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. Kate4 says:

    We ARE what we read.

    Readers of history books understand these ideas: pietas, fides, gravitas, dignitas, constantia. (These virtues were interwoven into the Roman education system.) Some people still read these ideas: Forgotten Gems http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=60&Itemid=262

    Readers who love science fiction understand utopian ideas. (These are the ideas interwoven into our current culture.) Some people think we can recreate heaven here on earth, simply by educating the masses.

    See “Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction” by Mark Bould
    Product Description: Science fiction and socialism have always had a close relationship.

  2. Kate4 says:

    Since I have blogged at the MSM web pages during the past four months I have found some commonalities.

    Those who say man has caused impending devastation also believe that man is “lesser” in value than animals or trees. I’ve heard one prayerfully wish he had never been born.

    They also yearn for something to arise that will control or reduce the earth’s population by dramatic numbers, quickly.

    Finally, they believe their own intellect is superior by leaps and bounds to the “deniers.”

    This is a religion. And the believers are monkish in their devotion.

  3. Alert1201 says:

    Yes, and many of those who won by slim margins, won because they ran as centrist/conservatives. Now that their true identities have been revealed as liberal/centrist at best, they will loose.

    Another thing that is happening is that the establishment republicans are also in trouble. Redstate has been doing a good job at covering and Barns has a good article on it as well. This is why Crist is in trouble in Fla and McCain is having to actually fight against Haywarth. Bennett may loose in Utah.

    See Barns article at http://weeklystandard.com/articles/rebels-right.

  4. Alert1201 says:

    Looks like Patty Murray from WA may be in trouble too.

  5. owl says:

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

    So true, cp. Yes, I would have run the bunch out of town because they were happy to let it all fall in Bush’s lap.

    Plus, our side stayed in the dumps with the constant harping by some of our pundits. It wasn’t enough that DIMS and their MSM army attacked 24/7……….oh no, we had to read that yes, Gonzales should resign, etc, etc. So I don’t want GBeck telling me that Repubs haven’t worn the hairshirt.

    Current example……….one of the cutest things to happen lately was the billboard of W that asked if we missed him yet. Most people with two brain cells looking at what we are going through would say ‘hell yes’. Malkin just couldn’t stand it. She said for everyone not to get carried away and then made a list of his sins. Well, that killed that one. What else is new. He really didn’t need the other side attacking………..he had his own special hit squad on the right from the beginning.

  6. crosspatch says:

    “Malkin just couldn’t stand it. She said for everyone not to get carried away and then made a list of his sins.”

    Sometimes I wonder just which side Malkin is on. Seriously. Her stuff appears on the surface to be conservative yet she does some things that I believe seriously damage the cause. Now I am not saying that she should have come out with a litany of praise for Bush, but in this case she could have simply said nothing.

    She does things at times that I believe damage the conservative movement but in ways that are subtle and difficult for me to articulate succinctly.

  7. crosspatch says:

    One example of the above was to take the whole “tea party” thing and promote the notion of sending teabags to congress. That is where the whole “teabagger” thing came from.

    If one were to make a modern analogy of the Tea Party, it would be a “cigarette party” where modern patriots destroy tobacco before they can be made into cigarettes to deprive the government of the revenue and encourage a “grow your own” movement among people who use tobacco.

    It has nothing to do with tea or tea bags. It has to do with depriving a tyrannical government of the ability to destroy us with taxes.

  8. […] announcing this latest health care farce (and job killer) President Obama is doing exactly what I outlined yesterday. He is going hyper partisan and showing a massive streak of dumbership – which is the […]

  9. AJStrata says:


    You may be correct and I may have jumped the gun. But let me also point out that is how much those on the right who cry “RINO” and denigrate reasoned compromise from their perch of ‘true conservatism’ have poisoned the waters. They still do it, and I just want them to know that kind of attitude is why they will REMAIN in political exile forever. Until the far right gets over itself and the fact it has to live in this country with the rest of us they will get the cold shoulder.

  10. hekktor says:

    As a long-time, loyal reader of Strata-Sphere, I come here for scientific and statistical analysis regardless the topic. Superlative.

    I grow tired when the topic turns to the Republican extremism.

    As a practicing lawyer, trained in immigration law albeit not practicing there, I found the bill a disaster technically. Many of the people who decried opponents of the bill as RINOs did little for me to take pride in my co-protagonists. The illegal immigrants that have sought my professional assistance have been earnest and idealistic about their lives. They show no remorse or concern about crossing the border illegally as often as needed for their personal purposes.

    I am not enthralled with this practice. Does that make me an extremist?

    When I show a principled stand against these abusive habits and have frustration with persons wishing to grant absolution on it, does that make me an extremist?

    AJ does a wonderful job in his longer explanations about his understanding of the center of American politics when he describes the Virginia area with which he is intimately familiar. It provides me many insights about a part of the country that I wish I had visited more often.

    If I may provide the same service of providing a glimpse from my neck-of-the-woods, I come from the Midwest. We have had many Californians and East Coast people move into our region. Many are Conservative of mind when they arrive, or else they would never have considered the move. Even these Conservatives are not nearly as Conservative as those native to the area.

    What is most interesting is watch these persons’ mindsets evolve over several years. They never become Midwestern Conservatives in full, but they truly are more understanding and familiar with the frustrations that circle around them. They are proud of Midwestern leaders like Gov. Mitch Daniels and Rep. Mike Pence. They usually identify far more strongly with Gov. Daniels than Rep. Pence, but they become comfortable with both.

    These migrant Conservatives often have a very strong revulsion to illegal immigration. They often move from LA or the like to escape it. These migrant Conservatives are extremely angry with their representatives back home and in the Midwest for not hearing their complaints. They love the Tea Party Movement. They love the push for primaries with meaning, not just Republicans who play like Democrats: “Me, too, with 10% less.” In other words, compromising by agreeing to Democrat programs just with a smaller budget expenditure.

    These migrant Conservatives with whom I have spoken include business executives at Fortune 500 companies (including several born overseas), sub-cabinet officers at one of the largest federal departments, former Ambassadors, business owners, and people working for hourly wages (union and non-union).

    Few have any use for me-too-less-10%. Are they all extremists?

    The key to this is that there are few who work for government as a career. Even Democrats around here are lightly wedded to full-time employment in government. There is little chance for long-term advancement in government here without leaving the state for Washington. State government pay here is far less than federal pay scale. This regular rotation out of government and government-paid contracts changes a point of view and many items where who employs you would appear immaterial.

    Logically it may be immaterial, yet it changes the timbre of the chorus.

    Are these people of similar mindset extremists?

    Like any good marketer, people are struggling to make their point as pithy as possible. Their point is that they don’t want more compromise with ideas that they find to be without principle.

    The problem that they have is that they have committed a logical fallacy by resorting to ad hominem arguments: arguing by attacking the idea’s proponent.

    I would plead with Strata-Sphere to not rejoin this fallacy by joining in the fallacy and making return ad hominem attacks. Calling these people “extremists” does little service to an extraordinarily useful blog and its debates.

    The issue that needs to be debated is whether the Republican party should compromise using me-too-less-10% strategies or should commit to a more principled resistance strategy? If the strategy is resistance, the tactics then become about creating points of conflict, like guerrilla harassing fire. If the strategy is to winnow out Democrat ideas to be less damaging, then the debate focuses on whether the negotiation table should be round, square, or rectangular. The table then dictates the likely outcome of more Democrat policy success.

    I, for one, want zero Democrat policy success. My reasons are strongly based in liberty and Hippocratic thought: first do no harm. I believe firmly that Democrat policies are full of harm at even the most minute levels. They disenfranchise the citizen, the voter, the businessman, the parishioner, and the volunteer. They enfranchise all the people who need help but not hand outs: the union members who are losing factory jobs, the government workers who bring real business to a crawl for no good reason except personal empowerment and convenience, and the Rev. Wrights of the world. Does that make me an extremist?

  11. crosspatch says:


    I would favor some kind of legitimate work permit program that costs less than one would pay a coyote to get someone across the border.

    If someone could pay $1000 and get a legitimate work permit that allows them to cross the border, they would be more likely to go home when work is done because they could come back again once they have another job.

    One of the problems we have with the current border issue is that people still come across, but now they stay even if they lose their jobs because they don’t know if they can get back across again. A legitimate work permit would allow us to know who is crossing and would allow these people to go home when work is scarce and come back again when there are jobs for them.

  12. hekktor says:


    I believe your point is economically sound in part.

    I believe the notion of getting these people out of the shadows is sound.

    My concern is the other side of the economic coin. I had a client who had a lawn mowing service. He would repeatedly tell me that he could not find people so cheap, so reliable, so diligent. Little doubt that is all true.

    The problem is that the minimum wage increase recently in effect drove the cost of American labor up. It has the advantage of making employers who pay all according to minimum wage regardless of immigration status less biased toward immigrants.

    For those paying under the table in all situations, it increases the rate of illegal immigrant hires.

    What would a new, forgeable document due to either of these scenarios? No document made cannot be forged for the right price.

    I am leary of any document-based solution because of the economic principle of shirking: the incentive to avoid the rules.

    Document-based solutions are easily shirked by forgery for a price.

    Is there an incentive system that would encourage legal migration? Obviously the current economy comes with a ready made answer: less jobs for all, less migration to more expensive areas where few jobs can be found.

  13. AJStrata says:


    Thanks for the reminder and kind comments. I agree with you a lot, clearly.

    But there is a point where the good will goes away – correct? I was not in love with comprehensive immigration reform, I supported the efforts to make some progress. I am not in the anti-immigrant camp as many on the right are.

    I will do my best to attenuate my frustration with those who destroyed the conservative coalition. But I find facing and admitting problems is the first step in correcting them. Being more fringe (which is not the same as extremist) is not the answer in politics if you want to govern.

  14. dbostan says:

    Thank you for your post.
    Well spoken and I must say I am in complete agreement.

    As you see, your continuous jihad against the conservatives, primarily those who are deeply worried about illegal aliens, creates a lot of displeasure amongst the readers, to the detriment of your blog.

    Your blog has very intelligent and pertinent postings about many subjects, and, I wish you would apply the same high standards to the conservative movement.

  15. AJStrata says:


    I don’t change my views because some readers are not happy. Get over it already.

  16. OBloodyhell says:

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

    I don’t believe this is accurate. They got tossed out of power because they didn’t accomplish ANYTHING that was part of the “Contract With America”.

    * require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress; FAIL
    * select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse; FAIL
    * cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third; FAIL
    * limit the terms of all U.S. Congressmen and U.S. Senators; FAIL
    * ban the casting of proxy votes in committee; FAIL
    * require committee meetings to be open to the public; FAIL
    * require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase; FAIL
    * and implement a zero base-line budgeting process for the annual Federal Budget. FAIL

    After 2002 and 2004, they had the majority needed to override any Dem obstructionism on this stuff — they still failed to make any effort to pass any of this.

    They also failed to pass any Social Security reform, and their budgets kept going up, up, up, along with the deficit spending that kept driving the deficit up,up,up….

    In short, they weren’t acting at all like the fiscal conservatives that they were elected to be. They were acting like a load of ersatz “Dem Lites” is what they were doing. Hence the term RINO, and the more recent growth of the “Tea Party” movement, in an effort to get rid of the RINOs, and the fact that there are incumbent Republicans who are experiencing primary challenges, too. I’ll wager that many of the House Republicans who passed that @#%#@%#^ health care bill will be lame ducks in short order.

  17. dbostan says:

    Choices have (readership) consequences, even for bloggers…

  18. AJStrata says:


    BFD – my views are based on principle, not who blesses them in their own minds. Like I said – move on.

  19. hekktor says:


    Your response is much appreciated, considering the estime in which I hold your writings.

    In your reply, you stated, “But I find facing and admitting problems is the first step in correcting them. Being more fringe (which is not the same as extremist) is not the answer in politics if you want to govern.”

    Since my practice often has me dealing with the clients’ psychological issues before we can address the legal issues that arise from the psychological roadblocks, I often recite the line about admitting problems before correcting them.

    Your choice of words between fringe and and extremist is worthy of some consideration.

    According to Dictionary.com, “fringe” is “1. a decorative border of thread, cord, or the like, usually hanging loosely from a raveled edge or separate strip. 2. anything resembling or suggesting this: a fringe of grass around a swimming pool.”

    Having a doctoral degree, speaking 3 languages as one living in the Midwest most of my life, and studying the history of constitutional government for the last two decades, I must say I am a fringe if you have ever met one. As my wife repeatedly points out to me, I know a lot of useless stuff. She might even say that my interests hang loosely with what most other people want to discuss.

    Am I extreme? As my previous posting might suggest, most people would likely place that tag on me without thinking about it.

    Consequently, I don’t really buy into the notion that attempting to distinguish a difference conceptually really works under either rubric.

    I am of the notion that the history of man is replete with theft, despotism, and just flat maliciousness. Every once in a while a system of government arises that pushes those habits aside.

    The problem is that compared to despotism, constitutional governance is the fringe of human history. It is exceptional in the original sense of the word. It is the exception and not the rule.

    Many of my complaints with the notions foisted on us by the Democrats are built on the notions that America is not exceptional in this historic context. Even more so Democrats would have us believe that America is not exceptional within this historic moment. Both notions are flat wrong.

    I have alluded to the historical reason being true and won’t bother to explain it, since that proof would last for pages, given the myriad of examples available and necessary to do a reasonable indirect proof.

    As to the notion of being exceptional within the historic moment, I would suggest that we are. The Liberal response would be to point to other countries with democratic republics and free-market economies. Those can be pushed aside easily with two questions, I believe: how many of those systems and economies rely entirely on their current existence and experience in reaction or reliance on America’s vision for the world? France: remember D-Day. Germany: Berlin airlift. England: Lend-lease. China: Nixon in China; Deng Xiaping’s opening to the West, specifically the US. Colombia: see recent fight against drug lords and insurgents. South Africa: pressure to pull down apartheid. India: free market reforms from a University of Chicago trained economist as Finance Minister, now premier.

    What if the US in its current incarnation did not exist or became powerless? The void our absence would create could destroy the democratic republic experiment. Free markets would collapse with GATT’s failure.

    So here we are as Conservatives following Edmund Burke in seeking change without violence within existing institutions. Strange as it seems, we are the extremists in world history.

    I am on the fringe of those extremists.

    Does the choice of fringe or extremist matter to me? No, because either way they are usually used in the context of minimizing the value of my opinions as not being consistent with the vast majority of people.

    I don’t have much use for the fallacy of the bandwagon. That is why your work on Global Warming has been so invaluable. You have demonstrated that just because everyone else agrees that it is “settled science” does not mean that the statistics bear out their opinion as being factual.

    I am proud to be a Conservative for ethical behavior, for use of law enforcement within the structures are founding fathers blessed us with, for free markets. Ethical behavior requires less law enforcement. Free markets with ethical behavior need little regulation.

    To deal with the Congressman, the stock broker, or the illegal immigrant who is immoral and believes that rules don’t apply to them should not require separate bodies of rules. How do we incentivize them to see ethical compliance as more economically efficient?

    In my experience as a lawyer, the first step is quick and predictable rule enforcement. Deadlines are deadlines. Rules are determined as violated in true or false fashion and not by Justice O’Connor’s beloved, rambling tests.

    For some notion of what I mean, look to the broken window theory that Mayor Guiliani’s administration espoused. Small rules upheld avoid massive system changing or course correcting decisions.

    Remember the path to Hell is paved with good intentions, but who was your best teacher? The one that held you accountable for the seemingly minor details.

    Yes, I am fringe within the extremism that is the uniqueness of the American experience.

  20. AJStrata says:


    You know what is funny? When I rail against the self destructive fringes (left and right) I rarely define them beyond an inability to respect centrists and the spectrum of opinion in a democracy.

    Never once do I name names, but people come here and jump into those categories and act as if I was insulting them personally!

    Interesting how that happens. Is that me, or them?