No offshore drilling. Platforms would mar this landscape
Paul Krugman hits the nail right on the head with his op-ed today. It’s one of my biggest ulcer-churners, this idea of the politics of stupid.
And the debate on energy policy has helped me find the words for something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Republicans, once hailed as the party of ideas, have become the party of stupid.
Now, I don’t mean that G.O.P. politicians are, on average, any dumber than their Democratic counterparts. And I certainly don’t mean to question the often frightening smarts of Republican political operatives.
What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through“.
Thankfully, Krugman also puts part of the blame where it belongs: On the shoulders of the media and pundit elite, who allow these memes to reproduce and populate across all of the networks, in the context of the Iraq war:
What’s more, the politics of stupidity didn’t just appeal to the poorly informed. Bear in mind that members of the political and media elites were more pro-war than the public at large in the fall of 2002, even though the flimsiness of the case for invading Iraq should have been even more obvious to those paying close attention to the issue than it was to the average voter.
I remember one or two pundits who weren’t so quick to embrace the idea. I still have the image of Wes Clark on CNN saying that going into Iraq was going to fail if Americans didn’t accept the corresponding truth of a long-term commitment and occupation. His words echoed mine, but evidently were only one of about 200 who heard and/or said it. Conventional wisdom today still dictates affirmation of the decision. Most of the negativity you hear around the Iraq war has to do with what we did once we were there, rather than the decision to be there in the first place.
This idea of the ‘politics of stupid’ was driven home to me once again when I read some of the blog responses to Krugman’s column. Consider this one from the Weekly Standard:
Obama’s base, as typified by Krugman, urges a declinist austerity platform, at least until solar power comes on line in 2064. The column is must reading to see the state of the art in Democratic circles regarding the energy debate.
Nearly unintelligible to the thinker, what it says to the simple is that Democrats want you to suffer. Hmmm, did Karl Rove write that column or what? Here’s a newsflash: Solar energy is online now. Maybe not the way it could be, but that’s not our fault. Tell the oil companies to quit stonewalling the patents and lobbying against renewal of incentives.
Or there’s this one from Peggy Noonan over at the Rupert Murdoch rag, the Wall Street Journal:
As for Mr. McCain, I think he had the best moment of the month this week at the big motorcycle convention in Sturgis, S.D., when he was greeted with that mighty roar. And his great line: “As you may know, not long ago a couple hundred thousand Berliners made a lot of noise for my opponent. I’ll take the roar of 50,000 Harleys any day.” Oh, that was good.
This followed Noonan’s ridicule of Obama for his incredibly successful European tour capped by his appearance at the Berlin gate, an appearance that Noonan claims was unearned.
Oh, and that just bangs at the heart of every jealous American out there, the American who missed his/her moment in the sun, the American who envies his neighbor’s pretty wife or her co-worker’s new car.
It appeals to the ugly humanity in all of us.
I suppose it’s the only reasonable counterspin they have in their toolbox. With an incredibly inept and pathetic candidate of their own, the only hope they have is that stupid prevails.