Monday, December 12, 2011

Why the debates are so funny

Not planning on talking too much about the Republican primary elections, because frankly its distressing. The list of demands made of a serious Republican candidate may well look like this:

  1. Proclaim Global Warming is a hoax
  2. Proclaim Evolution is a hoax
  3. Hold a generalized distrust of anybody who has formally studied the topic at hand
  4. Proclaim a plan to dramatically cut government spending
    • But promise to leave intact:
      • Medicare/medicaid
      • Social Security
      • The military
      • Already-promised aid for federal employees
  5. Hold strong values
    • Including
      • Honesty
      • Compassion
      • Dislike of gays
      • Conviction that Christians are better than others
  6. Be able to demonstrate careful thought.
The underlying problem here is that given items 1-4, items 5 and 6 are mutually exclusive.

The budget is already pretty tight, and the programs people talk about wanting to cut only make up a small fraction.  Our federal budget represents not some regulatory monster, but largely an insurance company with an army.

Since current Republican orthodoxy requires a wholesale rejection of science and a brazen denial of arithmetic, the only orthodox candidates left are those who's relationship with the truth is flexible (Romney, Gingrich), those who literally can't remember a 3 item list, the number of supreme court judges, or just seemed outright deranged (Perry, Bachman, Palin), and Herman Cain, who mixed and matched from the realm of ignorance and mendacity as though he was making a pizza with extra toppings.

The field may be depressing, but it is nothing if not a predictable result of what it takes right now to be taken seriously as a Republican.

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