Friday, August 8, 2008

The Party of Stupid

Excellent Krugman column today that relates to the "It's like they're proud of being ignorant" Obama video below.
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.”

He then goes on to warn liberals of the dangers of thinking that such obviously stupid ploys can't succeed... remember how Bush was lionized for being average? For not being intellectual? And what about the Iraq war?
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.

Why were the elite so hawkish? Well, I heard a number of people express privately the argument that some influential commentators made publicly — that the war was a good idea, not because Iraq posed a real threat, but because beating up someone in the Middle East, never mind who, would show Muslims that we mean business. In other words, even alleged wise men bought into the idea of macho posturing as policy.

I'm not, however, as convinced as he is that this drilling thing is going to be a potent issue... and I especially don't find his criticism of bipartisanship to be convincing, since it's precisely a bipartisan compromise which has the best chance of taking it off the table. I understand where he's coming from, but if the other party is going to get excited about stupid things that won't make any difference, then isn't it a better strategy to give it to them so they just shut the hell up? It's not going to make a difference, and you can use caving on the issue to get something worthwhile done... it seems a little odd to call out Republicans for stupid macho posturing to end up saying the only way to beat them is to use... macho posturing. We have the advantage of being right on the merits, but blind partisanship seems to feed more into their meme than ours.