Everyone knows Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
House Republicans have voted 40 times to abolish Obamacare, despite the certainty that the Senate will reject such a bill.
That’s one reason this is the most detested Congress in the history of polling, which PPP reported this year is more unpopular than colonoscopies (by 58-31 percent) and root canals (65-32 percent).
Senate Republicans are part of the effort to delay, obstruct or sabotage, too, conducting some 420 filibusters since Obama took over, and currently manufacturing a debt ceiling crisis to shut down the government. The CBO estimates that such brinksmanship will cost 750,000 jobs this year, and 900,000 next year.
In the run-up to the last election, LA Times columnist Paul Whitefield wrote that that “What this country needs are laws to keep stupid people from voting.” Or serving in congress.
Former Sen. Roman Hruska (R-Neb.) once justified electing dimwits to Congress on the grounds that there are a lot mediocre people and they are entitled to representation, too.
Whitefield opined that anyone who still thinks Obama is a Muslim or was not born in America would not pass the blockhead test. (You know who you are.)
Whitefield may have been channeling the English philosopher John Stuart Mill: “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.”
Even some Republicans share those sentiments. Gov. Bobby Jindal, for example, has referred to the Republican Party as the “stupid party,” and Sen. John McCain called some tea partiers “whacko birds.” That would make them the crazy wing of the stupid party. Nobel economist Paul Krugman recently agreed: “The madness of the GOP is the central issue of our time.”
John Kerry told some German students recently that “In America, you have a right to be stupid, if you want to be.” Maybe he was thinking of Texas Republicans, whose 2012 Party Platform contained the astonishing statement: “We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS), critical thinking skills and similar programs...” They are apparently determined to raise Republican voters.
We just had an election in which 49 percent of GOP voters nationally said they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama, an amazing accomplishment for an organization that disbanded in 2010. House Republicans nonetheless voted 12 times to block federal funding for ACORN after that.
But then, even more Republicans — 59 percent — thought that ACORN also stole the 2008 election. Five independent investigations by five different states failed to come up with one fraudulent vote attributable to ACORN. The state investigations found that the tapes of two charlatans dressed as a pimp and a prostitute conducting “interviews” with ACORN had been doctored. Predictably, Fox news ran a non-stop loop of the fraud, just as they did with the Shirley Sherrod scam tape.
This demonstrates the reality of euphemistically labeled “low information voters.” They are called that because it would be politically incorrect to call them low IQ voters, which might raise the question of, who knows, IQ tests to vote.
They are among the targets of the GOP’s agitprop campaign of resentment, race-baiting and conspiracy theories. The goal is to distract the yahoos and to get the simpletons to take to the streets to demand lower taxes for billionaires and less spending on health, education and social insurance for themselves so the GOP can shovel even more money to the wealthy.
The conservative media are part of the program. For example, in the last three elections, Fox provided almost daily coverage of two Black Panthers standing quietly outside a Pennsylvania polling place, apparently about to steal the entire election. Fox ran at least 95 segments over two weeks in 2010 to remind people how scary blacks are, and even issued an election-day “alert” in 2012 about one Black Panther.
To maintain their hold on power, Republicans have no qualms about pushing voter ID laws in virtually every state to suppress voting by minorities and poor people. Maybe they hope to return to the time when only the white landed aristocracy could vote. If Republicans can propose such anti-democratic measures, shouldn’t we consider eliminating voting by stupid people? We can predict the result.
A recent Pew poll found that just 19 percent of Americans now identify as Republican, down from 30 percent a decade ago. Is it any wonder?
Tom Maertens served as National Security Council director for nonproliferation and homeland defense under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and as deputy coordinator for counterterrorism in the State Department during and after 9/11.