Idiocy Quotient

From SPIEGEL ONLINE INTERNATIONAL:

The US Republican race is dominated by ignorance, lies and scandals. The current crop of candidates have shown such a basic lack of knowledge that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein. The Grand Old Party is ruining the entire country’s reputation.

corndog bats Original DVD cover

Africa is a country. In Libya, the Taliban reigns. Muslims are terrorists; most immigrants are criminal; all Occupy protesters are dirty. And women who feel sexually harassed — well, they shouldn’t make such a big deal about it.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the US Republicans. Or rather, to the twisted world of what they call their presidential campaigns. For months now, they’ve been traipsing around the country with their traveling circus, from one debate to the next, one scandal to another, putting themselves forward for what’s still the most powerful job in the world.

As it turns out, there are no limits to how far they will stoop.

…snip…

It’s horrifying because these eight so-called, would-be candidates are eagerly ruining not only their own reputations and that of their party, the party of Lincoln lore. Worse: They’re ruining the reputation of the United States.

…snip…
“When did the GOP lose touch with reality?” wonders Bush’s former speechwriter David Frum in New York Magazine. In the New York Times, Kenneth Duberstein, Ronald Reagan’s former chief-of-staff, called this campaign season a “reality show,” while Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan confidante Peggy Noonan even spoke of a “freakshow.”

That may be the most appropriate description.

…snip…

[J]ust like any freakshow, this one would be unthinkable without a stage (in this case, the media, strangling itself with all its misunderstood “political correctness” and “objectivity”) and an audience (the party base, which this year seems to have suffered a political lobotomy).

And so the farce continues. The more mind-boggling its incarnations, the happier the US media are to cheer first one clown and then the next, elevating and then eliminating “frontrunners” in reliable news cycles of about 45 days.

Take Herman Cain, “businessman.” He sat out the first wave of sexual harassment claims against him by offering a peculiar argument: Most ladies he had encountered in his life, he said, had not complained.

…snip…

As CEO of the “Godfather’s” pizza chain, Cain killed jobs — but now poses as the job-creator-in-chief. Meanwhile, he seems to lack basic economic know-how, let alone a rudimentary grasp of politics or geography. Libya confounds him. He does not believe that China is a nuclear power. And all other, slightly more complicated questions get a stock answer: “Nine-nine-nine!” Remember? That’s Cain’s tax reduction plan that would actually raise taxes for 84 percent of Americans.

…snip…

Then there’s Newt Gingrich, the current favorite. He’s a political dinosaur, dishonored and discredited. Or so we thought. Yet just because he studied history and speaks in more complex sentences than his rivals, the US media now reflexively hails him as a “Man of Ideas” (The Washington Post) — even though most of these ideas are lousy if not downright offensive, such as firing unionized school janitors, so poor children could do their jobs.

Pompous and blustering, Gingrich gets away with this humdinger as well as with selling himself as a Washington outsider — despite having made millions of dollars as a lobbyist in Washington.

…snip…

The hypocrisy doesn’t end here. Gingrich claims moral authority on issues such as the “sanctity of marriage,” yet he’s been divorced twice. He sprang the divorce on his first wife while she was sick with cancer. (His supporters’ excuse: It’s been 31 years, and she’s still alive.)

…snip…

Americans have a short memory. They forget, too, that Gingrich was driven out of Congress in disgrace, the first speaker of the house to be disciplined for ethical wrongdoing. Or that he consistently flirts with racism when he speaks of Barack Obama.

…snip…

And what about the other candidates? Rick Perry’s blunders are legendary. His “oops” moment in suburban Detroit. His frequently slurred speech, as if he was drunk. His TV commercials putting words in Obama’s mouth that he didn’t say (such as, “Americans are ‘lazy’”). His preposterous claim that as governor of Texas he created 1 million jobs, when the total was really just about 100,000. But what’s one digit? Elsewhere, Perry would have long ago been disqualified. But not here in the US.

Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann has fallen off the wagon, although she’s still tolerated as if she’s a serious contender. Ron Paul’s fan club gets the more excited, the more puzzling his comments get. Jon Huntsman, the only one who occasionally makes some sort of sense, has been relegated to the poll doldrums ever since he showed sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.

Which leaves Mitt Romney, the eternal flip-flopper and runner-up, who by now is almost guaranteed to clinch the nomination, even though no one in his party seems to like or want him.

…snip…

As an investor, Romney once raked in millions and, like Cain, killed jobs along the way. So now he says he’s the economy’s savior. To prove that, he has presented an economic plan that the usually quite conservative business magazine Forbes has labeled “dangerous,” asking incredulously, “About Mitt Romney, the Republicans can’t be serious.”

…snip…

What a nice club that is. A club of liars, cheaters, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses. “A starting point for a chronicle of American decline,” was how David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, described the current Republican race.

The Tea Party would take issue with that assessment. They cheer the loudest for the worst, only to see them fail, as expected, one by one. Which goes to show that this “movement,” sponsored by Fox News, has never been interested in the actual business of governing or in the intelligence and intellect that requires. They are only interested in marketing themselves, for ratings and dollars.

So the US elections are a reality show after all, a pseudo-political counterpart to the Paris Hiltons, Kim Kardashians and all the “American Idol” and “X Factor” contestants littering today’s TV. The cruder, the dumber, the more bizarre and outlandish — the more lucrative. Especially for Fox News, whose viewers were recently determined by Fairleigh Dickinson University to be far less informed than people who don’t watch TV news at all.

You should really read the entire article.  It’s really sad that this is how other parts of the world now see us.  What’s really hilarious, though, is that they didn’t even mention Rick Santorum!

Tip of the hat to my blogging buddie, aFrankAngle for making me aware of the article.

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60 Comments

Filed under Barack Obama, Chimpy, Fox News, George W. Bush, humor, Media, Mitt Romney, movies, Newt Gingrich, parody, politics, Racism, Republicans, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Scandals, Sexual Harassment, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

60 responses to “Idiocy Quotient

  1. nonnie,
    great cover if only for two reasons:
    1. I cannot, for the life of me, find the obligatory ubiquitous bats and
    2. It gives a perfect set up for my insider analysis of Bachmann’s political makeup: http://twitpic.com/7mp77a (worth a click :)
    ~ LL

    • i wouldn’t leave out the bat, latte. look at her necklace. i love the makeup! it’s perfect!

      • my eyesight wasn’t the second thing to go. my counting ability was.
        i dunno how i could’ve missed it. (if you tell me you added the bat later to make me feel better, i will humbly accept your pity :)
        ~ LL

        • no worries, latte. i was actually worried that the bat was difficult to see, and i potchkeyed around with it over and over again. i guess i should have potchkeyed a bit longer. oh well, at least i got to use the word potchkeyed. how often do i get a chance to do that? :wink:

  2. “the party base, which this year seems to have suffered a political lobotomy”

    I’d rather say they’ve been given crack and steroids instead of anti-psychotics and tranquilizers. A lobotomy is at least *supposed* to be a treatment, even though it turned out to be quackery.

  3. The public tolerance for these jerks is exasperating. And former NM governor who is normal (with a human head) can’t even get a seat at the table. But this is what you get when big business picks candidates.

    Philosopher John Stuart Mill called conservatives “the stupidest party.” These GOP candidates are the perfect poster idiots for Mill’s point.

    • i would change “public” to “mass media”. the public has been rendered docile by MM. calling the general public “tolerant” raises general public’s general ignorance on key issues to an undeserved level.

      then again, this is the elitist Latte Liberal talking.
      @self in 3rd person, Herman Cain-like :D
      ~ LL

      • Good point. But it’s kind of a vicious circle. The MM is what it is because that gets ratings and $$$….it’s the candy the public wants. If the public demanded better quality from the MM, they’d get it.

        • yes and no. the news channels put in just enough of something interesting to keep you watching. the important stuff is sandwiched between piles of bullshit, because it’s cheaper to pay some talking bobbleheads to bloviate than to pay actual reporters to dig out the truth. i’ve written countless times to cnn and msnbc to complain when they continue to keep racists (erick erickson and pat buchanan, to name a couple) on the payroll and when i thought they were unfair. know how many times i got an actual answer? not once. i haven’t watched cnn since they hired that racist piece of shit. people aren’t happy with the programming, but they don’t seem to care. as long as they get a certain number of viewers, they can sell advertising, and that’s all they care about.

    • i was going to say that i don’t think too many people really have a tolerance for these jerks, but they have no choice what is put on tv news. i was going to say that, but then i looked and i see that latte already said it better that i could.

      • I may be a hard ass. While I recognize the difficulty of large groups (citizenry) acting morally and intelligently, I feel passionately that individuals have a responsibility to keep themselves informed about the world around them. It’s news’ responsibility to make the significant (however tedious) relevant, and they don’t. That’s a legitimate criticism. But the reason stupid sex scandals get top billing (Weiner’s weiner) is because ratings spike on those story. The news bends to the will of viewer interests for $$$. A few weeks ago 77% of Americans agreed with tax hikes for the wealthy. That should have bee HUGE news, but it generally played out as “Side A says…Side B says” which grotesquely distorts the story. That’s news’ fault–it’s a brain dead method for willfully lazy journalists. A handful objections won’t change the methods. A mass response of rejection to the method would, because as a for-profit enterprise, news responds to what makes the industry money. (Another criticism…the for-profit business model). Still, I will not let the public off the hook and say news organizations are the only ones at fault. (I disdain unnecessary coddling of capable people). The public’s taste for stupidity and tolerance for laziness have a role in the current state of news. If I say, it’s all news’ fault, I feel like that’s saying people are too stupid to think on their own and too incompetent to demand quality. Last week, one news program made the Top 20, 60 Minutes with 4.8 million viewers. The same number of people watched Raw World Wrestling. :roll:

        • P.S. I just thought on an example of how news got better one time. Rachel Maddow is a top caliber journalist (even though I’m not crazy about her more cutesy stuff). She’s excellent. Her eventual placement at MSNBC came about from a demand created in the public. The experimental programming that came before her: Rita Cosby: Live & Direct (utterly lame) and Tucker (uber lame). The Most with Alison Stewart (former Mtv VeeJay) and Verdict with Dan Abrams both relied heavily on the “Side A says…Side B says.” The public rejected Cosby’s sensationalized bs, neocons, and the “Side A says…Side B says” method and Maddow’s brand found a place.

          • jay

            I think the majority of us want to rely on mainstream news. Even if very good reporting exists (Maddow is awesome), my impression is that a lot of people will reject whatever is out of mainstream news because they want to feel they belong to the majority. No matter how ridicule this majority may be.

            • i think most people don’t have the time to look for alternative sources of news. the people who most need to see and understand what’s really going on don’t have the resources.

          • it used to be that the media got better when times got worse. i don’t know why that isn’t the case now, although i guess blogs and internet magazines have taken over where the news biz has failed epically. every once in a while, 60 minutes will have an insightful piece, like the one they just did about homeless kids in floriduhhh. however, even that show has gone downhill, with politicians to trying to remake themselves in the eyes of the public with only a mention of how full of shit they are (lesley stahl’s specialty) or one of the reporters giving some nitwit celeb a tongue bath. remember when they did actual investigative reporting? now they wait for a whistleblower to come calling on them after doing their work for them. it used to be that going after the truth was what the news biz was all about. now it’s just about making the most profit. instead of real anchormen or women, we have news celebs. anderson cooper, the ryan seacrest of news (and have i ever told you how much i loathe ryan seacrest?). even rachel maddow got her job, because she was already a bit of a celeb on the radio. nothing wrong with that, but she’s not a real journalist. she’s more of an opinion person. what really bugs me is how much of her show (and all the other news shows) is how much time with teasers about what’s coming up (usually fluff). all that time spent on that could be used to actually delve deeper into a story so that people have a better handle on it. she does a better job getting into the meat of the stories, but she can do better. msnbc has turned into a pissing match with faux news. there are shows spent almost entirely telling us what someone on faux news said about al sharpton or ed schultz in response to what rev. al or ed schultz said about them. it goes back and forth, and it’s no longer a news show. it’s a televised spat with bill0 or one of the other imbeciles on faux.

            what’s the answer? i don’t know. so far, the only thing that seems to work is targeting the advertisers. it’s what got rid of glenn blechhh.

            • i have said this before – the american public is obsessed with being entertained – even at the expense of moving the country forward – everything americans do revolves around entertainment and fame – and politics has managed to be the next arena to be caught in the entertainment merry go round –

              watching policy talk is simply – boring – americans do not want boring – they want to be entertained – period. for a supposedly smart society we arent that smart – while the public is getting its constant dousing of soma (“brave new world”) called entertainment – the corporations and people like the kock brothers have managed to take over everything. the sad part is that most americans STILL do not see they have been bamboozled

              • elizabeth3hersh

                Policy discussions would be a whole lot more interesting if the candidates laid out precisely their viewpoint and demonstrated some mastery in the political arena. Instead, their views are phrased in the most generic terms possible and in such a way to appeal to the masses (indie vs. mainstream). I never LEARN anything…that is why I find these debates (and politics in general) boring. The Trump debate interests me since I will be looking at the exchanges from a psychiatric perspective: that of megalomania. Humor ‘trumps’ boredom. :-)

              • but what came first, the chicken or the egg? were americans always more interested in being entertained rather than informed, or did the media get us addicted to fluff? it’s like the obesity epidemic. are americans happy to be fat and did they purposely overeat in order to become the rolypolys they are? or did the food corporations put all kinds of shit in the food in order to get us addicted to foods that make us fat? the same thing for big tobacco. they put more and more nicotine into cigarettes in order to make it harder for people to quit and to make ciggies much more addictive should someone begin to smoke. do we really like the bullshit that passes for news programs these days, or are we addicted to fluff?

                • Sedate Me

                  People can only buy what they’re sold. And once they buy it, they create a bigger market for it. They also grow accustomed to it and expect more of the same. Anything else is “foreign” tasting.

                  It’s a perpetual bullshit machine. Once it gets rolling, there’s no stopping it.

    • I too am disappointed that Gary Johnson hasn’t received a seat at the table. While I don’t agree with everything he’s said, he makes far more sense that the other GOP contenders.

  4. jay

    Bachmann looks like she’s having the time of her life:

  5. After watching the interview last night on The Last Word, I keep getting this mental image of Cain doing a bit off the old Amos and Andy TV show (he hasn’t been home in a while) where the Kingfish is sneaking in the house late at night, and Saphire is there waiting with a skillet ready to go….”Saphire, honey, you don’t understand…it wasn’t that way at all….”

  6. Between the Republican slate and the way Republicans act on Capitol Hill, no wonder my interest in politics is waning – so even as one from the independent center, this article hit the mark for me! … and the toilet scenes are fitting.

    Please excuse me as we must starting prepping for a party as we are hosting many friends to watch Herman’s news conference. Thanks for the shoutout Nonnie!

  7. gregg

    none of them can support the “theory” of evolution. this is so mind boggling. the fossil record, carbon dating, tectonic plate movement, dna decoding….and yet both the well educated among them and the true morons among them all have so encouraged stupidity in their voter base that not one can accept the most basic principle of modern biology. unfuckingbelievable!

  8. The debates have turned more into “debunks”- where the candidates are given enough metaphoric rope to hang themselves. I was just surprised Newt’s let the poor kids be janitors @ schools & get rid of the adult union janitorial workers did not immediately put him in the discarded politician pile. Well he was speaking @ Harvard & was not proposing the rich folks kids scrub their school’s toilets– just the poor folks kids.
    Newt probably could not identify or know how to operate a toilet scrub brush! That’s what *the staff* are for, right?
    He deserves the toilet scrub brush upside the head award.

    The whole lot are clowns & jokers. The GOP’s finest!

    • they aren’t debates, they’re a reality show. the more obnoxious you are, the more the viewers want to see you continue, and the more airtime you get, because the more viewers, the more advertising you can sell.

  9. Herman is by far my favorite. I’m gonna miss him after the Misses throws his ass out!

  10. A day doesn’t go by when I wonder what the hell has happened to the Republican party and whether they can get more mean-spirited and obstructionist than they already are. Fortunately, this morning, I discovered a website called, “Republicans for Obama.” I actually feel a lot better.

  11. jeb

    Borowitz said it best in his latest about Herman Cain: “Oh, I know what you’re saying: you love Newt because he’s an “intellectual.” Well, Newt Gingrich is the intellectual of the Republican field the way Moe was the intellectual of the Stooges.”

    https://mikk2.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/idiocy-quotient/#comment-46802

  12. elizabeth3hersh

    Not even 5” had elapsed after lamenting to my daughter how utterly BORING politics is and how Romney will probably emerge the frontrunner much as The Apprentice season 1 winner Bill Rancic won by virtue of elimination when I learn (drumroll please) that ahem, The Donald (The Donald!) will be MODERATING a Republican debate on December 27th on some obscure channel. Not a chance in hell would I miss that debate even if it means I have to upgrade my cable package to get said channel.

    • Friend of the court

      i hope trump fires them all.

    • i can’t tell you how much i detest, loath, abhor, despise donald trump. he’s arrogant with no good reason for being so. his money was inherited, he’s ugly, he has no sense of humor, and he’s too conceited to realize that people are laughing at him, not with him. hell, his current trophy wife wouldn’t even say she loved him during their wedding ceremony (i wish i could find the article. i laughed my ass off.)

  13. It’s not just the cruelty, hypocricy, and idiocy of the current GOP contenders that bothers me; it’s they’re theocratic rhetoric as well. Their vision of a right-wing fundamentalist America should give us all pause.

  14. Sedate Me

    Being a Canadian, I am close enough to see every wrinkle in Uncle Sam’s face, but far enough away not to get sucked into the blinding vortex of batshit. (I hope.)

    That article is one of the best summations I’ve seen. And, yes, this is pretty much how much of the world sees America (or worse). There’s guano in your water and you’ve been chugging it back for decades!

    Americans are seen as crazy, lazy, fat, stupid, loud, arrogant, irresponsible, ultra-violent, attention seekers, who think with their crotches and are ruled by their basest instincts. Yeah, I know for a fact it’s nowhere near true of 100% of Americans 100% of the time. (However, the real percentages sure seem to be creeping upwards.) Collectively, you guys have this amazing ability to put your worst foot forward. For example, take American global cultural exports: Springer, Maury, CSI, permanent unending war, etc)

    Just look at this Republican race for President. The stage is smothered in folks who almost literally jumped out of a clown car….and some of the A-list clowns like Palin & Trump passed. The endless debates and blathering sure hasn’t done any of them any favours. It’s a MONTH before Iowa casts the first ballot and only 3 candidates can still be taken remotely seriously. How much longer until they’ve all crashed and burned? New Hampshire maybe? Great idea starting this so early Republican Party.

    And who isn’t DOA in this Reality TV game-show? The Mormon with MPD (Multiple Policy Disorder) who couldn’t run from his own past faster if he used as much steroids as the average baseball player. Then there’s the philandering, ethics-free, professional asshole with his Calista-bot stuck to his side? That’s the best the United States can come up as a finalist for “Leader of the Free World”? Yet one of them is going to win and get a 50-50 shot at becoming President. Profoundly Scary.

    I wonder if China can come up with something better because America sure looks like it’s run its course.

    • elizabeth3hersh

      Sedate me (sigh)…where have your been? I’ve missed you. (I thought we were ‘done.’) As to your comments about Americans in general (swallows hard)…probably true (as least judged by the tourists I see wondering up and down Las Vegas Blvd).

      • Sedate Me

        As you well know, I am a man in high demand. Don’t worry. Eventually, I’ll get around to calling on the number clutched tightly in your hand. The waiting is well worth it, if I don’t say so myself.

        As for “hard on Americans”, yes I am, but not nearly as hard as this century is going to be on them. They need a good smack to the head to wake them the hell up while there’s still a chance. As I said (or botched saying), not 100% of those qualities are present in 100% of Americans 100% of the time. (60% maybe?) So, by my standards, that’s starry-eyed optimism.

        However, the comment was more about how America is seen by the world. Unlike you guys who are completely oblivious to us, we see everything you do and take notes. I can assure you that if you out those qualities on a list, handed the to non-Americans and asked “Who do these qualities best represent?” the top 2 answers would be “Americans” and “God damned young people.” (Globalism is churning out factory assembled young people.) It’s not so much about hatred as it is about the image you guys project around the world. (See: Jersey Shore)

        (Good to cross paths again Elizabeth.)

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