Monday, August 10, 2009


The NY Times must really be getting desperate to allow someone named Charles Blow to publicly embarrass himself on their Op-ed pages this past Saturday-and, according to how he's identified (as a blogger with a blog titled, "By the Numbers"), he should stick to counting and leave the pontificating to the more astute. Blow uses his brief fling at fame to adopt a popular meme of the converted cognoscenti; boiled down to its most emotionally satisfying: Republicans are sooo stupid!

Here's Good Time Charlie's futile stab at ratiocination on the health care protest issue: "Not only are anti-reformists showing up, they’re terrorizing legislators with their tomfoolery when they do. Blinded by fear and passion, armed with misinformation and misplaced anger, they descend on these meetings and hoot and holler in an attempt to shut down the debate rather than add to it. I must say that this says more about them than it does about any forthcoming legislation.
Belligerence is the currency of the intellectually bankrupt."

Now, we have just recently emerged from one of the most emotionally charged-and politically polarized-eight years in American history; and the belligerence even got its own DSM category: Bush Derangement Syndrome. And, lo and behold, this period of unhinged hatred and tomfoolery-celebrated by so many in the mainstream media-bequeathed Barack Obama to the nation. So, perhaps, Blow's conflation of belligerence with intellectual bankruptcy has some merit after all.

But Blow, unmindful of what the man in his own mirror looks like, can't stop exposing his wilful ignorance and blatant biases: "Trapped in their vacuum of ideas, too many Republicans continue to display an astounding ability to believe utter nonsense, even when faced with facts that contradict it. A Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll released last Friday found that 28 percent of Republicans don’t believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States and another 30 percent are still “not sure.” That’s nearly 6 out of 10 Republicans refusing to accept a basic truth."

A Daily Kos/Research Poll? We guess that settles it-and the entire column, which really belongs on that far left web site and not, whoops, we'll leave that thought unexpressed since the synergy of Blow's argument, as it were, with those expressed by columnists who are actually paid by the paper to express an opinion, is quite apparent to anyone who has read how the health care protesters are motivated by latent racism (take a bow Paul Krugman).

What it all boils down to for these bien-pensants, and the lemmings who genuflect to their orthodoxies, is that Republicans are stupid racists. Blow, of course, elides the fact that polls show that greater proportions of Democrats believe that 9/11 was an inside job-and that G.W. Bush had advanced knowledge of the attack. This must mean that Democrats are deeper thinkers, and are unwilling to accept the simple fact that the country was attacked by Jihadists (can we still use the word?). This, unlike the president's place of birth, must be a "complex truth."

But all of this leaves us fairly bemused-and we encourage Blow to, well, keep on blowing it; persist on deriding and mocking the stupidity of the opposition and don't complain when you inherit the whirlwind. Blow's conclusion is precious: "Let’s face it: This is no party of Einsteins. Really, it isn’t. A Pew poll last month found that only 6 percent of scientists said that they were Republicans. Democrats should be leading this discussion. Instead, they’re losing control of it. That’s unfortunate because the debate is too important to be hijacked by hooligans."

Right in keeping with the president's suggestion that the critics should simply shut: "I don't want the folks who created the mess do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking." Sure, let the best and the brightest lead, and leave the deep thinking to those who are more equipped to do it. Ask Bob McNamara-not to mention 50,000 dead GIs-how well doing that went.

So we are back, it seems to us, to the kind of elitism that not only reeks of condescension, it avoids confronting the reality of just how much the average folks do know-and how flawed and dangerous the Democratic health care vision really is. Its cost, its scope, its consequences for individual liberty and the expansion of a paternalistic government are real. And the fur is flying here precisely because Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama-not a rocket scientist among them-are leading this discussion.