Tag Archives: Iowa

Stupidity in Politics

21 Dec

Iowa has become the starting point for the presidential campaigns in recent years.  Our caucus system has a lot to do with that.  We sometimes pick the winners, but our biggest contribution is probably our ability to narrow the field.  We eliminate a lot of candidates—therefore, we choose who will be the losers.

I have attended a number of caucuses over the years and have always paid attention to the candidates.  Typically I know who the top ten or twelve candidates of each party are and what they stand for.  I have a tendency to vote for the Democrats, but I have voted for Republicans as well.

In recent years, when the pool of candidates is still fairly large, I have ranked them.  Usually there are five or six Democrats I like and one or two Republicans. 

This year is very different.  The Republican party has become so dogmatic in its approach that the only arguments are over who is the “true conservative.”  I would not be able to vote for any of them over Obama or any other candidate.

The pool is characterized by stupidity.  Their policies are not thought out at all, but are mostly slogans.  Three candidates stand out with their special brand of stupidity, however:

1.  Herman Cain (I know he is out now, but the residue lingers):  There were lots of serious discussions about the loony nine- nine-nine proposal.  That was stupid, and the other candidates diminished themselves by taking it seriously, but that was not his greatest example of stupidity.  When the news reports started coming out about the sexual harassment allegations, his great defense was to repeat “I am not that kind of person—just ask my wife”.  A brilliant man might have had a hard time defending against all of the claims of the women who came out of the woodwork, but Mr. Cain’s defense was just plain stupid.

2.  Rick Perry:  Rick has ads about how he is a Washington outsider and how he is going to cut the pay of Congress, send them home, and make them a part-time Congress.  Come on, Rick—there might be three or four Iowans who think you can do that, but they probably can’t find their caucus locations.  That is really stupid.

3.  Ron Paul:  Instead of owning up to the racist comments made 20 years ago in his newsletters, he claims he is not responsible for the statements because someone else wrote the newsletters.  Come on Ron, it was called the Ron Paul Report.  Get it—“Ron Paul”?  Ron Paul is not responsible for the content of the Ron Paul Report.  Give me a break.  Why do we even treat these guys seriously?

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Rick Perry’s T.V. Commercial

23 Nov

Rick Perry currently has a T.V. ad that is showing here in Iowa.  There are two versions of it–in one, he claims to be a common man.  In the other he shows a clip of President Obama making a statement, probably taken out of context,  about how we have been lazy for a few years, and then feigns outrage about Obama calling us lazy.

Then, in both versions of the ad Mr. Perry calls for a balanced budget amendment to the constitution.  He says that if Congress doesn’t agree “cut their pay…send them home.”

Who cuts their pay?  Who sends them home?  I assume Mr. Perry knows that the president can’t. 

I think Mr. Perry is trying to project that he is a “good old boy.”  He expresses what he thinks the voters might be thinking.  He knows that he can’t cut the pay of Congress, and the voters would be very unlikely to as well.

Sometimes smart people project themselves as kind of stupid in order to seem more likeable.  It can work for salesmen.  It may even work for low level politicians.   My view is that it does not work well for someone who is running for the highest elected office in the land.  And it really doesn’t work if people already wonder if you are smart enough to handle the presidency.

Have you really thunk that out, Rick Perry?