A Confederacy Of Dunces

"The Third-Term Panic", by Thomas Na...

A confederacy of dunces indeed

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” - Senator Mitch McConnell.

“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”  -Jonathan Swift

Surely the leader of the senate in the GOP has more important objectives than this right?  I mean, would it not seem the most important thing is delivering the American people from the yoke of institutional oppression–borne from years of unregulated companies and industries that have run amok.  Wouldn’t it be making sure Americans have access to affordable health care?  Wouldn’t it be reining in the ballooning deficit?

So here we have the opposition–  champions of Constitutional rights who, invariably, know next to nothing about what is actually in the Constitution–but are proud to extol the virtues of limiting government overreach, using the constitution as validation.

And why would they have to?  When the electorate in this country is so upside down.  When the voting public answers the same question in two different ways, why would this new breed of populist public servant feel they need to be nuanced and litereate on pertinenet issues? Example:

What to make of the findings of the latest NYT poll? I have to say it makes me scratch my head. It portends a big Republican wave election, buoyed by a new conviction that people want smaller government that does less rather (55 percent) than a bigger one with more services (36 percent). At the same time, 71 percent oppose reducing social security benefits for future retirees; 54 percent oppose raising the retirement age (42 percent support it); 57 percent oppose not giving social security recipients a raise in benefits this year; and a small majority 45 – 41 do not want the health insurance reform bill repealed.

It’s no wonder Americans aren’t batting an eye at the sheer lunacy of some of the political fringe.  They’ve fed off manufactured packaged outrage for the last two years.  Thus we are left with mass political confusion.

Clearly what we’re dealing with is the absence of ideas– there is no clear cut methodology as to how their goals get achieved.  The loudest voices in the Tea Party have become the moving fog, sucking oxygen from the improbable mixture of a bad economy, misplaced fear, and right-wing fundamentalist theology.  But what happens when the party of nihilist protest achieves power, and comes to find that wielding it means putting away their pitchforks?  Without a plan–other than cutting taxes–what is to prevent them from doing far more damage to an already depressed economy than they ever imagined?

Herein lies the problem:  Can one of these new wave politicians articulate a policy–any policy that significantly reduces the deficit, or cuts entitlement programs?  What government waste are they interested in cutting that is not a social program aimed at alleviating hardships of middle class and poor Americans?  Are they only interested in abolishing tax hikes forever and repealing government sponsored health care?  The answers to the former is nothing, and the latter is yes.

This season’s political climate is a reflection not on the seriousness of counter policies–as evidenced by the quote above from Mitch McConnell–but about broad euphemistic falsehoods, rooted in fear and obstruction.  The seething treatment of elite strategy seems to be a cover for inflated deficiencies in both policy knowledge and intellectuality.  It’s working perfectly, because not one media outlet is choosing to expose it.  The media is culpable for acquiescing to the tea party mythos because it entertains and it draws in viewers.  The strategy of the dunce has sapped the life from the progressive movement.  Welcome to the new political reality, controlled by a confederacy of dunces.

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