Thoughts this go-round

In Elizabeth's recent post, she mentioned the wonder wrought by the likes of Palin, O'Donnell, Angle et al. (As to her broader point about the nauseating, smug sanctimony oozing from Slate's "Who Gets to Be a Feminist?" conversation, I am in whole-hearted agreement.) As is meet and proper for his role in these parts (and hey, I'm sincerely glad we have any commenters left, given the tumbleweeds that have started rolling through this blog), Official Bleakonomy Gadfly John decided to ignore the main topic and issue a paean to those lovely ladies of the lunatic Right.

And so, to GJ and his like-minded ilk, I say "Good luck." Go for it.

I understand that the economy is in the crapper. I understand that the jobs market continues to smell like last week's sardines. I understand that people are freaked out by deficit spending, no matter what certain economic theories say. And yes, I even understand that the GOP is doing a decent job of flogging these issues, despite being noticeably short on ideas that would actually make things better.

Now, from my perspective, the President and Congress (the latter largely at the end of the last presidential administration) have done a creditable job of trying to stabilize things. TARP seems to have done its work. The auto industry didn't implode. Our economy didn't go into wholesale collapse. Things could maybe be better, but considering the crap sandwich the President was handed upon taking office, I think things could plausibly have been a whole hell of a lot worse.

Which brings us to the current election cycle. People are mad as hell that things aren't better, and they blame the man in the White House. Fair enough, I suppose. But what do they intend to do about it? It seems decent percentages want to vote for candidates that are flagrantly insane.

I'm sorry that New York Republicans somehow managed to nominate a man for the gubernatorial race so odious that even Al D'Amato called him "dangerous" and "unfit for office," but that's what they did. And it seems a third of New Yorkers are willing to vote for him anyway. Doubtless sane Republicans in Delaware wish their party had gone with someone other than a resume-fabricating neo-Puritan without even a semblance of a clue. (I actually watched the O'Donnell/Coons debate on C-SPAN, and I defy anyone to change my opinion that the woman is an abject moron.) But lo and behold, about 35% of voters in her state are going to vote for her anyway. And those are just the races where the maniacs are going to lose. In Nevada, admittedly lackluster Harry Reid could easily lose his seat to a woman who has suggested that armed revolution is a workable option for angry Americans.

All of this brings to mind a favorite quote of mine from H. L. Mencken: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." Or the campaign slogan of Bill and Opus when they ran for the White House in 1984 under the banner of the Meadow Party: "This time, why not the worst?"

Why not, America? Why not?

I survey the panoply of "Tea Party" candidates and see a motley collection of demagogues, cretins and raving lunatics. (And I haven't even mentioned their deranged queen.) It seems plenty of Americans see worthwhile candidates for higher office. And so, voters in Nevada and Alaska and Kentucky and Delaware, etc etc etc in saecula saeculorum, you want 'em? Go for it.

Let's see what happens when the Congress gets the new members America richly deserves.

Update: I hadn't read Eugene Robinson's column for today when I wrote this, but suffice it to say I agree with every word he says.

Update II, Son of Update: Also, Steve Benen.


  1. Sorry I missed the main topic in attending to the drive-by smearing of female conservatives. I'll try to do better.

    I can agree with you that some conservative and Tea Party candidates are Not Smart. The Paladino guy gave the shortest concession speech on record when he started in on gays and gay rights.

    But here's the problem, at least from my vantage point. Team D has wickedly severe problems as well. Consider Barney Frank, surely a leading D if there is one. Greg Mankiw observes:

    Frank, a leading liberal who has represented the state’s Fourth Congressional District for nearly 30 years and became chairman of the House Financial Services Committee in 2007, said he and other Democrats fought to curb predatory lending practices before the recession but were thwarted by Republicans. He said he had supported efforts to help low-income families rent homes, rather than buy them.

    But the record says:

    The Bush administration today {2003, gj} recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

    Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry....

    Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were [...] Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

    "These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis," said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee.

    There is an English word to describe Barney Frank. It is 'liar.' Give me O'Donnell the teenage witch over Frank the arrogant liar any day of the week. You may not agree, but the polls seem to show a lot of people are as ready to misbehave as I am. And I aim to misbehave.

  2. "Smearing of female conservatives"? Really? If Palin, O'Donnell and Angle are the best examples of distaff conservatism, we're in rather a tragic situation, aren't we?

    Another English word to describe Barney Frank would be "politician." The episode you describe clearly vexes you greatly, and you've a right to your opinion.

    You also have a right to, as you put it, "misbehave." And that, amigo, is precisely my point. This big behemoth of a democracy of ours is filled with many people who apparently think as you do, and are prepared to vote for a cadre of imbeciles and crackpots in a fit of pique. And if you and yours want to elect these people to some of the highest elective offices in the land, then we'll see what delightful effects your chums will have on the country.

    At this point, I wearily believe the country has it coming.

  3. Oddly enough, your analysis has been pre-empted by President Seven Iron; the condescension drips from his speeches as he arrogates to himself the side of science and facts, while dismissing his critics as unable to think clearly due to fear.[1] At least we've moved up from racist to scared! Hope and Change!

    We elected a cadre of imbeciles and crackpots in 2006 and 2008, and they haven't delivered (or rather, what they've delivered they aren't willing to stand behind, because it stinks so badly). Why not try a new cadre of imbeciles and crackpots; they can't be any worse than the current losers running things. If the country has it coming, it might be hard to tell when it gets it, based on the current economic "success" of President Scary-smart, and Team D, who have run the Congress for 4 years, and preserved Freddie and Fannie from adult supervision back when it might have made a difference.

    [1] Do you think the "unable to think clearly due to fear" effect was working in '08, during the financial panic, when the country elected a dominate slate of Team D players, and an charismatic but inexperienced Cheif Executive?

  4. Dum de dum de dum... Huh? Wha? Was that my cue to defend the ineffectual milksops currently inhabiting the Senate chambers? Not gonna happen.

    Look, GJ, if the GOP had managed to field some halfway decent candidates, I'd be keeping my mouth shut. Mike Castle, for example, would probably be a fine addition to the Senate. Maybe Sue Lowden wouldn't have been that bad. Who knows? Lord knows, if Peter Mills had gotten the GOP nod for governor here in Maine I'd be giving serious consideration to voting for him.

    But no. The GOP has a golden opportunity to send some fine candidates to higher office and is promptly hijacked by its lunatic fringe. And now I'm forced to tepidly hope for Harry Reid's political survival. A sorry state of affairs for everyone, if you ask me.

  5. Hummm. In '06 and '08, I'm guessing you were on board with independent voters being fired up to vote out the Rs. Now, in '10, the same voters are fired up about voting out the Ds, but suddenly they are stupid, racist, and filled with ingratitude. You might want to think about the difference, other than it is your ox that is now being gored. Independents are easy scapegoats when your side is losing, but Reality is more complex than that.

  6. Silly me, GJ. I must have put on the wrong glasses. Help me see where above I have called anyone racist or ungrateful, or anyone but the candidates stupid. Yes, I was quite pleased that the GOP lost the last few election cycles, and am in disagreement with a large number of voters in that I don't think most of our economic travails are actually the Democrats' fault, but I don't begrudge the public its right to toss out whomever they choose. I just wish they weren't willing to express their ire by voting for a bunch of imbeciles and bombthrowers.

  7. I didn't say you were the one calling voters stupid or racist. I didn't mean to imply that you said those things; Team D has been saying those things, however.

    We can disagree about how the fault for our Current Woes is to be divided, but what we shouldn't disagree on is the failure of the Donks to effectively address those Woes. The average Recession lasts about 12 months and has a definite recovery. This Recession went 18, longest since the 40s, and still teeters on the edge of a Double Dip Recession. The Donks have misplayed or misjudged almost everything; effect and size of stimulus, shovel-ready jobs, unemployment, and as a consequence, have killed any chance of a recovery. Hasn't Team D caused enough misery? The voters appear to think so. We'll know soon enough.