Monday, January 18, 2010

Politics Causes Brain Damage

I almost dropped my Sunday New York Times yesterday when I read former Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Bob Kerrey's statement that Massachusetts is about to elect a Senator who "doesn't believe in evolution." Of course, what Scott Brown doesn't believe in is ObamaCare. Apparently Bob Kerrey can't tell the difference.

Or, more accurately, he doesn't think there is one. The self evident correctness of his preferred position is so obvious that all opposition can only be based on ignorance or self interest.

The comment itself doesn't surprise me. That it comes from Bob Kerrey, who is smarter than that, does.


Anonymous said...

Like he's the first politician to say something stupid!

kurt schuller said...

My name is Kurt Schuller and I am running for state treasurer. I am a Tea party inspired republican who want to eliminate the elected position of Treasurer and Secretary of State. These offices are unneeded and have become a vehicle to reward political patrons with cushy jobs. Rep Scott Suder
and others have twice tried to introduce constitutional amendments to eliminate them but to date efforts have been unsuccessful. I want to win the job so that I can work from the inside to lobby for elimination.

I am opposed by Scott Feldt in the republican primary. Seems like a really good guy but he is for the status quo. He has spent most of his career in and around established government, both elected (Rock County supervisor) and as a hired government administrator.

I have worked most of my life in the restaurant business and owned and operated Wolfendales restaurant in Sussex Wisconsin for ten years. I have never held political office. I have no money to get my word out and am hoping that those in the conservative blogosphere who agree with me will help raise awareness of my campaign.

check me out at If you agree with me that its time to shrink our bloated government then spread the word

Anonymous said...

There is no documented proof that Scott Brown is a creationist. There is documented proof that he thought Sarah Palin was a great candidate for vice-president, and that he questioned whether Barack Obama was born out of wedlock. So, you know, six of one, half a dozen of the other.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

I don't think politics causes brain damage - I think it requires it.

Massachusetts is about to elect a guy who is against federalizing what he voted for at the state level, and nobody seems to care about the contradiction. The partisan hacks who support the guy are brain damaged enough that the hypocrisy requires doesn't even register.

There's the brain damage that has to be required for people from your party to complain about deficits. I still can't wrap my brain around that one. Obama inherits a trill and a half deficit and suddenly the entire debt was all his fault. The best man at my wedding was a hack in the Bush White House and his facebook page is full of complaints about spending and debt. I called him on it once and this guy, a Harvard and LSE grad, found preposterous ways to justify it. I guess he must have been in a car accident and suffered frontal lobe damage I never knew about to engage in such cognitive dissonance.

Courts overturning referenda? It's the downfall of civilization when gay marriage is imposed, but if a referendum on paid sick leave is overturned there's no complaint, nor an acknowledgement of the blatant hypocrisy. Obama complaining about inheriting the economy? Fair game, but do an archive search of a winger blog and lo and behold Bush inherited the 2003 recession!

Then there's the left. 60 votes and these ass clowns couldn't put together a bill and ram it through. Could have started small with something that would get a Snowe or a Collins but no. Putting holds on everything was fine when the GOP was in charge but now it's obstruction and vice/versa.

There's the local idiots who seem to think there's no limit to the community's ability to support their union benefits. Walker ruined Milwaukee County but Doyle's unimaginably out of whack budgets are just hunky dory.

I just don't know how all you hacks engage in the hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance required for partisanship. I couldn't do it.

Rick Esenberg said...

I am not familar with Scott Brown's record on Massachusetts plan but even assuming that it is the same as ObamaCare (I know it had many of the same elements), there is no necessary hypocrisy in opposing the federalization of something that one might favor at the state level. While I don't know if this applies to Brown, one might have a very principled argument - rooted in federalism - for doing so.

Beyond that, the "hacks" who support Brown presumably do so because they think ObamaCare is a bad idea. Brown will oppose it. In a world where we can't create ideal candidates, that's enough.

As for the deficit, people from "my party" have often been critical of Bush's fiscal policy. The idea that Bush was sometime of ur-conservative is an invention of the left. In many ways, he was conservative at all.

Beyond that, it seems to me to be a form of "brain damage" to say that, because Bush did not exercise fiscal restraint, Obama is immune from criticism on what is a much more significant commmitment to growing the size of the government.

I know it is appealing to sit on the sideline and imagine that one is above all of the "hacks" who make the compromises that are necessary to atually make policy. It is tempting to imagine that there is some "nonideological" or nonpartisan solution to difficult problems.

But these are illusions. Don't kid yourself into thinking they are virtues.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

Brown’s opposition to HCR has nothing to do with principled federalism. It's because he can’t garner any republican support if he advocated today that which he advocated only a few years ago and still does. It’s hackery, plain and simple.

It’s ironic you criticize me for not understanding the compromises necessary to make policy. Finding those compromises is what I do for a living and that’s why I think political parties should be banned by law. It’s why I argue all the time with hacks ranging from Fraley and Robinson to Plaisted and Capper.

And speaking of compromise, isn’t it your party that refused to negotiate on health care reform, the stimulus, and pretty much anything else? Other than Olympia Snowe, who your party labels a RINO.

I’m not talking political philosophies. I understand those differences, I see merits and problems with all sides, and so I refuse to adhere to either. Strict adherence to philosophy or ideology is brain damage that rejects thinking and analysis. It’s what leads to the political hackery in which both parties and their supporters routinely engage - the difference being that right now it’s really all your party has.

I strongly agree with Churchill’s quip about spending 20 minutes with the average voter. If this country were made of intelligent people capable of self-governance, Karl Rove would be mocked off the air when he complains about deficits. Orrin Hatch would have his microphone forcibly removed, be stripped of his office, and forced to sit in a dark room to think about saying “weren’t in the practice of paying for things” when your party passed debt-finance prescription drug benefits and tax cuts. Mr. Brown would be booed off the stage when he opposes health care reform, built on many 1990s GOP ideas, structured essentially the same as the version he previously supported, solely because the other party is proposing it.

How am I supposed to take seriously a party that goes batshit crazy at the President for doing the exact same thing as a Republican President did to an attempted shoe/underwear bomber? How am I supposed to take seriously a party that complains about deficits yet has no suggestions for spending cuts and whose only policy prescription is tax cuts? How am I supposed to take seriously a party whose supporters think communion for pro-choicers is a big deal but are entirely silent on supporters of torture, the death penalty, deportation, and telling the poor to fuck off? How am I supposed to take seriously a party that went nuts over a vice presidential nominee who doesn’t know how much energy her state produced, or what the vice president does, or who thinks Iraq had something to do with 9/11? No, Rick. Just, no.

I understand you do not like the policies of the President and Congress. Neither do I. Seriously, I don’t. Unlike a brainless hack, or someone emotionally tied to ideology regardless of the circumstances, I’m willing to grant that people smarter than I have had to make these policies out of necessity, so I can give the benefit of the doubt for a short time. The problem is, I don’t see any viable alternative. I see on the one hand policies I don’t love but that at least appear to contain some measure of thought, and on the other a party of no ideas, no credibility and very little intelligence. What is the GOP alternative to fiscal issues or health care? Tax cuts! Nothing else. Don’t touch Medicare or Defense. Well ok, we could eliminate everything else and still have massive deficits. My fucking thee year-old can scream “tax cuts!” so thank you but I will pass. I’m not saying this as a liberal.

Seriously Rick, can you explain in a single post why the GOP resembles a credible alternative to the Democrats right now? Do they have credibility on anything? Any issue at all? Is there any part of the GOP’s message that should make me think, “you know, this sounds like a good idea into which they’ve put a lot thought”?

Display Name said...

Wow, AnotherTosaVoter. :-)

krshorewood said...

Rick, the only person from your party who ever criticized Bush about deficits was Ron Paul. One person doesn't count.

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