In my previous post, I talked about how Republicans broke an “unwritten rule” when it came to the filibuster. While I’m not alone in saying “It’s about time!” I’m also aware of the various reasons behind the Senate’s unwillingness to change the filibuster rules. This is not, by any means, a “new discussion,” in that filibuster reform has been talked about for quite some time, with serious pushes being made by Senator Merkley over the past two sessions. So why do it now?
Tag Archives: Tea Party
After I graduated college, I joined the military. To be honest, I was cocky as hell. I knew I was smart, I had a college degree, and I was going to set the military world on fire with just how good I was. Yes, I was pretty arrogant, even after basic training. Then I reported to my permanent unit, and was given a quick lesson in humility. I was at best “average” for my unit, almost all of us had not only college degrees, but advanced college degrees. The people we were working for? The world experts in their fields. I quickly learned to keep my head down, and work my ass off to keep up. The lesson was that I wasn’t necessarily (or even often) the smartest person in the room, and that there was always someone who was smarter and better at something than I was. It doesn’t mean I don’t have moments where I’m an arrogant asshole, but it’s not a regular part of my personality. Over the years, I’ve met a number of people who either never seemed to have gotten the lesson I did, or if they did, it didn’t take. More recently, I’ve been watching a number of Republicans who fit that description.
One of the things I try to do is to make a distinction between ignorance and stupidity. Everyone is ignorant about something, or even many things. Ask me about quantum physics, and I’ll be able give you a brief “Popular Science” summary, but not in any way, shape, or form will I have a real knowledge of it, particularly the math. There’s a host of things I’m ignorant of, and I’m quite aware that I’m ignorant about them, as well as that I’m ignorant about things that I’m unaware exist. Ignorance is correctable. I can learn, and after working on that, I won’t be ignorant any longer about that particular thing. Stupidity is something else. It’s not just ignorance, although that can be a factor, it’s unwillingness to learn, even from experience. The old saying “once burned, twice shy” means that you learned something. You get burned, and you’re careful around heated items in the future. Stupidity is “just how many times do you have to be burned to know that hot items will burn you?” In reading through various news reports after the shutdown was ended, I realize that there is a group of Republicans in Congress who are giving stupidity a real workout.
Back in the early part of the year, there was an event called “the sequester” which took place. That was an across-the-board cut in every department of the federal government. The reason it was put in as part of the 2011 budget negotiations was that it was considered to be so draconian, so insane, that it would force all concerned to negotiate a real budget. It didn’t work, and the biggest complainers about the effects? The Republican areas. Apparently, that wasn’t enough to teach these people, so now we have the government shutdown.
Back in the heady days after the 2008 election, after Democrats had taken the presidency and control of both houses of Congress, there was a lot of exuberant chatter on various liberal blogs about the “end of the Republican Party.” Personally, I thought it over the top, remembering Karl Rove’s prediction of a “permanent Republican majority” and how that turned out. Then came the Tea Party, and with it, the takeover of the House by Republicans in 2010. One might note that it wasn’t because of the country’s “turn to the right” as many “pundits” and the conservative press put it, but rather the combination of much lower turnout by Democrats and the more usual low mid-term voter participation.