If we had an annual contest to find the conservative Republican suffering the worse case of cognitive dissonance or the worse liar, Real Clear Politics’ Jack Kelly would be no guaranteed winner with this piece of yellow journalism, but he would surely put him in contention. It is as though before he sit down to write he asked himself how many pants-on-fire lies he could tell. Obama Is Not That Bright
Barack Obama is the smartest man with the highest IQ ever to be elected to the presidency, historian Michael Beschloss told radio talk show host Don Imus in November of 2008.
“So what is his IQ?” Mr. Imus asked. Mr. Beschloss didn’t know. He was just assuming.
In traditional logic this is a by one example error. I found one guy who claimed, on a radio show that 6 people listen to, Obama’s is the smartest president ever. This is a common technique used by conservatives. Set monumental standards for a Democrat. Find one or two examples of not living up to those standards. Ah-ha gotcha. I know some smart people – doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, nurses, teachers. You know what they all have in common. They are not and do not pretend to be know-it alls. And for the most part they do not play this game of hey look you make the occasional faux pas so you’re obviously an idiot and not the smartest person in the world that everyone says you are.
Columnist Joe Klein said Mr. Obama’s first autobiography “may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician.” But Mr. Obama got help writing “Dreams from My Father” from “his friend and Hyde Park neighbor Bill Ayers,” celebrity journalist Christopher Andersen claimed in his 2009 biography of Barack and Michelle.
That Bill Ayers wrote or co-wrote Obama’s book is, along with bitherism. One of the top five urban myths spread about President Obama. To date no one has submitted any concrete proof to back up that claim. Kelly goes on to list some verbal gaffes made by the president. I sometimes wonder why conservatives are so hung up on making American English the only language used anywhere, ever, as so many of them cannot speak English:
“One of the very difficult parts of the decision I made on the financial crisis was to use hardworking people’s money to help prevent there to be a crisis.”—Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2009. Bush 43. List of Bushisms.
“He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.”— Sarah Palin on Paul Revere, June 3, 2011
President Obama’s stimulus bill didn’t stimulate. His subsidies to “green” firms have produced neither the jobs nor the energy he promised. Unemployment on his watch peaked at 10 percent, one of the highest rates since the Great Depression. Deficits are out of control.
The stimulus created or saved 1.5 to 3 million jobs. The ‘clean’ economy now supports 3.1 million jobs. The peak unemployment numbers were in the last year to first six months of the Obama administration. Bush and conservatives were responsible for that 10% peak.
Political disagreements are fine. We have a long tradition of them in the U.S. Kelly does not disagree. In order for him to make an honest argument he would have to have some inkling of what constitutes knowledge versus beliefs. Beliefs that have blinded him to facts much like any radical zealot in history. Like his radical brethren in the conservative movement the truth is but a necessary casualty in the long war – the conservative authoritarian plutocracy of which his ilk dream versus the free, humane enlightened U.S. of which liberals dream.
OK, so why does everyone think the deficit is out of control and a threat to the existence of the republic? Good question. It’s probably way too late to pull us out of the rabbit hole we’ve collectively dived into, but anyone reporting on this really owes it to their readers to explain the basic political dynamics at work. So why do Republicans and Democrats both think the deficit is a problem?
Answer for Republicans: They don’t think the deficit is a problem. If they did, they’d favor tax increases, Pentagon cuts, and Medicare cuts, since even the most dimwitted among them knows that cutting domestic discretionary spending won’t make a dent in the deficit. But they favor none of these things.
Rather, they think federal spending on liberal social programs is a problem, and yammering about the deficit is a good way to force cuts to these programs. And there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s good politics. Why waste a crisis, after all? But anyone reporting on this issue really needs to be honest about what’s going on. Republicans want to cut social spending. The deficit is just a handy cudgel to make this happen.
Given that they control so much of the media, The Village leans Right of center and quite a few Americans do not vote in their own rational self-interests it is no wonder that so many people actually think conservatives are actually for small government and limited spending. This is all despite the fiscal record of conservatism. Conservatives care first and foremost about their agenda, not the U.S.A. They deny any and all responsibility for creating the Great Recession, thanks to convenient short-term memories they forgot the historical deficits they created. They pretend as though the two wars they bungled did not cost trillions. They said just a few years ago that spending trillions on Iraq was essential to our national security and yet claim spending money on America is Marxism. Conservatives and the Supreme Court they packed with goofy ideologues says that corporations are people yet allow corporations to steal billions while we throw people in jail for smoking pot.
E.J. Dionne notes some of our real history. Not the history rewritten by the Palins, Bushes and Kellys, Conservatives used to care about community. What happened?
The great American conservative William F. Buckley Jr. certainly understood this. In his book “Gratitude: Reflections on What We Owe to Our Country,” he quotes approvingly John Stuart Mill’s insistence that “everyone who receives the protection of society owes a return for the benefit.” With liberty comes responsibility to the community.
Before the Civil War, conservatives such as Alexander Hamilton and Henry Clay believed in an active federal government that served the common good. This included a commitment to internal improvements (what we now, less elegantly, call infrastructure), public schooling, and the encouragement of manufacturing and science. Clay, an unapologetic supporter of national economic planning, called his program “the American System,” explicitly distinguishing his idea from the British laissez-faire system. (The Club for Growth would not have been pleased.)
Abraham Lincoln, for whom Clay was a hero, built upon this tradition, laying the foundation for our public universities by backing the establishment of land-grant colleges.
Civil War pensions — the first great social insurance program and a central Republican cause — were supporting about 28 percent of men 65 and over by 1910. In 1894, the program’s most expensive year, the pensions accounted for 37 percent of federal spending. Sounds like a massive entitlement program, doesn’t it?
And the first American version of socialized medicine was signed into law in 1798 by that great conservative president John Adams. The Marine Hospital Servicefunded hospitals across the country to treat sailors who were sick or got injured on the job. There is no record of a mass campaign to repeal AdamsCare.
Kudos to Dionne for being the kind of old-fashioned liberal that tries to reach out and appeal to the humanity hidden inside modern conservatives. I’m afraid that humanity is so deeply buried that it has become deaf to any such appeals. Modern democracies and their economies are very complex. They take a lot of infrastructure to function – from highways patrolled by college educated highway patrol officers to emergency medical technicians trained to respond to everything from heart attacks to toxins released buy a derailed train. To engineers that maintain sophisticated bridges and design production methods for modern consumer products. Modern conservatives Republicans, the biggest welfare queens in the nations’ history want a free ride and want the biggest share of the GDP. You have to give them credit for sheer nerve. Conservatives are the people who work up a giant fit over someone buying a soft drink with food stamps yet let have no problem with fat-ass corporate plutocrats making 200 times what their employees make. Today’s conservatives think health care for Americans is so horrible, so mired in the slippery slope of socialism, they cheer for the death of people who do not have insurance. Then they turn around and preach morality to the rest of us.