?

Smitty said...

But on taxes...

I agree, and no, you're not wrong at all on that point. That's where political rhetoric and actual policy have converged, on the issue of raising taxes.

Where did I see that article about the Tea Party NO TAXES EVAH slogan was at odds with most Republicans in Congress...if I find it, I'll link it...

The Tea Party is is love child of political rhetoric and the privileged.

Pedro said...

"non-Tea Party Republicans are closer to Democrats than to the Tea Party."

That is why business as usual will continue in Washington in this congress. If you like what the government has been doing the last two years, you can relax because not much is going to change.

Streak said...

Sure, Pedro. Replacing people who at least believe that government can do things with people who think it is evil has to be better, right? Tea Partiers who think that ear marks are "unconstitutional" because they have never actually read the constitution? Or those who selectively decide to nullify laws they don't like, and then assume that they are the only ones who are truly patriotic?

Let me be clear. People who bitch about the current deficit, but refuse to raise taxes on the rich or on people like me--are not serious people. If you are a tea partier, Pedro, then I am sorry, but you are following people who are not only not serious, but not intelligent enough to actually research their own past.

steves said...

Raising taxes is a hard sell at best. I think people would be more amenable to a raise if there wasn't this perception that the gov't "wasted" money. I know that this isn't always the case, but it does happen. There is also a fear that any tax raise will be permanent and that government will just adjust their spending upwards. Again, this is just perception.

I don't think all republicans are anti government. I think that there are some like you say, that just don't really have a good understanding as to how things really work. Health care is a great example.

Streak said...

Steve, I understand both points. But that has been made worse by Republicans who say that any tax is bad, and that government is the problem. And that was Reagan's phrase, right?

steves said...

I believe he did say something to that effect, but in practice he was different. Again, I think most non-tea party people don't have a problem with some government and some spending. Most of this stuff seems to be rhetoric at this point.

Streak said...

I agree with you Steve, which is why teh tea party stuff annoys me and why the Republican rhetoric on taxes is destructive.

And not to be a pain, but rhetoric matters. The rhetoric of no taxes cost Bush I his reelection, and no Republican at teh national level has forgotten that.

i really hate said...

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