Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Blatant Ignorance of Republican Presidential Candidates

Ted Cruz. (photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)
Ted Cruz. (photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

By Charles Pierce, Esquire
In which conservatives continue to defend Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, endlessly perplexing Jonathan Chait.

he symptoms of the prion disease are beginning to become so obvious that even some of our more prominent pundits are beginning to notice them. For example, even former Karl Rove life-coach Ron Fournier has noticed the severe lack of Abraham Lincolns in the current GOP presidential candidates. And noted climate-denialist and baseball drone George Effing Will has staked out the bold position that many of these candidates have gone so far around the bend that they've crossed some kind of termination barrier.
It is, therefore, especially disheartening that Cruz, who clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist and who is better equipped by education and experience to think clearly about courts, proposes curing what he considers this court's political behavior by turning the court into a third political branch.
The problem, of course, is that, for all his expensive education and lengthy experience, Ted Cruz is a nut. And the larger problem is that the institutions of the conservative movement that has cosseted George Effing Will for his entire adult life, and from which he derives his endlessly mysterious influence as a "thinker," were the places where Republicans first ate the monkeybrains containing the prion disease in the first place.

And nobody knows what in the fuck to do about Donald Trump. In turn, this has confused Jonathan Chait, who by and large is a sensible fellow. (H/T to Driftglass, who caught this one first today.)
What is significant and genuinely disturbing, not to mention poisonous to the Republican Party's electoral interests, is the fact that conservative thought leaders feel compelled to defend Trump's nativist ramblings. And not just bottom-feeding outlets like the Daily Caller and Breitbart, either. National Review editor Rich Lowry writes in Politico that Trump "has a point."
Yes, ol' Sparkle Pants did write that today in Tiger Beat On The Potomac.
It's just that a lack of education is an anchor around even the hardest-working person in modern America. This is illustrated in an exhaustive report based on government data, by Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors a lower level of immigration. I rely on it for the figures that follow.
It's no surprise that the editor of a longtime white-supremacist journal would cite a report from the CIS, an aging storage unit of moldy quasi-intellectual nativism.
There's a reason for that. Although you'd never know it to read its materials, CIS was started in 1985 by a Michigan ophthalmologist named John Tanton — a man known for his racist statements about Latinos, his decades-long flirtation with white nationalists and Holocaust deniers, and his publication of ugly racist materials. CIS' creation was part of a carefully thought-out strategy aimed at creating a set of complementary institutions to cultivate the nativist cause — groups including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA. As is shown in Tanton's correspondence, lodged in the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Tanton came up with the idea in the early 1980s for "a small think tank" that would "wage the war of ideas."
So, no, I do not choose to engage this "exhaustive study," because, if its author had concluded anything else, he would have lost his gig entirely. The prion disease is established now. There's nobody who is immune.


+16 # tswhiskers 2015-07-05 12:24
One might forgive a Canadian for his lack of knowledge of American govt. But given that Cruz has clerked for Rehnquist and been elected to the U.S. Senate, WOULDN'T ONE THINK that he would at least have READ the U.S. Constitution or better, have educated himself thoroughly before running for the Senate? I suspect that ignorance as well as nativism is at the seat of so much of current Rep. political philosophy. Until Reps. generally, politicians and voters alike, educate themselves on the basics of the Constitutional form of govt. we will continue to see the endless stupidity and ignorance that has been their hallmark for at least 2 decades or more. The wingnuts have been weeded out; now we see the rest of the party enjoying the bliss of its ignorance.
+25 # CL38 2015-07-05 13:08
Brief synopsis of how today's gop came to be: it began with the formation of the Heritage Foundation in 1973, started by Joseph Coors (Coors Brewery) and Paul Weyrich.

In 1980, Heritage published a 1,077-page book called Mandate for Leadership, which contained 2000 policy recommendations , many of them (65%) incorporated by Ronald Reagan. Recommendations included: rollback of minority programs, dramatic increase in military spending, and cutting taxes. Heritage publishes a new edition every four years for subsequent administrations .

There are twice as many conservative think tanks as liberal ones. We have a handful of progressives: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Russ Feingold, Sharrod Brown, Al Franken to name a few. WHAT ARE THE MAJORITY OF DEMOCRATS DOING TO STOP THE RIGHT??

A brief listing of rw think tanks:
+12 # Barbara K 2015-07-05 13:17
Not a single Republican running has the brains of a dog's toenail. What a bunch of morons who don't have any qualification at all to be President. They act like nitwits. Just imagine what the country would end up as with any one of them? Enough to give us shudders. It takes brains not stupid statements and clownish remarks. This bunch haven't the brains or intelligence of a dead twig all put together.
+1 # tref 2015-07-05 14:53
Whatever makes you think the PowerStructure wants the US to have a President with brains? The dumber they are, the more easily conned.

I don't harbor any illusion about the intelligence of the average voter. However, I think the common sense of the average American is a lot stronger than they are given credit for. The problem is that they've been fed decades of lies that have been carefully composed to hold together, each lie supporting and strengthening the next. What people with good minds and good hearts must do is speak to these Americans the same way as the liars have done but use the truth, as best we know it. Tell people if they don't believe us where they can find the information for themselves. We MUST win the minds of the People if we are to right our ship of state.
+23 # jon 2015-07-05 13:19
What worries me, given the obvious low quality of the Republican candidates, is that their handlers have a plan to make one of them a winner through some kind of electoral fraud. So it does not matter if they are all crazy. The question is, are they unscrupulous enough to do and say what they are told by the multi-billionai res who own them.

The DNC should be building an electoral fraud defense plan now, and should start making noise about it. If they wait until after the fact, they will have no traction.

We all recall how George Bush got into office the first time. This time it might very well be much more pervasive and systematic.
+4 # BobboMax 2015-07-05 14:02
Ref potential electoral fraud, it's worth reading articles like, which includes the following:

"The filing also includes the revealing deposition of the late Michael Connell. Connell served as the IT guru for the Bush family and Karl Rove. Connell ran the private IT firm GovTech that created the controversial system that transferred Ohio's vote count late on election night 2004 to a partisan Republican server site in Chattanooga, Tennessee owned by SmarTech. That is when the vote shift happened, not predicted by the exit polls, that led to Bush's unexpected victory. Connell died a month and a half after giving this deposition in a suspicious small plane crash."
+14 # reiverpacific 2015-07-05 13:35
Here's a comment I received from one knuckle-dragger on posting a video of Bernie Sander's Madison, Wisconsin speech earlier last week. One who'd be likely to vote for one of these Tea-thuglican pinheads.

(quote from email) "So - just how is it that an avowed socialist is going to bring Democracy to the US? The 2 concepts -- in spite of what BHO and others tell us -- are contradictory.
Ask any and all of the folks who've fled the socialist dream states of Russia, China, Cuba, etc. for the past 75 years how they felt about socialism. Why do you think so many of those folks are here in the US?" (quote).
And part of my response.
"The Cubans who are here are the Oligarchy that owned much of the Island under Batista, the Chinese were used as slave labour to build the railroads and there are comparatively few Russians.
Like all "Patriotic" reactionaries, you're very selective in your choice of countries -which as quoted, were Totalitarian Communist regimes, which in no aspect resembles Democratic Socialism as in most European countries post WW11, are quite successful with flourishing small, medium and even large business climates but also free education, medical care, well maintained infrastructures and sensible, short Parliamentary election sequences and strict gun controls.
South America is mostly Socialist also now that the US Jackboot is off their necks and doing well. Brazil in particular, is now the fifth or sixth in order global economy by itself.
+15 # reiverpacific 2015-07-05 13:43
(Continued) "No place is perfect at least you admit that the US of Armaments isn't a "Democracy" -it's an Oligarchy dominated, dictated to and moving backwards at the hands of a military/corpor ate combination which never encountered a right wing banana republic it couldn't support, arm and train to put down any regime that dares to try and instigate any form of self-sustaining democracy; Honduras is but the latest example -I've lived and worked in many of them.
That's why many of their people flee here.
You need to get out a bit and take the blinkers off, Bubba". (end of email quote).
I've had no further response- but the point is that there are millions of similar ignoramuses in this country willing to swallow the WANTON, deliberate ignorance -a.k.a. lowest common denominator appeal quotient- and vote blindly for the eventual reactionary nominee, rather than take some time to actually read and research populist-based systems and candidates which would benefit them and their families.
The vapid, content-lite owner-media feeds into and on this of course and profits hugely from it.
+7 # mozartssister 2015-07-05 14:12
We don't even need a Lincoln. An Eisenhower would do.
+3 # Aliazer 2015-07-05 14:38
No matter whether ignorant or knowledgeable, either democratic or republican, this government will still be delivering goods and services for the 1% while the rest will not count in the least.

Our "democracy" and Constitution was highjacked a few years ago and unless the people will take a position to rectify this theft, nothing will happen whether smart or ignorant. Simply compare an Obama or a Bush!!!
+3 # tedrey 2015-07-05 14:42
A cabal of blithering idiots that don't even know how to blither effectively.!

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