Home / Culture and Society / Two Weeks in Stupidville: The Republican Party Doubles-Down on American Ignorance

Two Weeks in Stupidville: The Republican Party Doubles-Down on American Ignorance

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Just when I think I’ve seen it all, the GOP does something else that defies logic and reason.

1. Earlier this month GOP Rep. Allen West said “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.” Last week West doubled-down on his claim, saying that “There is a very thin line between communism, progressivism, Marxism, Socialism. It’s about nationalizing production, it’s about creating and expanding the welfare state, it’s about this idea of social and economic justice… it is also about the creation of a secular state.” For those who take our national tradition of separation of church and state seriously, read his last phrase very carefully.

2. Jesse Kelly, the GOP nominee running for Gabby Giffords’ House seat in Arizona, had this to say when a voter asked him if he thought healthcare was a privilege and not a right: “Absolutely, absolutely. I believe that all things we have are. But they’re privileges you earn.” Apparently, Mr. Kelly feels that when people are denied health care for preexisting conditions (like my oldest son) or who have reached the dollar-limit set (often without notice) by their insurance companies, such people simply haven’t earned the “privilege” of health care insurance.

3. Not to be left out in the national quest for stupidity, the Republican-controlled House got in on the act. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) want to cut $78 billion from safety net programs like prevention and public health, food stamps, and foreclosure prevention. Why? To prevent cuts in defense spending, thereby adhering to one of the most sacred of GOP tenets: Thou Shalt Not Cut Defense Spending!

4. Remember the Family Research Council that sponsors the Value Voters Summit every fall? You know, the conference that no serious Republican candidate for president dare miss? Well, its president Tony Perkins says that the birther issue is not dead, that it is a legitimate issue and that “we’ve done great harm to foundation of our government by marginalizing and attacking anyone who brings up a legitimate issue.” Never mind the sheer ludicrousness of the notion since said conspiracy would require the deliberate cooperation not only of Obama’s family, but also of the hospital where he was born, the government agency in Hawaii responsible for recording the birth certificates and keeping them secure, and the Republican governor of Hawaii. Once more my own observation is justified: Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

5. Mitt Romney says he supports extending the interest rate cut on student loans. So does Mitch McConnell. Problem is, it looks like the Republicans won’t go for it. Why? Because in order to pay for it, Harry Reid wants to close a tax loophole – even if said loophole is called the “John Edwards Loophole” because he used it to game the system to avoid paying payroll taxes. So even if a tax law unfairly benefits certain businesses (which is what the original Boston Tea Party was all about), Republican Dogma is clear: Thou Shalt Not Raise Taxes No Matter What!

6. In fact, according to Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), because of federal student loans, “America has got the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism.” Never mind that getting rid of the private-lender middleman not only saved students beaucoup bucks, but also saved the American taxpayers $68B over the next decade. Hm, let me see, who should we look out for? The students? The American taxpayers? Or the private lenders, the middlemen who would “administer” the 100% taxpayer-funded loans and whose only real involvement was to tack on up to 18% interest onto the loans and pocket the profit. The really sad part is that while one could work his way through college in years past, such is almost impossible today at any four-year university. Student loans are crucial to higher education, despite what Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) seems to believe. The same reference shows how the Paul Ryan budget would slash Pell Grants and make things much harder for college students.

I could go on with rants about Romney claiming that progressive taxation increases poverty (despite all historical evidence to the contrary), the Chamber of Commerce’s war on OSHA, and GOP Sen. Dean Heller’s efforts to protect the ability of oil speculators to drive up oil prices, but it’s probably best if I leave off with a link to an article concerning the only Republican that really had the Obama camp worried about this election – John Huntsman, who paints a sad and alarming picture of today’s Grand Old Party by echoing Obama’s proclamation that Reagan couldn’t win in today’s GOP. He also noted that after he was disinvited from a Florida fundraiser (for calling for the formation of a third party), “This is what they do in China on party matters, they punish you, if you talk off script,” and that when it comes to foreign policy, “I don’t know what world these people are living in.” Perhaps most telling is the following from the last reference above:

Huntsman jokingly blamed his failed candidacy in part on his wife, Mary Kaye, who told him she’d leave him if he abandoned his principles.

“She said if you pandered, if you sign any of those damn pledges, I’ll leave you,” Huntsman recounted.

“So I had to say I believe in science – and people on stage look at you quizzically as though you’re was an oddball,” Huntsman said, explaining why he was “toast” in Iowa.

One cannot help but think of a particular quote attributed (rightly or wrongly) to Sinclair Lewis:

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • Let me guess, Dirk: you think V is a conservative, right?

  • DirkH

    I think I’ve seen the face of Glenn Contrarian before. Many times. Oh, how contrarian, wearing a V for Vendetta mask. Like ALL the occupiers. “You are all individuals.” “We are all individuals”.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Just seen written in soap letters on the back windshield of a car: Voldemort/Palin 2012!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Power and privilege are the most addictive of drugs, of course, but there are good with the bad. As I told Clavos, the trick is not only to get rid of the bad, but also to keep the good.

    I mean, think back to LBJ and the Civil Rights Act. He knew that the Dems would lose the South for at least a generation and said exactly that! LBJ loved his power – no argument about that – but he used that power to do the right thing even though it was hard and unpopular, even though he knew it would result in an almost-permanent weakening of the Democratic party because of the loss of the ENTIRE South. That great deed by LBJ does not excuse his irresponsibility concerning the Vietnam War, but it DOES effectively negate the notion that politicians only do that which helps them increase their own power.

    In other words, nature abhors a vacuum, meaning (in this context) that SOMEone’s going to have power. All we can do is to try to pick and support the one who will use that power most responsibly for the good of the nation particularly the American people.

    It’s good to have a healthy sense of cynicism, but it’s very bad to let cynicism rule one’s outlook on life. I would counter Clavos’ use of the Niemoller quote with one by Oscar Wilde that you’ve heard before: “The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

  • (and Doc)

    Not sure why you included me, Glenn. As far as I can see, I didn’t make any accusation – broad-brushed or otherwise. Merely an observation on the nature of power.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos (and Doc) –

    Again, you’re making broad-brushed accusations, and you should know better than I the error of such. But then, you’re making the same mistake that you’ve made so often: whatever it is, if it’s involved with the government, just get rid of it! Whether it’s Medicare, the USPS, the TSA, or the government in general, all you seem to know how to do is to decry its every move.

    And hating everything about the government is every bit as wrong as is loving everything about the government.

    The trick, Clavos, is to do one’s utmost to identify not only what’s wrong, but also to identify what’s RIGHT. Keep what’s right, and fix what’s wrong…and fixing what’s wrong almost never means getting rid of it in toto since that’s almost always just throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    If you really want to live without government, there’s a few places in the world you can go to – not that they’re very nice places to live, but at least you wouldn’t have G-men and revenooers just a-waitin’ to come get you-an-yours and tell you how to tie your shoes. BUT if instead you choose to live where there IS a government, then you work to fix what’s wrong AND keep what’s right with it.

  • A wise person once said that the price of freedom is constant vigilance (or something to that effect) and that, I believe, is what Clav is getting at with the Niemoller quote.

    Many people go into politics out of a sincere desire to improve the lot of their fellow yoomans, but they quickly discover that in order to be able to do so they have to find ways of overriding others who don’t see the problems and solutions in the same way they do.

    In the early idealistic days of George “Oh all right, I’ll be president if you insist but just don’t expect me to do anything. And don’t bother passing any legislation either because I’ll probably just veto it” Washington, it might have been different, but other than that it’s pretty much always been about control to some extent.

  • Igor


    Maybe the fascists were just seizing turf territory from Obama.

  • Clav

    Well, Glenn, the government IS going your way, so I can see why you’re noot unhappy with it.

    I despise it; and would love to see all those Washington bastards brought to their knees.

    ALL of them — regardless of party affiliation — AND all the political appointee sycophants with them.

    And I’m not alone — check the polls; Americans are VERY unhappy with their government these days.

    November should be interesting.

  • The black cultural center (Hale Hall) at Ohio State University just recently had swastikas painted all over the portrait they’d painted on an outer wall of President Obama.

    I’m really getting uncomfortable with this bullshit of portraying him as a fascist

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    That’s a catch-all broad-brush argument. I hate to break this to you, but not everyone – not even politicians – is eager for control over others. That is, unless you want to make the case that our founding fathers and every politician since were all power-hungry bastards.

    And it is an extremely fallacious argument that “once they’re done with the rich, they’ll come after the rest of us” – oh, come on! Did Truman come after “the rest of us” when he jacked up the top marginal tax rate to 90 percent? No. Neither did Eisenhower. And JFK dropped the rate down to 70% – after which we had higher tax revenue NOT because taxes were diminished, but because many loopholes were closed and we started using a more accurate system of tax collection.

    What you’re doing is claiming that since one group (which has profited INSANELY over the past 30 years (unlike the rest of us)) is being targeted to have their taxes brought back up four lousy percentage points to where they were in the 1990’s (when our economy was MUCH better, remember), well, THAT means he’s out to get us all!!!!

    C’mon, Clavos – wild-eyed, broad-brush accusations are very rarely accurate, and yours fails too.

    P.S. I’m not rich, but I’m not poor (in my own estimation). I’ve led a full life and I’m comfortable, thank you very much, and I’ve said several times that if I were offered $10M gratis, I’d probably refuse it because I don’t want the problems with my kids that would surely follow. So don’t accuse me of jealousy – I’m not jealous. Besides, if I were so jealous of someone else’s riches, do you really think I’d be comfortable with lower living standards for myself and my family in the Philippines? No, I don’t think so. I’m simply not a jealous person.

  • Clav

    Glenn, you totally miss my point when you get all hung up in how “different types of fascism there are,” that’s not the point. You can call what the assholes in Washington are doing to us anything you want; call it Nazism, call it American exceptionalism if you want —the name’s unimportant. what’s important is that this country every day becomes less free, less American and more dictatorial and divisive. All you libruls cheer Obama’s rhetoric againstr the rich (mostly because you aren’t), but who will he come after when the rich are done in? And it’s not just Obama, nor is it (as you argue) all the republicans — they ALL are power hungry bastards whose main motivation is control, and they aren’t going to stop after the rich are impoverished — they’ll go after the not-so-rich, and those with guns, and those who burn the flag and dirty the atmosphere (according to them), next it’ll be the old and infirm because they’re non-productive and expensive…

    Remember Martin Niemoller’s famous poem:

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    There’s a LOT more to it than that oversimplified ‘definition’. Why not check out the Wikipedia and see how many different types of fascism there are. You’ll also see that Nazism was an extreme form of fascism, that fascism is mostly associated with the far Right, and that fascists strongly oppose unions and socialists. That last phrase might even ring a bell for you.

    I do wish you’d read it, because if you did, you just might start feeling rather uncomfortable about the direction where today’s GOP is heading. Heck, if you’ll think about it, I suspect you’ll find that America’s Democratic Party is in some ways significantly more conservative than the conservative parties in Australia or England – just ask STM or Doc.

    Some conservatism is a good thing – I’d never deny that. Too much liberalism is a bad thing – and I’d never deny that, either. But today’s GOP has gone off the edge of the map, and the MS governor’s statement that Dems just want to kill babies in the womb is but an echo of the monsters that dwell on the other side of the map’s edge….

  • Clav


    From Dictionarydotcom;

    fas·cism? ?[fash-iz-uhm] noun

    ( sometimes initial capital letter ) a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

    We’re not there yet, but we are trending that way, and both parties add to it every chance they get.

    The government is growing, becoming more paternalistic and controlling (of the people) practically on a daily basis.

    For an example, consider the Patriot Act — put in place by the Reps and continued by the Dems/Obama administration.

    The recent attempt to seize control of the internet with SOPA and PIPA (that one ain’t over yet.)

    There are others, but I’m lazy tonight.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    You really do need to learn how to read, Glenn…

    If I need to learn how to read, you need to learn how to research and discover your own misperceptions since you apparently don’t know what fascism truly is, if your comment #10 is any indication. That, and it would really help if you would learn to not only point out what’s wrong with what people say, but also to consider what’s right about what they say before you start insulting them for what you feel is a lack of skill or knowledge.

    But then, considering both sides of the story is not normally a conservative trait. You should read the article concerning the difference between liberal and conservative mindsets, Clavos – it’s not as one-sided for liberals as you would probably assume since I’m recommending it. Maybe you’ll learn something of yourself – and of liberals.

    But be careful, because the article’s from al-Jazeera and even opening the website on your computer might cause you to be excommunicated from the conservative fold….

  • Ooh, I want one!

    Of course, in order to be able to afford it I’d have to agree to have it modified to carry nuclear bombs, sell one to every world leader on condition that their nations paid homage to the US in perpetuity, sell a fleet of them to the citizen militias, the Tea Party and OWS, and cover the thing in corporate logos and advertising slogans.

  • Clav,

    Without using the word fascism, exactly what “is already taking over in America [that] both parties are advancing.

    I’ve been promised Armageddon, world domination, civil revolution, corporate enslavement and a flying car for 50 years and I’m getting kind of tired of waiting. On the bright side, the flying car seems to be winning the race.

  • “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party.”

    The recalls Joseph McCarthy waving a blank piece of paper around warning of his list of 205 known communists working at the state department.

    Some things never change and fear has stronger legs than reason.

  • “I don’t see Obama’s problem. If he only wants to validate that he’s a legit citizen, he only has to go on TV and announce that he was really born in Kenya…”

    Jet, that was really funny.

  • Convinced that religious liberty be built into the structural frame of the new government, Thomas Jefferson proposed this language “All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution”

  • Can’t tell. But the style seems familiar…

  • Clav

    So Winston is JOM?

  • Clav


    You really do need to learn how to read, Glenn…

  • Good morning, JOM.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Winston –

    So… Pointing out a culture of stupidity in the GOP is just “spouting talking points” and therefore doesn’t count? FYI, I used to be a Republican…until their stupidity got to be too much for me, because I’m of the opinion that if those who speak for one’s side do and say really stupid stuff, then one is probably on the wrong side.

    Remember the old saying, ‘lay down with dogs, get up with fleas’? Now it’s “lay down with Tea Partiers and get up with Santorum”.

  • Winston

    So Pam you must be a LINO…”Liberal In Name Only”

  • I have six children and I’m a liberal. I didn’t kill any intrawomb babies…what was I thinking? lol

  • We do need a social safety net as evidenced by the 1968 riots and the huge opposition to the Vietnam War and increments in military spending in the 1960s. In addition, Administrations from President Roosevelt onward have supported the idea.

    Pentagon spending should be in the relevant range left by President Clinton. That is, 3.5% of the equivalent GDP. President Clinton was one of the few chief executives to leave office without breaking the U.S. Treasury.

    We can keep Pentagon spending low or within a rational relevant range by emphasizing commando operations instead of sending thousands of troops overseas. In addition, weapon systems should be looked at in terms of effectiveness and utility by reference to keeping the peace in historic trouble spots.

    Contributions by allies would be another potential factor in the determination of military spending.

  • Winston

    Contrarian? Hmmm…spewing out Democrat talking points isnt Contrarian? It’s better described as Ignorant!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    You’re using a false equivalency again. All one has to do is point to the Citizens United decision to show the difference between the two parties in what kind of influence we think business should have in government.

    Or do you not understand what Fascism was? It looks like you’re referring to Nazism, which was not truly Fascism. Read Pam Messingham’s article to see the difference between the two.

  • Clav

    I’ve always liked the Sinclair Lewis quotation; especially the first part about Fascism being wrapped in the flag, because I am convinced that Fascism is already taking over in America, and both parties are advancing it, although not knowingly. They have different vehicles for it, the Dems cloak it in lofty sounding terms like “fairness” and “equality,” while the Repubs speak of god and the Founding Fathers, but both seek the same end: control of the people to further their own Weltanschaung.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc #7 –

    I hope you’re talking about the MS governor and not me….

  • I don’t see Obama’s problem. If he only wants to validate that he’s a legit citizen, he only has to go on TV and announce that he was really born in Kenya…

    Every teabagger and far-right pundit would immediately declare him a natural-born citizen and try to have him taken out of office for lying to the American Public about his not being a citizen.

    They’d drag every idiot out of the woodwork that they could pay good money to to testify that they saw him born in Hawaii, USA with a flag wrapped around him when he came out.

    …Of course they’d be hard-pressed to find one of their number that actually knows that Hawaii is a state.

  • What the hell is he even talking about there? He seems to have started off with one idea in his head, realized where it was going and switched track halfway through. Result: total nonsense.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Straight from the Mississippi (Republican) governor:

    “Even if you believe in abortion, the hypocrisy of the left that now tried to kill this bill, that says that I should have never signed it, the true hypocrisy is that their one mission in life is to abort children, is to kill children in the womb. It doesn’t really matter, they don’t care if the mother’s life is in jeopardy, that if something goes wrong that a doctor can’t admit them to a local hospital, that he’s not even board certified.”

    Looks like the Republicans have us Dems all figured out – our one mission in life is to kill children in the womb!

    Just another day in Stupidville….

  • RRowleyTucson
  • RRowleyTucson

    Article and Video: Jesse Kelly Says Health Care Is A “Privilege You Earn”

    Article: Citizens United Endorses Jesse Kelly in Special Election

    About “Citizens United”

    Article: Jesse Kelly Trying To Walk Back His Call to Eliminate the Minimum Wage

    Article: CD8 candidate Jesse Kelly’s and Tea Party’s economic platform similar to Communist nations

    Article: CD8 Republican Jesse Kelly Calls For New National Sales Tax

    Article: Giffords Opponent, Jesse Kelly, Held June Event to Shoot a Fully Automatic M16 to “Get on Target” and “Remove Gabrielle Giffords

    Article and Video: Jesse Kelly: “Oil Is A Renewable Resource”

    Article: Jesse Kelly Supported by Groups Tied to White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis

    Letter: Tucson Tea Party Co-Founder: 13 Questions for Jesse Kelly that must be answered before you vote

    Video: Jesse Kelly’s ENTIRE platform

    Simply put, Jesse Kelly has neither the brains, credibility or honesty for public office, the will for fighting or the compassion to represent the people of southern Arizona either CD8 OR CD2.

  • Cognitive Dissonance can be a real bitch.

  • The Republicans are long past the point at which most of their ideas (such as they are) can be taken seriously, and the birther nonsense is just one reason why.

    Even when GOP bigwigs do come out and say that they “believe” the President was born in the US, there’s often a “nudge nudge, wink wink” subtext.

    You know, I do believe that if a videotape surfaced of a live TV special from 1961 starring Don Ho, which millions of people remembered watching, and which consisted of a single continuous shot of Mr Ho (crooning to the camera all the while) landing at Honolulu Airport, taking a limo to the press where that day’s edition of the Honolulu Advertiser was being printed, holding a copy up to the camera so that the date and the headline were clearly readable, then getting back in the limo and continuing to Kapi’olani Medical Center, entering a delivery room with the name “Stanley Ann Dunham Obama” chalked on the door in large capital letters and a clock calendar displaying the date “August 4 1961” clearly visible on the wall and Diamond Head in the distance through the open window, and remaining until Ms Dunham had finished giving birth and the OB/GYN had asked her and the father what they were naming the baby, whereupon they had replied “Barack Hussein Obama the second”…

    …some people would STILL refuse to accept that he was a natural born citizen.

  • I have said for a few years now…(I think it was since W) that we need “The Constitutionalist Party. Oust the repubs…they are totally out of control. They remind me of spoiled little bullies on the playground. And Love the end quote! Very true. I complain about the conservative base “using God” all the time. Great article Glenn