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February 20, 2012
Calling Republicans 'The Stupid Party' Is an Insult to Stupid People
Here's a simple exercise that I invite everyone to try: First, and I know this is a stretch -- assume that the Republicans actually want to win the election in November.
Second, catalog in your mind (or, if you are not one of the 47 percent of Detroit (my home town!) , Michigan residents who are functionally illiterate, feel free to write down everything the House GOP majority has done since reclaiming that status in January 2011.
And finally, assume, arguendo, as the lawyers say, that Republicans want to lose in November and tell me one thing that the Republicans who control the House would have done differently.
Stumped you, did I? Well, don't feel bad, I couldn't name a single thing, either... well, okay, they passed and sent 30 job-creating economic bills to the Senate, so there's that. On the other hand, we don't hear much about them, or what's in them.
If I continue to beat my forehead against the wall every time this Congress screws up or misses an opportunity, people are going to start mistaking me for Ayman al-Zawahiri. How badly has this GOP majority screwed up? Let us count the ways.
On second thought, let us not. Until quantum computing becomes an everyday reality, there simply is not enough room on the AT server to hold that much info. Or the Jaguar Supercomputer. So a couple of examples must suffice.
In my last article, published barely more than a week ago, I wrote about Yale Professor Ray C. Fair and his Presidential Vote Equation.
Soon after, Ian Swanson, writing in The Hill, made essentially the same observation I did:
Of course, as more than one AT reader pointed out in the comments to my article, no one can predict the future. Fair's equation could be wrong. But in which direction? On the one hand, the net effect on Obama's vote share of extending the payroll tax cut could be zero, perhaps even negative. But on the other, is it not conceivable that Fair's equation is underestimating the extension's effect? What if extending the payroll tax cut adds twice or three times as much as Fair's predicted 1.3 points to Obama's vote share?
But that's not the point. This is the point: Why take the chance? A permanent reduction of the payroll tax (which, in my article, I urged House Republicans to propose and explained why) is one thing. But why agree to a temporary extension that does nothing substantive or enduring to help the economy - that in fact does nothing except to help Barack Obama get reelected?
Was it fear of mean-spirited editorials in the New York Times and the Washington Post that buckled your knees? Hey, folks, the Times and the Post are going to write that stuff, anyway. It's what they do and if you think anything they write today, eight months before the election, is bad, wait till September, after the convention. Bad? Heck, they're just getting started.
So why cave on the payroll tax cut when there's everything in it for Obama and the Democrats and nothing in it for Republicans?
Because Boehner and Cantor and the entire Republican House majority are stupid, that's why.
In fact, the only thing I can think of that would be dumber than agreeing to extend the payroll tax cut, would be to agree to extend it without extracting from the Dems an equal dollar amount of offsetting spending cuts.
Oh, wait: They did agree to an extension without offsetting spending cuts?
Second example: ObamaCare. Can Boehner and/or Cantor truly be unaware that a solid majority of Americans hate ObamaCare and want it repealed? So why on earth are they not, at least once a month, scheduling votes to do just that? Because they are stupid. And I sincerely apologize to any stupid person I insulted by saying that.
I said I would offer only two examples of GOP stupidity, but on second thought, if congressional Republicans won't keep their commitments, why should I keep mine? So...
Third example: the "government shutdown" battle with Bill Clinton the last time the GOP controlled not just one, but both houses. This writer has a clear memory of those days -- the angry newspaper editorials from the liberal press, the photos of demonstrating temporarily (very temporarily, as it turned out) "unemployed" federal workers. And Bill Clinton's tanking poll numbers. And the nearness of a major, historic conservative victory.
And Bob Dole literally snatching defeat from the jaws of victory at the last moment by caving just 24 hours before Bill Clinton would have, handing Clinton the victory that was virtually within the Republicans' grasp. Were the Republicans weak? Were they outmaneuvered by a clever opposition? Or were they just plain stupid? George Stephanopoulos had no trouble making his choice, writing in his memoir, All Too Human:
The government shutdown fracas, of course, occurred in 1993, and the guilty culprit, Bob Dole, was a senator who, in fact, never supported the shutdown and cut the legs out from under Newt Gingrich and the House Republicans. I cite it to demonstrate that congressional Republican stupidity is not confined to one house and did not begin only yesterday.
Example four, however, is as fresh as the fish with which you wrap this morning's New York Times: the GOP primary proportional voting system that replaces the former winner-take-all system and as we sit here today, looks likely to give us a messy primary season, a brokered nominating convention, a discredited party and quite possibly an Obama victory in November.
But let me end where I began, the House, where Republicans have the majority, but "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" to exploit it. Some might claim that Boehner, Cantor and the whole lot are timid, and up to a point, I agree.
But mostly, they're stupid. And so my message to Boehner and Cantor is a simple one, easy to understand and very much like the one Abraham Lincoln sent to George McClellan:
My Dear Messrs. Boehner and Cantor:
If you are not using your majority, we conservatives should like to borrow it for a short while.
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