Duck! and Gather

Moronomania

Posted on: August 31, 2008

In my previous blog post, commenter Steve dove headlong into this topic, and we had a nice exchange. So I’ll elevate some of the ideas from there into this post. It’s about Sarah Palin, the moron.

Some political theorists like to look at American presidential elections  10 at a time (ie. 40 years). See, e.g., Millenial Makeover. The last such 10 elections were held 1968 through 2004 (see Wikipedia for details on these).

In every election, there are, of course, four critical people: presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the two political parties. Over the last 40 years, there have been 25 such different American individuals (many people appeared in multiple of these elections).

Looking over that list of 25 people, we could try to categorize them in different ways. For example, we could organize them by age, or by gender, or by tax policy, etc. Or we could sort them by emotional health. ie. Who was corrupt? Who was venal? Who was criminal?

But in this post, I’m looking at only one metric. Specifically, I’m looking at: Who was a moron?

By “moron”, I mean somebody with whom you couldn’t even have a conversation. Or at least, if you tried, you might feel kind of embarassed for them.

Looking at that list, I count only 2 such people: Dan Quayle and George W. Bush. In his second term, Ronald Reagan seemed to have already developed the dementia which eventually killed him. But it didn’t seem significant at the time of the 2004 election, and anyway, this post isn’t about medical conditions arising late in life. Instead, it’s about a lifelong mindlessness.

Now in 2008, we have our third: Sarah Palin. Why do I say she’s a moron? What I’ll say here is do what I did: Get on YouTube, watch and listen to the lady speak. Google her, and read the various stories on her, and think about her role in those stories. If you come to a different conclusion than I, please comment.

But the reason I bring up the fact that Palin is a moron is to highlight this fascinating pattern: 40 years of elections, 25 people, 2 morons, both Republicans. Now, in 2008, the Republicans have put forth the third in this hallowed line: Sarah Palin.

A question arises: Is it just historical accident that one party has had all the morons? Or is there some systemic reason for this?

My hunch is the latter. Here’s my idea: I believe the fundamental purpose of the Democrats is progressive; that of the Republicans is regressive. That is, the mission of the Democrats is to progress the nation forward into some unknown place in history. The Republicans, on the other hand, serve to prune the excesses of the Democrats (ie. “they went too far this time”), and so take the nation back to some known, if mythical, place.

What sounds harder to you? Creating something new, or copying something old? I think, in general, the former is much harder than the latter. If this is true, then no moron could ever represent the former camp; but same is not true for the latter camp.

That is, the Republicans could win with a moron on the ticket — and of the 7 presidential elections they won from 1968 to 2004, they had a moron on the ticket for 3 of them — because their collective job isn’t that hard. It isn’t hard to be a conservative. Just read history books, pick some parts that you like, or that your handlers tell you to push, and just regurgitate that history.

There’s little if any intellectual risk in that approach. That’s why Dan Quayle and George Bush II could pass regular bowel movements in the White House for 12 years, and the nation could survive it.

But what about Sarah Palin? Will history repeat itself? i.e. Just another Republican moron sitting on a White House toilet for 4 years?

I don’t think so. That’s why I’m blogging. This nation is about to collapse. Our entire way of life is about to be swept under the rug of history. This soon-to-be-extinct way of life is 60+ years in the making.

The future is dark, and unknowable. What is known, looks scary. It’s relatively easy to predict the coming collapse in America. Many have done so, and many more are doing so.

But what’s hard is to envision how things will or should play out after the collapse is engaged and the panic has begun. We’ll just have to play it by ear when those days come to pass.

As badly as George Bush has “handled” 9/11, imagine what Sarah Palin might do in future events that make 9/11 look like a Disney movie.

You might say: Don’t worry, even if McCain succumbs to his accelerated aging, and Palin becomes the POTUS, she will be controlled by shadowy clever figures in the administration (a la Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, et al).

If that’s your response, then I’ll say it doesn’t give me much comfort. Worse, I’ll point you to Google for “sarah palin mike wooten” and note that this particular moron, in her first opportunity with the ultimate executive power, misused that power to do something she believed (and I actually agree in that case) was “right”.

That is, in her two short years as governor of Alaska, she has already misused her power as governor by placing herself “above the law” to “do the right thing”.

If George Bush has done anything himself these past 8 years — i.e. things not directed of him by his handlers — he has done this. He has placed himself above the law.

But he’s a moron. I don’t think he even understands it. I don’t think Palin does either.

This is what we’re facing. A POTUS too dumb to understand the coming times, yet too eager to use the executive power like a monarch would. Scary stuff.

2 Responses to "Moronomania"

I agree that there are a number of reasons to be concerned about Palin.

This is a time when we need exceptionally smart leadership in the White House, transparent governance, and strong foreign relations skills. This is not a time to elevate the common man (or woman as the case may be) to a position second in line to the presidency. Palin is in most aspects (except for her recent meteoric rise to VP Candidate) is common. Her academic career is not outstanding, she graduated with a bachelors degree from the University of Idaho five years and two school transfers after her academic career began at Hawaii Pacific University. Compare this to Bill Clinton who attended Goergetown as an undergraduate, was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and graduated from Yale Law school, Gore who graduated cum laude from Harvard, Hilary Clinton who attended Wellesley and Yale Law School and Obama who graduated from Columbia and Harvard Law. Palin’s political career is also not outstanding, perhaps due to its brevity — she was only elected governor of Alaska in Nov. 2006. Prior to that she was on the city council and mayor of a small town. While she is an accomplished woman, she is still common when compared to others in the presidential/vice presidential pool. Being a common woman myself, I prefer to have uncommon intelligence at the helm during what I am sure will be some trying times ahead.

First, our nation is facing serious economic issues. The final chapters of the subprime fallout and the credit crisis still remain unwritten. Our financial institutions are ailing. While the feds have so far averted disaster by bailing out Bear Stearns, Fannie and Freddie and Indy Mac our financial and banking systems are far from healthy at this point. Many banks remain precarious as the subprime mess continues to unfold. If our unresolved financial issues are mishandled it could spell absolute disaster for the US Economy (on par with the collapse of Argentina’s economy). At this time, an executive office needs to be armed with people having a firm grasp of economic policy and the potential impacts of either action or inaction with respect to the nation’s financial institutions.

Second, the global dynamic is shifting and as new world powers emerge, old powers reemerge (Russia), third world nations continue to develop and technology evens the economic and political playing fields the US needs to be able to ensure it can compete globally and that it doesn’t fall behind. The US needs to be a player in the global community. Now is not the time for isolationism. A politician from Alaska (an isolationist state) with little to no foreign policy experience seems a poor choice when global issues are so important. With a world that is advancing so quickly, now is also not the time to stunt scientific progress, by drying up important funding for medical and scientific research and by stifling young brilliant curious minds by deterring science curriculum in favor of creationism.

Third, among the many transgressions of the Bush administration was its excessive use of secret executive orders, which (particularly when combined with the republican congress) resulted in the loss of transparency and allowed the administration to proceed unchecked with questionable if not outright unconstitutional policies. It is crucial to the survival of our system of government that transparency be returned to the executive office and that the executive power grab evidenced during the last eight years be stopped. While we often admire the maverick who breaks the rules in order to do what’s right, such maverick behavior poses an enormous threat to our system and our way of life. What one person believes is right (such as the use of torture to achieve success in war) may to many be very wrong. The rules may slow things down a bit, but they also protect us from the misguided maverick who wholly believes in their mission no matter how wrong that mission’s purpose may be. I would rather place my faith in collective process that relies on many elected officials than a maverick who ignores the rules and proceeds on principle. Even if I were to believe in the McCain/Palin agenda (which I do not), to allow these mavericks to dismantle the protections built in to our system (which would compound the damage done by Bush’s excessive use of the executive order) would leave us vulnerable to the next politician who may be even more misguided.

A common person cannot tackle the issues ahead, and if we hand power to a common person with the arrogance to believe that they can solve these problems coupled with enough disrespect of our system that they feel entitled to break some rules to achieve their goals — we will be adrift without any anchor at a crucial point in our nation’s history.

Excellent analysis Pam. Thanks. Your comment nicely explains exactly why America can’t afford a moron right now for a leader. It will be interesting to watch these next couple months to see what the public does here regarding Palin.

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