Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bloomburg Dodging Rogue Elephant Shit


I don't know if you've noticed this, but within the ungentle confines of political reality within The "Untied" States, the only way to run for office as a well known conservative is to run away from the GOP.

New York City's generally well regarded and quite conservative mayor has "shaken the dust from his feet," in a way that can't have made him any friends within the GOP. But then, his political calculation is pretty much summed up as "And your point would be?" (NBCNewyork.com)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn't know who the GOP candidates for citywide election are, but he says they've got no chance at winning – an interesting comment from the guy who, ahem, is running for mayor on the Republican line.

"They have no chance whatsoever … whoever they are," the mayor said at a press conference today.

Suffice it to say, Bloomie's probably not making any new friends in the GOP. Last week he said he didn't even know the names of the Republicans running for citywide offices, reports the Daily News.

The New York GOP probably won't be happy about Bloomberg's latest comments, considering his name is at the top of their ballot in November. But perhaps the mayor may be deliberately saying things that annoy the GOP in order to court the city's Democratic voters, who outnumber Republicans by four or five to one.

This situation has been brought to you by our good friends, Cause and Effect. Literally years of increasingly delusional and counter-productive stupidity have created a situation whereby genuine conservatives must distance themselves from the movement radicals who have taken the party hostage. The political process requires credibility. It requires the ability to compromise, to negotiate, to contribute to the debate above a standard found on a grade-school playground.

Practical politics requires a willingness to work in concert with people who have differing agendas, different priorities, different needs. That politics is "the art of the possible" and being held hostage by ideologues and simpletons makes politics impossible and conflict inevitable.

By contrast, I give you an example of ideological generated stupidity in action.

Erick Erickson, the managing editor of RedState.com and a city councilor in Macon, Georgia, has called for the abolition of Macon’s police force if it votes to unionize.

The Macon Telegraph reported on Monday that some 130 police officers on the city’s municipal force want to unionize because of “officers bearing the burden of rising insurance costs, a loss of incentive pay and the city not having a pay scale.”

Then there's this:

New Orleans newspaper takes Rep. Steve King to task for his ‘heartless’ contempt of Katrina victims.

In an interview with The Hill this week, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) boasted that “the best vote” he ever cast while in Congress was to deny $52 billion in aid to Hurricane Katrina victims. Yesterday, the Times-Picayune, New Orleans’ award-winning newspaper, calls King’s comments “heartless” and “appalling,” especially because he is from “a state that’s also vulnerable to flooding

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is one of Think Progress's favorite topics. Every time he opens his mouth, it's a freakin' gift to whoever says something vaguely sensible in opposition.

Let me diagram the political calculation for you.

Stands like this will please only the hardcore fringe of the social-conservative right. They will make more moderate and better informed conservatives uncomfortable, for whether or not they specifically disagree - they are certainly aware enough of the social context to realize there's a price to be paid for standing next to shrill idiots.

Independent voters will see no political or social advantage to being identified with such an obvious tool, even if they have particular issues in common - and the major indicator for those left of center is how badly they want to kick him in the nuts.

But center-progressive political operatives must view this conspicuous lunacy as a gift from God on High. It's not even so much the politics any more, or the absence of any critical thought that might actually contribute to the dialoge. No, it's the obviousness of the complete, smug, impervious armor of utter ignorance and incompetence - and an increasing awareness of how dangerous it is to let such icons of confident incompetence anywhere near the levers of power.

People who do things badly, Dunning has found in studies conducted with a graduate student, Justin Kruger, are usually supremely confident of their abilities -- more confident, in fact, than people who do things well.

"I began to think that there were probably lots of things that I was bad at and I didn't know it," Dunning said.

One reason that the ignorant also tend to be the blissfully self-assured, the researchers believe, is that the skills required for competence often are the same skills necessary to recognize competence.

The incompetent, therefore, suffer doubly, they suggested in a paper appearing in the December issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

"Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it," wrote Kruger, now an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, and Dunning.

The deficiency in "self-monitoring skills," the researchers said, helps explain the tendency of the humor-impaired to persist in telling jokes that are not funny, of day traders to repeatedly jump into the market -- and repeatedly lose out -- and the politically clueless to continue holding forth at dinner parties on the fine points of campaign strategy.

Recognize anyone?

"Going Rogue" must be the all time most stupid title for a political memoir. It could only have come from the woman who stumbled through an interview with that hard-boiled journo Katie Couric, stood in front of a turkey slaughter for a photo op, winked at us during debates and said the word "maverick" often enough not only to inspire a drinking game but also to ensure that the entire nation was completely obliterated by the time she was done speaking.

And that brings us to "rogue." It's almost like she just decided she couldn't call the book "Maverick," because that was McCain's word, so she used a thesaurus. Except look more closely at the definition, governor.

According to the New American Heritage dictionary (figure that would appeal to her more than Mirriam Webster) there's this: "a dishonest or unprincipled man."

And this: "an elephant or other large wild animal driven away or living apart from the herd and having savage or destructive tendencies."

This: "a person or thing that behaves in an aberrant, faulty, or unpredictable way."

And finally this: "an inferior or defective specimen among many satisfactory ones, esp. a seedling or plant deviating from the standard variety."


Is it any wonder that Mayor Bloomburg is saying what he's saying? He has the advantage of having demonstrated his competence in a notoriously difficult political job. But the other candidates on that slate have no such advantage - and furthermore, in order to get on the slate, they need the backing of core, committed, doctrinaire republicans who are in charge of the party right now. People like Palin. People like Representative King. People like those who support them with time and money. The people who nominated them. The people who think these folks are appropriate representatives.

Bloomburg and other rational conservatives know that even if these factors fail to screen out competent, qualified candidates, hardly anyone could be expected to believe it.

And that, gentle readers, is why they have no chance, and why Michael Bloomburg is perfectly willing to say so.

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