Some things don’t deserve a response. They are just so wrongheaded that it doesn’t make sense to legitimize them with an answer. A recent article by Steve Benen called “Rewarding Idiocy” is one of those things. It doesn’t deserve a response, but it’s going to get one from me, if for no other reason than it really frustrated me. Actually I’ll drop the decorum and political correctness, it didn’t frustrate me…it pissed me off.
Benen begins by saying,
By most measures, Republicans have spent the last year acting like children — reckless, disturbed children who fiddle with matches and take pleasure in playing in traffic.
For nearly 13 months, GOP officials on the Hill have engaged in unprecedented abuse of the political process, blocking good legislation, offering insane ideas in response to major national challenges, rejecting their own ideas when embraced by Democrats, and generally being an embarrassment to themselves and the country.
Believe it or not, this is the part I can accept. A liberal pundit insulting Republicans is neither new nor unprecedented. I will quibble with a few things that he said. First, the “unprecedented abuse” that Mr. Benen speaks of isn’t really all that unprecedented. If we rewind 6 years, when Democrats were the minority, they were lauding the praises of the filibuster. In fact, Democrats who are now threatening to unilaterally end the long standing practice took up arms when Republicans threatened to do the same. As Harry Reid so eloquently put it,
“If they, for whatever reason, decide to [eliminate the filibuster], it’s not only wrong, they will rue the day they did it, because we will do whatever we can do to strike back. . .I will, for lack of a better word, screw things up.”
My how times have changed.
Second, Republicans have not blocked anything close to what could be deemed “good legislation.” The Democratic health care reform bill was a catastrophe. It simultaneously forced health insurance coverage on everyone while doing nothing to rein in costs. Making low income people, including young adults, sign up for coverage which they will be unable to afford is what I like to call “bad legislation”
Third, I’m not sure how he can characterize any of the Republican solutions presented thus far as “insane.” The health care alternative presented by Republicans, when scored by the CBO, was found to reduce premiums through increased private sector competition while also reducing the national debt. Moreover, the GOP budget proposal was found to “lower budget deficits,” “result in much less federal debt” and create “a much more favorable macroeconomic outlook.” I know the idea of efficiency and lower spending is ”insane” to many liberals, fortunately Americans disagree. As a recent Rasmussen polls shows, voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on nine out of ten key issues, and have a double digit lead on health care.
Now for the part that infuriates me. Not content to continue with the usual diatribe against Republicans, Mr. Benen turns his wrath on the public. Sarcastically he says,
“Naturally, then Republicans are making major gains in the polls.”
That little line was enough to set me off. It insinuates that Americans are too stupid to realize how awesome the Democrats are. It is a situation best described by Gerard Alexander, who recently wrote in the Washington Post
“American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration.”
However, I’ll take Alexander’s insight one logical step further. Many Liberals (because I refuse to fall into the same trap of overgeneralization) don’t merely view conservative positions as stupid – they view the holders of those opinions as stupid. There is no other conclusion from how dumbfounded and ultimately dismissive many Democrats are that the people are not flocking to their ideas and the polls are not going in their favor. They attempt to cast us as a movement of uneducated, gun-toting, redneck, birthers. Influential liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos, went as far as to say:
“Can we cram them all into the Texas Panhandle, create the state of Dumbfuckistan, and build a wall around them to keep them from coming into America illegally.”
We’re going to need a bigger place than the panhandle because he, like others who attempt to equate the conservative movement with morons, ignores the fact that the majority of people, smart and stupid alike, are unhappy with the direction that President Obama and the Democratic leadership are taking us.
Call Congressional Republicans dumb all you want. It’s probably not good politics in a nation that is tired of partisanship, but it’s your right. But lay off Americans. Perhaps if you took some time to reflect, you’d find it is not a majority of citizens who are stupid, it’s the majority of your ideas.
– Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee