Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I Just... I... Jesus

I have been hearing about this video for a couple of days now.  I tried not to watch it.  Not sure "nut picking" is healthy.

But holy crap.

The level of pig ignorance is obscene.  But then again, I obsess about this stuff.  When I moderated the student mock presidential debate, I was stunned that very bright students - when given the questions in advance - could not come up with better answers.

Then again, I do follow this stuff compulsively.  Both the politics and the policy.  It's my hobby.  You could probably do the same sort of interview at an Obama rally.  It wouldn't be quite so blatantly surreal, though.  You wouldn't have the parroted attack lines that are demonstrably false.  The apology tour, the socialism, the atheistic, communistic Muslim.  Instead you'd get some boilerplate about health care or "caring about us" that wouldn't hold up to much scrutiny.

All of which suggests three things to me.

First, is that populism is dangerous.  It's unavoidable, perhaps, but dangerous.  I thought Obama should embrace the OWS message more closely, be more stridently populist.  Instead he has a sort of apologetic populism.  "You know, maybe we should raise taxes a little bit on those like me who are already well off."  Mary Ellen Lease he is not.

But mindless populist attacks create mindless voters.  The big worry at the moment is that Obama is going to win a narrow popular vote victory and a more comfortable electoral college victory.  But the Fox News Wurlitzer has been spinning the "Romney is winning" theme for weeks.  When he loses... well all those mouth breathing idiots above will just "know" that the election was stolen.  They will know this the same way they "know" Obama is a communist, an atheist and a Muslim at the same time.  They will know this in the same way they "know" Obama is taking away freedom of religion and flying drones overhead to keep an eye on gun owners.

Second, that there is a place for expertise.  And that place should be at the top of presidential tickets.  I would bet you dollars to doughnuts that the overwhelming majority of the people in those interviews loved Sarah Palin.  Loved her.

Mitt Romney may very well be a moderate technocrat in some sense.  Maybe.  Who the hell knows?  He has run such a fundamentally dishonest campaign - see the Jeep attack recently - that he seriously makes Nixon look like Adlai Stevenson.

The character of Romney's campaign should disqualify him from any rational person's ballot.

But it won't.

Finally, this thundering ignorance of policy specifics suggests that there is some merit in having actual ideological parties.  The GOP is already there and the Democrats are right on their heels.  Of course, you can't have only TWO parties in an ideological party system.  You need more.  But our electoral system cannot tolerate third parties.

And so we are left with a system that both polarizes left and right, but an electorate that - in order to justify their vote - has to embrace ridiculous positions that they don't even examine because they have to support them as partisans. And with the GOP moving even further right, then their voters have to take the positions of the Tea Party, no matter how ridiculous those positions might be.

Just like Mitt Romney has done.

So don't think that Romney - if he gets elected - will somehow morph back into Massachusetts Mitt.

He's a member of the modern GOP and the people above are his people.

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