Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dumb Robots

Per the AP:
Republicans in House races copied their party's talking points and included parts of the answers as their own for an AARP survey. The answers related to Medicare, Social Security, insurance plans and retirement.

Candidates in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, South Carolina and Texas all submitted the sometimes word-for-word responses, which originated with the National Republican Congressional Committee.

That’s right.  When asked to explain their positions on the issues, at least seven Republicans preferred to plagiarize the Cliff Note’s version.  And this isn’t the first time.  The article says that at least five Republicans did it in the last election cycle too.

The article also said that some of the candidates are trying to pretend as if this was a good thing, that they couldn’t write their own responses.

"Ralph has his own ideas, but we are lucky to have the NRCC's help during this campaign because it's more evidence that Ralph has what it takes to bring change to South Carolina and Washington," said Rob Godfrey, communications director for Republican Ralph Norman's campaign

Relying on his party to tell him what he thinks is what South Carolina and Washington need??  I guess the fact that these talking points came from Washington, and in fact, the very people in charge of Washington for the past few years, is a little lost on them.  Or is Godfrey perhaps suggesting that Ralph’s plagiarizing showcases his efficiency and ability to delegate to others?  Much like how Bush has delegated all of his writing and thinking tasks to his “subordinates”.

Another campaign tried a different tact: To act as if this indicates the candidate’s high level of expertise on the issues.

Van Taylor's campaign in Texas said the language helps the candidate understand the issues.

"It's only natural when we were running for Congress, he wanted to become as knowledgeable as he could on the issues," said Casey Phillips, Taylor's campaign manager.

Wow, this guy is such an expert that he can rely on talking points to present his positions…the same talking points that several other candidates relied on.  I’m sure of all the material ready to be plagiarized, Van Taylor used his expertise to determine which one was the best.  Sure, some people might think it odd that a “knowledgeable” candidate would have to rely on talking points just a few months before the election; but those people obviously haven’t figured out that the most knowledgeable thing you can do is to copy your work from someone even more knowledgeable.  That’s why everyone always steals my material.

Zombie Answers

All joking aside, it’s obvious that Republicans really don’t want knowledgeable candidates.  And what Taylor’s campaign manager meant in that last quote is that he wanted his candidate to appear as knowledgeable as he could on the issues.  That’s why you’d steal answers.  But stealing answers certainly wouldn’t make you more knowledgeable, and would indicate the exact opposite.

And when you get down to it, that appearance is about the most the typical Republican wants from their politicians anyway.  And while they might not like to hear that their candidates are so clearly taking notes from the national party, that really is what they expect.  The GOP has crafted a very vague and easily agreeable platform for their peeps, and Republicans from various backgrounds and ideologies can hear the same words and imagine that it was tailored just for them.  Because they only hear what they expected to hear and the message is so totally meaningless that it always works.

And the truth is that these candidates probably don’t have a significantly different positions than the one they cribbed for the AARP.  So it’s probably for the best that they’re so obvious about the fact.  Because that’s just not who most Republicans want.  They want someone to fill seats that Democrats might take and to vote as they’re told.  They want these guys to live-up to Rush Limbaugh’s fantasy candidate.

And for all the talk of the few Republican “mavericks,” they’re generally older generation guys from before this current crop of zombies came about; and even the mavericks have done a good job toeing the line.  It’s only the appearance of maverickness that they’re really after.  Always striving for the moderate-edges on a few key issues, which they can use to show their wild side; before falling back in line when it comes to the final vote.  And it all comes down to accepting that GOP money and being spoken well of by the others.

But the truth is that Republicans don’t want hundreds of different politicians coming up with their own ideas, policies, and platforms.  They want hundreds of dopes who can look good while reciting the proper script.  They don’t want political leaders.  They want the Borg.  That’s why they always talk about independence and freedom and all that other good stuff; because that’s all they really require.  Actions speak louder than words and these people have very very sensitive ears.