The GOP, Conservatives, and Insanity

Put aside policy issues where we can disagree, but it seems to me that the right is starting to act in ways that are clearly insane.

The earliest example I can think of is when GW Bush nominated Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. It was so totally out of left field. She was a competent lawyer but by no means a heavyweight. It left even his supporters scratching their heads and he was never able to give a coherent defense as to why he thought she was appropriate.

Move on to McCain selecting Palin. An older candidate with health problems selects someone who was clearly not ready to take on the Presidency. I think she may be more intelligent than people think, but she just didn’t have the grasp of history, geography, and current events that would have allowed her to take on the job of POTUS. In 2012, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Bachman were all seen as viable candidates. A few years ago they would have just been jokes.

Then of course there are the birthers that managed to convince a sizable number of GOP voters that Obama wasn’t a US citizen. Recently we heard from national office holders that thought women couldn’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape”.

Now we hear claims of black people being bused into Maine to vote, massive voter fraud in other states, and other wild conspiracy theories. Anyone able to look rationally at what the pools were predicting could see that the results were in line with them and we don’t need to posit a conspiracy to explain them.

Anyway, it leads to me to conclude that we are seeing batshit crazy lunacy rather than simple political disagreement. I don’t think I explained this well, but it feels very different than what I have seen in the last 40 years I have been following politics.

There are plenty of smart conservatives, IMO, and smart Republicans. But (again IMO) the prominent Republicans in the last decade or two have not been intellectually curious. They’re smart (in the rawest sense of the word), but not interested in different ideas or different ways of thinking. They didn’t seek out information and ideas from the other side. I think this explains their rejection of scientific principles like evolution and climate change, and their insistence on supporting absurd ideas like “lower taxes always raises revenue”. I think a big chunk of the Republican party is faith-based- not just on religious issues, but on every issue. Lower taxes, always (what happens when they get to zero?). Increase defense spending, always. The only way to show strength internationally is through military force. Support Israel’s leaders, always. Data and analysis doesn’t matter (or only matter when they support these already-decided issues).

There are some “faith-based” liberals too. But I think, in general, the Democrats and the left have been more willing to actually explore the ideas and information presented by the other side- and has been quite willing to change their stance on any number of issues when the data indicates.


I’m asking this question in an effort to understand and define your standard of review.

Do you believe that the 2004 presidential election in Ohio was stolen by vote fraud?

If not, do you regard that claim as reasonable (though false) or as “batshit crazy?”

In all seriousness, she is a master of the sound bite: Lame stream media, death panels, how’s that working fer ya. Contrast that to Kerry who could take three sentences to say what kind of ice cream he preferred.

Great, another broad brush thread that lets the screeching left tee off on the martyred right. What could possibly go wrong?

Maybe the sound bite but the sound 3-course meal is rambling, disjointed and incoherent.

Had to go back and refresh my memory. I think the idea that the Ohio vote was rigged is very unlikely though remotely plausible, but I never thought that any evidence was provided to make it worth my time to consider. My personal metric: someone other than Oswald shot Kennedy is not plausible, someone conspired with Oswald is plausible but no evidence has been presented to support it.

While I think the OP is obviously over-reacting, there is more than a kernel of truth there. And I think now that the election is over, we’re seeing some of the up and comers trying to distance themselves from the crazies, and to get the GOP to recognize that it needs to make some serious changes to its message. How this will play out is anyone’s guess at this point. But it’s silly to extrapolate the status quo and just assume that this is how things will be 10 years from now.

It looks like the GOP is simply doubling down on crazy. McCain is leading the change on Bengazhi and you have Senators screeching that Obama is a “liar”. Contrast that to the non-crazy, bi-partisan way 9/11 was investigated.

Can you list any heavyweight Democrats who have alleged that Ohio 2004 was stolen by vote fraud?

McCain will be dead in 10 years.

You can always cherry pick anecdotes to “prove” something in politics. There is a vacuum right now, as I don’t think many people consider Romney to be the leader of the GOP. I’m Ok with waiting awhile before I decide what direction the party is going in. It’s only been one week since the election.

We can hope that the GOP will learn from its lessons and get back on track. If Boehner is able to reach some agreement that combines revenue increases with substantial spending cuts it will be indicative that there is some sanity left.

i don’t have much, and i don’t want to be roped into the tentacled fight the OP might be looking for, but i want to point something out:

the smartest human i know in real life has become increasingly conservative over time. he has been an anti-religious atheist liberal his whole life…but he is starting to be more and more and more and more right-wing on a lot of issues. he is also growing smarter all the time.

2 reasons for his new-found conservativism: 1, he is making an increasingly good living with more and more control over his company and 2 (THE BIG REASON) he has a child-daughter and a brand new baby daughter. nearly all of his shift from liberal-moderate-to-conservative are based on what he perceives as “emphasis on family values.”

i cannot debate it one way or the other, but i think it’s interesting.

Why do you think he’s growing smarter? If you look at areas of the country that stress “family values” they have higher than average rates of divorce and teenage pregnancy. Meanwhile, those godless liberal states like Massachusetts compare favorably. Looking outside the US, countries that are much more liberal than the US are even better. Studies have shown that sex education in schools corresponds to children waiting longer to have sex.

There was a thread a while back (I can’t find it now) that was based on a report that people with mental disorders overwhelmingly voted for Bush in 2004.

I wonder what happened in 2008 and 2012.

I am being serious… I understand that she did win over a lot of conservatives but I’m very hesitant to chalk that up to intelligence. Most of her soundbites made a complete asshole out of her.

Interesting. It’s possible that he is just voting for his self interest (a perfectly rational and acceptable thing to do). The Democrats and Republicans have different answers for the issues of [young single men] or [middle aged married men with children] and he may have liked the Democratic answers to his bachelor-problems but likes the Republican answers to his family-man-problems. Right?

They became candidates

the guy is bright. he always has been, but it just keeps getting worse. i’ve never known anyone who has a standard working knowledge of literally everything i can throw at him who randomly takes up a hobby interest in quantum mechanics and names his daughter after Elinor Ostrom. he’s not a middling brainiac. he’s ever-evolving and constantly learning, and for some reason (family) he is becoming more politically conservative (it’s family).

i’m not debating that the christian right has more morals or not. what i am saying is i know a guy, who is by all measures a genius, who is in his 30s and just now leaning right. i’m not debating if he’s on the right or wrong track, or if his rational pays off in better ethical structure or whatever else. i’m just saying “here’s this thing…i think it’s interesting.”

i certainly find it interesting. a BIG part of what really perplexes me is i grew up super conservative faaaar right christian…became more and more educated, and this point can’t logically justify the Christian version of God. i feel i am increasingly liberal just as a matter of course of education and general data mining.

he, on the other hand, has always been smarter than i could ever hope to be, started out as a rational atheist–even when i would debate him on end about how i “felt” god or whatever as a kid…

but now he is sure to let his oldest kid read the bible. he’s still atheist–but he realizes the moral value (he is a bit picky about which sections she gets to read). the first time i questioned him about it he told me he felt it was only fair to objectively expose her to EVERYTHING, and at that age could see a lot of positive reasons a home-controlled sundayschool-type bible learning could do. i can’t really argue that–the Jefferson Bible is a pretty good teaching tool on morality, i guess.
in debate, he typically sides right on a lot of issues, albeit more moderate right. we disagree on a lot of things in the opposite ways now. it’s bizarre. and it’s all due to his family unit. some aspects of the right seem more conducive to the family structure, which…i guess that tracks pretty demographically in that way if you look at the stats. right leaners are protestant middle-upper class family types. he’s feigning the protestant part but all else makes sense.

all that said, he abstained from this election. he REALLY wanted to get on board with romney, and was won over in a few areas, but he’s smart enough to see the baloney and knew Rom was a bad idea. he said from now on he will never vote unless he is 100% won over. can’t argue with that. but we talk a lot about social issues, morality, trends in culture, family and all this stuff–and he trends right on more and more issues all the time…and it’s basically because he has a family to look out for.

i am not saying his way of thinking is correct–i’m just noting it’s an interesting factoid that *family alone *was a huge motivation in shifting how a very progressive, liberal, well educated and thoughtful person think about things.