Feb 21 2010

A Waste Of Precious Time – On Dumbership

The nation has been through many tough times in its past. From the war of 1812, through the civil war and into the Great Depression and World War II, this nation has been through incredibly tough times. 9-11, the last great test of our resolve and strength, surprised even us when we emerged more united than since World War II. We had common cause, built around the center of the electorate. And we had leadership.

But then there have been times when the political fringes got restless with the slow pace of their ideological take over of ‘true’ America – even though there is always clear evidence their ideology was not supported by the majority of Americans. Recently the far right took first turn at using the levers of power post 9-11 to try and impose hyper partisan ideas on a nation that had been supporting GOP leadership up until then.

Hyper partisan” is the condition where the proposed policies are so far out of the mainstream they create a split in the partisan coalition of the sponsoring party, while the opposing party is in near unanimous opposition. It is the act of proposing such toxic ideas it creates a backlash by the majority of America.

The GOP was soundly thrown out of power for the conservative movement’s over reaching.

Then the liberals took a Democrat Party sweep at the voting booth in 2006 and 2008 and again tried to use the levers of power to impose their hyper partisan ideology. Now they are on a path to get thrown out of power in a massive backlash in 2010. Why these hyper partisans think they can bully the rest of us around with their unsubstantiated arrogance is beyond me – and most other Americans.

Usually these hyper partisans are not the brightest bulbs, hence their simple and broad brush ideas to complex solutions that have highly complex ramifications. If they were fairly smart and had some common sense they would know complex problems with complex ramifications don’t respond well to simpleton approaches (it’s like the difference between applying neurosurgery or the drinking of fragrant tea when dealing with deadly brain damage, one option is simple – very simple).

The Obama-Reid-Pelosi stimulus bill passed last year was based on a liberal, simpleton idea that government spending would help job creation within 6 months of passage (their charts, not mine). Anyone in DC with a few IQ points should know government programs never get started in under a year. Thus any economic stimulus would be delayed, and the economic pain extended – not corrected. Guess what happened.

Three articles up at RCP today really define what is happening in national politics right now, and why the Democrats are pushing harder and harder for political oblivion. The liberal Dem leaders are willing to go to any extent to prove their failed ideas are not failures. Which means they will continue to self destruct in a blaze of ignorance and arrogant denial until the end.

To understand the current dynamics is to understand where we are right now, and between DC and the rest of the country those are two totally different places.

First case in point:

He [President Obama] could have skipped the soaring oratory [at the State of the Union] and boiled his message [to America] down to three words: “We’re in trouble.”

The president spoke to a country that is in a mood of pessimism and deflation. Gone is much of the hope and enthusiasm that greeted Obama in the early days of his presidency. The nation had come together to derail a threatening Great Depression with strong support for the stimulus package and other measures. But Obama then squandered this political momentum by pursuing agendas inconsistent with the country’s focus.

This excellent observation is then followed by a bunch of useless policy ideas until we get to the end:

This administration loses rather than gains when it gives the impression that it is putting politics ahead of policy, staying in a campaigning and not a governing mode, and attacking the business world as a political tactic. In the end, the American people are going to demand: Where are the jobs? Unemployment is the leading indicator when it comes to politics. Jobs, jobs, jobs must be the No. 1 challenge, and antibusiness rhetoric is not going to help.

No jobs are coming from the government through spending or intervention. None. The clock has run out on this Congress, probably this President. If jobs is the measure, then they have and will continue to fail if government intervention is their selected tool.

In fact it has been the continued government intervention and drain on the economy that delayed any recovery. Worse, now business growth is frozen because the government is sucking up all the credit and making wild, chaotic plans which make it impossible for businesses to plan any expansion. No one knows what idiotic simpleton thought will come blasting out of DC without any concept of its potential ramifications. Dems are poll testing sound bites, not analyzing policies. They are throwing out ideas like scatter shot. Everyone else in the country is waiting for their mental crack up to end before making long term plans.

The tried and true approach of cutting taxes and trimming spending is still off the table simply because liberals cannot fathom that Reagan, “W” Bush and John F. Kennedy were right and they were wrong about economic stimulus. Ego alone is now driving DC into the ditch.

Which brings me to case two:

Well, so much for the pivot to jobs. Late last week, the Obama administration and congressional Democrats made clear that, rather than turn to voters’ economic concerns in this winter of discontent, they want to persist in pushing the health care proposals they have championed for a year—proposals voters have rejected by every means at their disposal, from expressing (a still growing) opposition in polls, to scolding members of Congress in town hall meetings, to handing Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat to a Republican.

It is now clear that the “summit” the president has called for February 25 is not intended to consider different approaches to health care financing, but rather to create an illusion of momentum that might just lull disoriented congressional Democrats into ramming the health care bill through the budget reconciliation process.

The House and Senate bills do differ on some issues—a government insurance plan, the details of tax increases and Medicare cuts—but they agree on the big picture, which would be the essence of a combined bill: a massively ambitious, costly, intrusive, inefficient, and clumsy combination of mandates, taxes, subsidies, regulations, and new government programs intended over time to replace the American health insurance industry with an enormous federal entitlement while failing to address the rising costs at the heart of our health care dilemma.

It would raise taxes in a tough economic time, cut Medicare benefits without putting the program on a sustainable footing, create a new open-ended entitlement as we confront daunting deficits, and displace the insurance arrangements of millions.

It is pathetic really, watching these fools believe they are so slick, so savvy, so intellectually superior that these crass and transparent media tricks are going to fool Americans into backing a rejected ideology and its policies. I mean it is a simpleton facade wrapping a simpleton ideology – and they think no one is noticing?

It is not inspiring, it is not motivational, it is not leadership. It is dumbership – if I may coin a phrase. We expected leadership, we are getting dumbership, which is the only way to describe the continued application of a hyper partisan approach in these serious times.

Which brings me to case three, the political observations of one Charlie Cook:

… I think the Democratic problems and the president’s problems, they, by a factor of a hundred, go beyond the Tea Party movement, but the Tea Party movement is sort of the tip of the sword.

I sort of reject the notion that there is a communications problem with President Obama. I think it’s just fundamental, total miscalculations from the very, very beginning.

And then when unemployment numbers started proving to be much, much tougher and it started becoming more clear that the stimulus package hadn’t worked properly, they just kept plowing ahead on health care. And this isn’t a communications problem. This is a reality problem. And I think they just made some grave miscalculations and as it became more clear that they had screwed up, they just kept doubling down their bet.

The thing that I think a lot of Democratic strategists are really concerned about is that some of these districts are going to be gone for a generation or more. I mean, they’re not coming back. They’re ones that had somehow managed to hang on in Democratic hands even after the Democratic Party fell out of favor in a lot of the South. But once they slip away, I’m not sure they’re coming back.

I disagree with a lot of what Cook claims – e.g., the stimulus was not big enough. It was not the size but the mechanism of moving the money into the economy to push growth that failed. Tax cuts are immediate and apply across the entire economy to some level. Yes, those who pay the most get the most back, but they are also the ones in a position to invest in new growth, and they need their money back to do it.

The bloated federal bureaucracy on the other hand is a slug. It takes YEARS to move money into projects, and then only into small areas of the economy, and then only to certain companies who have a history of working with the government processes and regulations. The liberal path is slow, wasteful and ‘targeted’ – thus it is a waste of precious time.

As we have seen, the markets have found their bottom point all on their own – which means we did not need to waste $1 trillion dollars of our children’s future incomes on these failures. And it all could be turned around with tax cuts and spending cuts. But these are off the table and hyper partisan insanity is all the rage.

We are not dealing with leadership – we are wasting time on dumbership. And right now we are moving from dumb, to dumber – to dumbest, evah!

Update: Even the New York Times is not very sanguine on the jobs picture:

Even as the American economy shows tentative signs of a rebound, the human toll of the recession continues to mount, with millions of Americans remaining out of work, out of savings and nearing the end of their unemployment benefits.

As I noted here, the number of people nearing the end of their benefits have tripled in size since the failed stimulus bill passed. They now number just under 6 million people and are climbing by three quarters of a million each month.

The NY Times has the same data I have been reporting for months now – and shows to America finally:

5.8 million of those 6.3 million are on EUC, the last vestige of the unemployment safety net.

45 responses so far

45 Responses to “A Waste Of Precious Time – On Dumbership”

  1. Wilbur Post says:

    We have to survive until these idiots are handed their walking papers. Congress can be changed this fall but it appears we are stuck with Barrack O’babbler until 2013. It would take too long to impeach him (and that would be RAAAAACIST) and he doesn’t seem inclined to do the right thing and resign. Maybe the Starship Lack-of-Enterprise will come by and beam him up….

  2. sherlock says:

    You wrote: “Recently the far right took first turn at using the levers of power post 9-11 to try and impose hyper partisan ideas on a nation that had been supporting GOP leadership up until then.”
    Please cite some specific examples of the far right hyper partisan ideas that you have in mind in the above quote, so that we can compare and contrast them to the present “Obama-Reid-Pelosi” hyper partisan ideas that you reference specifically. Thanks.

  3. AJStrata says:


    Do your own homework. And if you are one of those ‘true conservatives’ you will never admit you folks overstepped. I don’t waste my time with fringe zealots.

  4. Neo says:

    While we are talking about “billions and billions”, I recommend Team Obama stop and watch the movie “Contract” inspired by the late Carl Sagan.

    Key point to remember … “baby steps

  5. Terrye says:


    Well, I would say that accusing George Bush of trying to kill us all by selling our ports to terrorists…. calling Harriet Miers a char woman and making fun of her state university education,….and trying to turn illegal entry into a felony thereby putting chasing roofers and nannies on the same level with chasing rapists and robbers are all examples of the right going off the deep end and creating problems for themselves.

    Add Abramoff to the mix and you have the loss of Congress for the Republicans..and now we are stuck with the likes of Reid and Pelosi. They are both total disasters of epic proportions.

  6. SwedHumanRights says:


    I think we libertarians/ conservatives/classic liberals should be polite to each other. If a person asks for examples, there is no reason to be impolite to him/her like you are towards “sherlock”. I live in Europe and social democrats and socialists always show nastiness and impoliteness to people who ask them to give reasons and examples. I am disappointed to see the same attitude in this very good, quality-oriented American blog.

  7. sherlock says:

    Terrye, thanks for responding to my polite and sincere question in a like manner.

    I am sympathetic to at least some of your examples, but I would characterize them as “blunders”, or even “mean-spirited policies”. But I cannot see them as counter-examples to the massive ideological thrusts like the stimulus package, healthcare, cap-and-trade, and even card check.

    These latter examples are not only several orders of magnitude larger in scope, and much farther removed from what I see as the mainstream of American temperament, but the manner in which they have been attempted is in stark contrast to every promise that was made by the current President for a new way of doing things – it is merely Chicago-style politics writ large.

    I am not trying to absolve the right of any mistakes, and in fact I was bitterly disappointed by the behavior of the Republicans in many respects. It is just that I think it is apparent that the “mistakes” of the current adminstration soar to a whole new standard in social engineering, and breathtaking tone-deafness.

    Anyway, thanks again for your reply, and I hope you will thoughtfully consider mine as well.

  8. Mike M. says:

    AJ, that last graph is damning. Even taking population increase into account, that doesn’t read like a 1994-style defeat.

    More like 1932. After that, the Democrats held power for 20 solid years. And had the inside track on control of Congress for 40 more.

  9. Terrye says:


    I don’t think those examples are as extreme as the kind of things the Democrats are doing either. I think blunder is a good word for those examples in fact.

    However, I do think that in both cases some people were and are being driven by ideology rather than common sense. I think that the Democrats took advantage of those blunders and went totally off the deep end.

  10. crosspatch says:

    One also has to remember that while the Republicans held the House, they did not have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Senate legislation had to be crafted in such a way as to at least get past cloture. The result was a lot of legislation along the lines of what Reagan had to deal with when he had a Democrat Congress. Things like … let’s increase spending on this now and we promise to cut the spending on it next year. But when next year came around, the Democrats refused to allow spending to be cut.

    McCain, for example, proposed legislation in 2005 that would have more closely regulated the government mortgage guarantee corporations. It never got to a vote because it was blocked by Democrats. So while the Republicans had a slim majority in the Senate, they were forced by cloture rules to produce legislation that appealed to both parties. House Republicans having a larger majority often created legislation that could not get through the Senate.

    Bush was interesting in that he used the veto less than any President I can remember. His approach was that the Congress was the “will of the people” and if the Congress passed it, then he was probably going to sign it. He saw his role as enforcing the laws that Congress passed, and if his party had a majority in both houses, who was he to go against the wishes of the people and of his own party?

    The President often gets a lot of blame that needs to be placed in the lap of Congress.

    The House Republicans inability to work with a more bipartisan Senate resulted in their being kicked out wholesale in 2006. The Democrats inability to work with themselves despite having a filibuster-proof majority and the White House will result in their being swept out of office.

  11. sherlock says:

    Then there is the role of the media…

  12. creative dude says:

    Rightists were unwilling to tackle an issue that was valid. (i.e. spending). So instead started on social issues. Always a killer. If you want to influence on social issues you only succeed by doing it yourself. Tell others what they should do and you shoot yourself in the foot. To compound the mistake, they were unwilling to police themselves. Tell others what to do as you ignore your own hypocrites and you get rode out of town (and rightfully so), they were lucky not to have a collection of tar and fowl clothing.

    Distinguish between morals and ethics. If we practice morals ourselves while merely requiring ethics in public life we will accomplish much. If we become a national nanny in what way (of importance) will we be different from the leftists. Do, not preach.

  13. Terrye says:


    Bush vetoed some legislation after the Democrats took control of Congress, but little if any when the Republicans were in control, but then again when the Republicans lost Congress in 2006, the deficit was 162 billion compared to 1.8 trillion today.

    But you are right about the Republicans not having a super majority. I think it was 1911 the last time Republicans had that kind of control.

  14. Terrye says:

    creative dude:

    I think you are onto something there.

  15. kathie says:

    Add to list some other things that the “right” hated, No Child Left Behind, Immigration Reform, Medicare Drug bill, the Dems hated the Social Security plan Bush wanted. Let’s not forget the Iraqi war, they voted for before the voted against it. I think that Bush didn’t veto much is because he needed support for Iraq, that was the trade off for him. For Bush nothing trumped National Security. I think that if the housing market hadn’t crashed, which Bush started working on in 2001 trying to reign in Fannie and Freddy, his deficit was going down even with the drug plan and No Child and tax cuts. Most of what the left touts as a problem is a big fat lie.

  16. crosspatch says:

    Bush’s reputation as governor of Texas was someone who could reach across the aisle and make deals. His claim to fame was that he was someone both the Democrats and the Republicans of the state respected. After the hyper-partisan years of the Clinton administration, the US was ready for someone who could get along with both parties and bring the country together.

    The problem was the first election and the Gore issue and Florida. The media and the left in general never gave him a chance after that. He was somehow cast as “illegitimate” followed by a dose of hate and vitriol from the media that we had not seen in a very long time.

    The media never let up even after the election against Kerry when Bush won by an even wider margin. This also explains Gore’s success with the global warming issue. If he couldn’t get elected as President of the United States, the left was going to appoint him as President of the World, or something, and lavish him with Oscars and Nobel prizes as a consolation.

    Much of the policy of the left today is based on sour grapes from the 2000 elections.

    It was really interesting that Bush is also adorned with Enron and Worldcomm as somehow being his fault when it was his SEC that busted them after creating bubbles in both energy and communications during the Clinton years.

    The far right is really not much different than the far left. The act emotionally with little thought getting in the way of their reactions. They have a very few “litmus test” issues they focus on with very narrow vision and take no notice of the broader picture.

  17. Alert1201 says:

    Creative Dude,
    What social issued do you have in mind that the Republicans started on that were the killers?

  18. MerlinOS2 says:

    For this administration that is a feature and not a bug.

    The intention is willful destruction to get to their endpoiint they seek.

  19. dbostan says:

    Oops, AJ did it again.

    He blames the losses of 2006 and 2008 on the “hyper partisan right”.

    Ih he means by that, the poor stewardship of the wars, unbalanced budgets, big deficits, increasing the national debt and the big push for AMNESTY for illegal immigrants, he may be right.
    In short the agenda of the big government/progressives in repubic clothes.
    However, that is not our (the average Americans) understanding of the meaning of the aforementioned facts.
    That was the real cause of the loses (plus the perceived corruption-Abramovich) and the fact that Bush did not answer to the lies planted and amplified in the commie media by the demsheviks.
    The GOP will not regain the full trust of the American people until they convince us that understood why they were shellacked and that they will not repeat those mistakes.

  20. crosspatch says:

    “He blames the losses of 2006 and 2008 on the ‘hyper partisan right’.”

    He is correct. It was a Republican House that could not reconcile with a Republican Senate … much the same situation we see the Democrats in today.

    And if you check the 2006 and 2008 elections you will see that the Democrats won many seats by VERY slim margins, less than 5 points, in many Republican districts. They are going to lose every single one of those this time. The “Blue Dogs” are in serious trouble and they know it.

    But more importantly the entire “Progressive” ideology has lost its support. Most important is the loss of 50% of the Democratic edge among younger voters.