Your moment of batshit crazy for the day

>> Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mr. Obama's refusal to live up to his own oath of office--which includes the duty to defend the United States against foreign invasion--requires senators and representatives to live up to their oaths. Members of Congress must defend our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Today, that means bringing impeachment charges against Mr. Obama.

-Rep. Tom Tancredo, "The case for impeachment,"
The Washington Times, July 22nd, 2010


This one's sort of for my Dad. The other day I mentioned on the phone that some lunatics were already talking about trying to impeach the President if the Republicans took the House this November. He asked me who, and I mentioned Michelle Bachmann, although Bachmann's main thing lately has been saying there should be a nonstop House investigation of the White House while technically not disagreeing that the President should be impeached, as opposed to openly advocating it.

These are the kinds of shenanigans we can expect, I fear. A strong, vocal chunk of the Republican party is not interested in playing by the rules of a democracy and finding ways to promote a conservative agenda from the position of the loyal opposition. No, they're merely interested in fearmongering, infantile disruptive tactics and puerile obstructionism.

It's depressing.

I can give you a few ideas about where it comes from.

One, the noisemakers aren't actually educated or intelligent enough to have a coherent agenda, and being mere obstructionists saves them from the threat of actually having to lead. I'm not trying to be insulting here: popular whatever-she's-supposed-to-be-now Sarah Palin had a desultory education culminating in a Communications degree; right-wing spokesman and media entertainer Glenn Beck bypassed college altogether and possesses only a high school diploma; Representative Bachmann has a law degree--from Oral Roberts University. Representative Tancredo seems to have a firmer education, at least on paper, than the rest of this motley group--he's a PoliSci graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, but it doesn't seem to have done him much good. These are neither the best nor the brightest the American right has to proffer, but they are among the loudest and most powerful, and they wear their ignorance on their sleeves like badges of honor; a recent episode that sums up their attitude towards a worldly education would be Glenn Beck recently mocking Keith Olbermann for assuming his audience knows about an important and infamous episode in French history that was covered in my high school World History class and became an important factor in the international movement that eventually led to the formation of Israel after World War II. They are proud of being stupid, but more importantly, they have no actual ideas and by just saying no like a bunch of toddlers they can avoid being called out on it.

Two, there's a lack of actual leadership in the GOP. Being a leader is not reacting to what a mob wants. Mobs, by their very nature, behave in ways that would mortify many individual members of the mob itself; the mob gives license for misbehavior by removing personal accountability. What we are seeing right now, sadly enough, is that even people who ought to be Republican leaders are so afraid of the mob turning upon them, they're dancing to the mob's tune when they ought to be leading.

Leadership does not mean "do what your followers want'; the leader is an educator and inspiration, a guide who sets the tone and example. (It should be obvious we are not talking about compulsory leaders--that is, we're not talking, f'r'instance, about the leader who burns his ships on the beach so his followers are stuck with him.) In a democratic situation, the role of the leader is not to bow to whims of the masses so much as it is to show the masses what needs to be done, to persuade them.

A leader might be expected to do this honestly. As Media Matters has pointed out, one of the problems with Tancredo's Washington Times piece is that the anecdote that's a centerpiece to his argument, that Obama said he wouldn't secure the southern border, is simply and altogether false.

Thirdly, the prevailing sentiment in American politics, particularly among the post-Reagan Republican professional politics-and-punditry set is that winning is everything. Winning, of course, is nothing. Well--let us say that winning is everything in frivolous zero-sum exercises like football and checkers and other sports and games. To win at a good multiplayer deathmatch is as vitally important as whatever videogame you're playing. Winning in politics, on the other hand, is merely a stepping stone for (hopefully) giving something to your society and improving the world in some fashion.

I'm afraid that for a lot of the noisier people in American politics these days, politics has become something along the lines of that proverbial dog chasing cars--he wouldn't know what to do if he actually caught one. This seemed, for instance, to be a prime characteristic of the first nine months of George W. Bush's presidency. While Bush seems to have had some ideas (however bad) for fixing schools, prior to September 11th, 2001, the administration seemed to flounder for direction a good bit of the time, and even after September 11th became a defining moment, it frequently seemed that people like Karl Rove, having won the White House, weren't sure what to do with it beyond trying to parlay it into winning more elections, which of course is just stupid unless you have a reason for winning them.

Anyway, the real bottom line is this: that Republicans like Tancredo and those who are passively trying to appease the teabagger contingent are not serving their country well. I mentioned, earlier in this post, the idea of the loyal opposition; the loyal opposition is important in a democracy because it generates ideas and forces the majority to be on their best game even when the opposition is wrong. I don't expect to find a lot of ideological common ground with the right, myself, but I aspire to be rational enough that I could recognize a good idea no matter where it came from, even if it came from somebody I disagreed with ninety-nine-plus percent of the time. And at the very least, the loyal opposition ought to be offering me a foil so that I'm on my best game.

Instead, say for instance, having to face a never-ending river of horseshit coming down from the Colorado mountains.



10 comments:

Jim Wright Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 4:56:00 PM EDT  

Eric, I know you asked us to hold off, and I will on the specifics you pointed. But I've got to get on a plane in about two hours and I'd really like Ole Dave here to clarify "...We on the right can be as disappointed as we want in his lack of accomplishments."

Lack of accomplishments? Lack of accomplishments? Compared to what, Dave? Yours? George W? Sarah Palin? Who? Honest to Dog, Dave, if the man split the atom and held a ball of fission in his bare hands, would that be enough for you people?

Lack of Accomplishments? You should have stopped right there, because your entire comment was rendered null and void by that idiotic statement.

Jesus H. Christ, Eric, why don't you just ban this guy outright?

Leanright,  Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 6:02:00 PM EDT  

REPOST..Hoping to NOT OFFEND TOO MANY
*********************************
Well, I actually agree with a few points in your post; there really isn't a great deal of leadership within the Republican Party. I feel it's akin to the Democrats being directionless in 2004, by having John Kerry as their candidate, much like the Republicans with Bob Dole in 1996 and John McCain in 2008.

Democrats found their charismatic young LEADER in 2008, and hence, we know how that worked out. Whether we support Obama's policies or not (I think you know where I lean), he's the president and deserves to finish his term, barring some sort of heinous corruption charge or blatantly illegal activity; neither of which has occurred. WE ON THE RIGHT can be as disappointed as we want inour perception of his lack of accomplishments, but we can vote with our feet in 2010 and 2012 if we want a new direction, but not until then. We don't serve our conservative agenda by threatening impeachment. It's wrong.

Now, as for leadership, we've got plenty of educated rising stars in the party. My choice is Mitt Romney, extremely successful business man, and educated in our finest university with an MBA and JD. Michele Bachman also well educated, as is Bobby Jindal, Eric Cantor, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Party retread Newt Gingrich and I could go on. None has taken a leadership role, but I believe the cream with move to the top fairly soon. I'm not asking for you to agree with me, just offering my take on things.

Now, as for Glenn Beck, I don't dislike the man, in fact I agree with much of what he says, but as far as educated political commentary from the right, I primarily listen to Mark Levin,(From Wikipedia) B.A. from Temple University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. Levin also earned a J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law... Levin was an advisor to President Reagan, Chief of Staff of Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese, and Deputy Asst. Sec. for Elementary and Secondary Education to the D.O.E.(Yes, I lifted much of that from Wikipedia...I just wanted my sources to be cited). I also like Andrew Wilkow, as I stated before. Not nearly the resume as Levin, but received a BS degree in Communications from U. of Fla in 1996, a relatively young guy at 37. Also a founder of the website "Conservative Punk", going back to his days as an alt-rock DJ on various radio stations.

After all that, I agree with you on the lack of party leadership within the Republican ranks, and any moves to impeach Obama would, I believe, backfire for conservatives.

Janiece Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 6:37:00 PM EDT  

Note to the peanut gallery:

Am I the only one who laughed uproariously at the thought of Michele Bachmann being a beacon of intellectual light for the conservative element in this country?

Hee. Hee, hee. HAHAHAHA.

Ahem. Sorry. Carry on.

nonsess = The content of the Tea Bagger's platform.

Eric Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 7:11:00 PM EDT  

Yeah, you know, Janiece, I even mentioned that Bachmann's law degree is from Oral Roberts University. I had to check to see if they were even accredited (she was in their last class before the school went bankrupt); I never did find an answer to that one.

I mean, I hate to sound like a snob, but ORU was and is a joke. The only useful thing it ever did educationally was serve as a launchpad for students able to transfer out and into better schools.

Of course, you can go to Harvard and still be a dumbass.

Janiece Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 11:04:00 PM EDT  

Oral Roberts University - The University of Phoenix of Law Schools.

::snirk::

And I have to agree with Random Michelle, as well. If that response and subsequent repost was any more clueless, we'd need to call in a bloodhound.

Leanright,  Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 12:32:00 AM EDT  

You people are fucking relentless. I love it!

Leanright,  Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 12:39:00 AM EDT  

Michele Bachman: degree in tax law from the College of William and Mary's Marshall-Wythe School of Law.[6]

Sorry; I don't know the credibility of Law Schools. Ask me "Business Schools", and I can participate.

(Eric, I really wish you'd let Jim see my response to him).....Oh well.

Eric Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 1:11:00 AM EDT  

Fair enough on Bachmann's LLM. She's still either dumb as dirt or cynical as hell or both.

As for prodding Jim, Dave, I'm going to strongly suggest you desist. He saw your response. He was restrained. As I've been.

You've been poking and prodding a good bit lately, Dave. Honestly, I'm receiving complaints, and not just from people who know they're the ones who complained. (I feel somehow obligated to add that one of the people who thinks I've been too patient with you (a) isn't a commenter here and (b) carries more water with me than anybody else around here who is.)

This isn't something I really like telling you and I'm getting no pleasure or satisfaction out of doing it. I am trying to ask you nicely to chill a bit and back down, and I don't want to hear anything along the lines of other people started things or whatever. You might need to just suck it up and lay low awhile, or just stick to neutral comments like the one you made on the Final Cut post.

Chill.

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