You Don’t Have To Be Stupid To Be A Republican Legislator – It Just Seems That Way

I hate to sound like an old fogie,  although chronologically I’m rapidly approaching that point.  But I do remember back “in the good old days” (which weren’t all that good, really) when you could disagree with a Republican on many things, but you didn’t have cause to doubt their intelligence or sanity.   You knew they arguing from the same facts as you were, that they acknowledged an objective reality.  Those days are gone, judging from current evidence.

I can’t read the news feeds these days without getting another example.  I don’t have to look for them, they just keep coming with depressing regularity.  First we had Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment, which he’s (sort of, not really) apologized for, except that his comments in the past show that he’s still “out there” by claiming that it was “common practice” for them to be giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant.”

Bad?  Yes, but then there’s Representative Paul Broun who is busily denying … science.  All science.

All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell,” Broun said. “And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.

Um, yeah, and he’s not, despite his claims, a scientist.  He has a medical degree, but that doesn’t make one “a scientist.”  Yes, I can state that, because I used to work training doctors in doing scientific research.
The really disturbing part about these two is not that they’re nuts, it’s that they serve on the House Science Committee.   If they were the only two, you could write it off, but they’re not.  You have  Michele Bachman claiming HPV causes mental retardation (it doesn’t),  Louie Gohmert coming out with a litany of really stupid remarks,  Steve King thinks women can’t get pregnant through rape or incest, and a state legislator in Arkansas, Jon Hubbard, thinks that slavery was a blessing for African Americans.

“… the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” (Pages 183-89)

That’s a small selection I have.  As I said earlier, it’s a constant litany, and it’s everywhere.  Republicans legislators seem to be inhabiting an alternate reality, where science is false, magic is real; taxes and government are bad, except for taxing poor people to pay when they want something from the government; history is fiction; and women and blacks don’t really have … full human rights.   You can’t debate them when they’re not even working out of the same reality as the rest of us.

Someday, I hope we get back to what was, in “the good old days.”  But for now, it seems that you do have to be stupid to be a Republican legislator.  The evidence is saying that’s the safest bet.

(Update) Phil Plait (The Bad Astronomer) has some thoughts on Representative Broun and various others.

12 Comments

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12 responses to “You Don’t Have To Be Stupid To Be A Republican Legislator – It Just Seems That Way

  1. It is very easy for a conman or a slimeball who would like the steady paycheck that a political job would provide, to jump on the republican tea cart. Hate gays, Obama, liberals, and everyone who is not white and religious. And love the bible, the flag, states rights and everyone who is white and religious.
    Piece of cake….any crazy asshole can do it.

  2. You said: “You can’t debate them when they’re not even working out of the same reality as the rest of us.” That’s it in a nutshell. There is no way to reason with a fundamentally unreasonable person . This is why the debate between Obama and Romney went haywire the other night. Obama shows up to debate about why the sky is blue. Then Romney switches it up out of nowhere and says, “Oh, no – the sky is actually GREEN.”. Obama’s just thinking, “Well, hell…the debate prep team never gave me any info on this “green sky” thing…where did THAT come from?” Romney can just make nonsensical statements and have them come off well, because Obama’s looking passive and put off as he struggles to approach this in a reasonable way. But how can you reasonably debate against delusions and fabrications? It’s a ridiculous situation for the president to have to be in, but Romney’s strategy obviously fooled a lot of people. And it works for all those other GOP politicians you named in your post, too.

    • What Romney did was to employ the Gish Gallop:

      The Gish Gallop, named after creationist Duane Gish, is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer every falsehood in real time.

      He got away with it because a) there’s no way to combat it in the time alloted, and b) the moderator let him.

      The problem is not Romney – although he deserves his share of criticism – it’s that there’s a pernicious streak of idiocy that seems to be a defining trait of Republican officeholders. An alternate reality where “taxes are too high” and supply side economics works. Objectively, taxes are at their lowest point in decades, even a century for some income levels, and 30 years of trying supply side economics showed it to be a miserable failure. An alternate reality where the founding fathers were all born-again Christians who designed the Constitution directly from the Bible. Which doesn’t match up with … history … or the founding fathers’ own extensive writings on the subject.

      • I didn’t know that what Romney did the other night had a name, but that is interesting to learn about. And you’re right, the simultaneous decline in intelligence and rise in delusional behavior that has spread among the GOP is really a scary thing. I’m old enough to remember how different it was, too, and I just can’t imagine what’s in store for us if the trend keeps going in the same direction. There really will be no hope of getting our government to a functioning state if we can’t bridge the gap between reality and the Bizarro World most of these legislators live in.

        • Exactly. As an example, I’m perfectly willing to debate which regulations are unnecessary, obsolete, or counterproductive and should be done away with or changed. I’m not willing to – as they are – go with “regulations aren’t necessary.” History, and bitter experience, says that they are.

  3. Vic78

    I’ve given up on republicans. There’s no hope for them. Obama brought the stupid out of them more than anyone else has. What was really funny was hearing Rachel Maddow talk about the Alabama republicans going out and helping in swing states. I know Alabama republicans and you really don’t want them fighting for your cause politically. They really believe all the Muslim/birther/socialist/fox news/rush nonsense. I’m not at all surprised by O-train’s margins in swing states.

  4. Great comments from everyone. I hope that one day, the sane Republicans will look back at their nomination fiasco and ask themselves why they let it go so wrong and then chose the dumbest, biggest liar in the bunch. They chose the lesser of all the evils they had. And Romney will lose them this election – but he’ll also leave them with a troubling legacy that speaks of lying, deception and inability to define the details of their positions. They’ve got a lot of work to do to redeem themselves. We need a new, better Republican party or something like it.

    • The republicans will NEVER ADMIT that their ideology is a unworkable. No, they double down on their bullshit. Bush was a disaster and instead of facing reality, they double down and say that Bush wasn’t CONSERVITIVE ENOUGH, that was the problem. If Romney loses, they will say that he wasn’t a real CONSERVITIVE. The republicans will never face reality. They will hold on to their bullshit propaganda forever. When fantasy is your reality, reality can’t exist in your bubble world.

      • Some – even many – of them won’t admit it, but they’ll probably end up migrating to various third parties over time, if this happens: They not only lose this election cycle, but through 2020.

    • nathkatun7

      Norbrook, Thank you so much for this post. I am a bit older than you and I am just as appalled at the current state of the Republican party. Forget Dwight Eisenhower, I don’t even think Mr. Conservative, Barry Goldwater would recognize the current teabagg/conservative Republican party. I know progressives and liberal pundits have come down hard on President Obama’s performance in the first debate, but I am not quite sure what he could have done to try to debunk all the lies that Mitt Romney told without sacrificing time to tell the American people about his vision and the policies he wanted to see implemented to achieve that vision. The President thought he could debate with Romney about Ideology and different vision about the future. Instead Romney was all about telling lies about what his vision was all about. Obviously Romney has no vision. He is willing to take two or more conflicting position on an issue so long as that helps him win some votes. All he is interested in is winning the presidency. In such a situation, It’s almost impossible to debate a person who has no qualms about taking multiple and conflicting positions on issues, both minor and major.

  5. I don’t know about that. Their job is just to easy. They have a cult that feed off of anything they say, and their mission is to block everything that might help this country. There is a great FREE ONLINE book available written by Robert Altemeyer, who has studied the crazy rightwing since 1966. Check it our. It is frightening.
    Theauthoritarians.com