Thursday, July 15, 2010

Republicans: As Stupid as they Seem

Over at WaMo, Carpetbagger's got a post about how Republicans are Economic Illiterates, because they keep saying that taxcuts don't cost any money, which is why we need more taxcuts.  And of course, progressives came out in droves to insist that these guys really do know what they're talking about, but they're lying for political and economic gain.  And some of them are insisting that Obama and the Dems are part of the problem, or else they'd do a better job of attacking Republicans for it. 

As one guy put it, '"Polite" and "deliberative" don't cut it in politics.'  Yes, because "rude" and "knee-jerk" will prove to be so much more effective.  Somehow, we're supposed to forget that "polite" and "deliberative" won us the Whitehouse; despite assurances by these same people that "polite" would get Obama stomped by McCain.

But my question for them is: Why should we assume that these guys are lying?  These same people display on a daily basis that they're completely ignorant about some of the most basic issues of the day, often saying things that hurt them politically.  And for as much as there's a possibility of them beating us in November, it's in spite of their politics and policies; not because of them.  People might be upset that Obama isn't doing more (though I think this is overstated), but it sure isn't because Republicans are giving anyone a better alternative.

So, why should we imagine that they're any brighter about economic policy?  If they can't even develop a proper political strategy beyond "Keep tossing more red meat to Teh Crazies and hope for the best," why should we imagine that they know anything about tax policies?  Especially as their statements on tax policies are incoherent, and aren't particularly compelling.  Now, perhaps I'm wrong and our country is brimming with moderates and Democrats who are clamoring for any party who promises more taxcuts for the rich.  But I kind of think that this is only red meat for the people who are already pulling them to the right, and isn't going to win over anyone.

So I just think it makes more sense for us to assume that they really ARE this dumb, and if they knew what they were talking about, they'd be making big bucks on Wall Street, rather than having to work every day in Washington; eternally begging for campaign contributions from people much smarter than themselves.  For Republicans, politics is what you do when you're good at talking but can't think of anything useful to say.


Anonymous said...

Do you think that Arthur Brooks, of The Battle, is stupid, or a liar?


Doctor Biobrain said...

Andrea - I don't think those two things can really be separated, as they usually go hand in hand. Particularly for an educated man like Brooks, who should know better. A lot of being "stupid" is self-deception and you're still a liar, even if you believe your own lies.

But with Brooks, I think he lands more on the stupid side of the spectrum, as his arguments aren't clever enough to be made by someone who is aware that they're lying.

Guys like Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove know better, but say stupid stuff because it pays the bills. And no matter how stupid it is, there's always enough truth in there that they can defend it longer than anyone's willing to attack it. But there's nothing clever about Brooks' points and enough research will easily disprove his point.

Similarly, a clever guy like Gingrich would never openly say "tax cuts pay for themselves." He'll use codewords that basically say that exact thing and you'll assume that's what he's saying, but he'll usually couch things with hidden meanings and by the time you've struggled through all his tortured meanings, you'll be too tired to keep fighting. That's how the clever guys do it and they usually make a lot more money than the dumb ones.