The Day of the Stupids

[Update: Added video]

This day is only half way gone and it’s already filled with imbecility. Some of it is laughable while other stuff is simply impossible not to gasp or laugh in embarrassment.

Apparently Christine O’Donnell, who is running for the Senate in Delaware, doesn’t seem very concerned about learning the Constitution she adamantly defends. Of course, there is also the fact that she does attack several amendments such as the 14th (jus soli citizenship) and 16th (income tax) Amendments. The most egregious of these attacks is an inadvertent attack on the 1st Amendment which includes the Establishment Clause – the one which O’Donnell, who has said she’s studied the Constitution, yesterday didn’t know was in the 1st Amendment.

At the Delaware’s Widener School of Law, in a room filled with lawyers and political scientists, she asked, “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?”

Coons said that creationism, which he considers "a religious doctrine," should not be taught in public schools due to the Constitution’s First Amendment.  He argued that it explicitly enumerates the separation of church and state.

"The First Amendment does?" O’Donnell asked. "Let me just clarify: You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"

"Government shall make no establishment of religion," Coons responded, reciting from memory the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Coons was off slightly: The first amendment actually reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.")

"That’s in the First Amendment…?" O’Donnell responded.

She didn’t even know what the 14th, 16th, and 17th Amendments are, saying she didn’t bring her Constitution with her. Isn’t it the responsibility of a legislator to know at least a little bit about the nation’s founding document so she can avoid trying to write law that violates it?

Speaking of violating the Constitution, she thinks Obama violated the Constitution because he appointed czars. Seriously? After all this, is there any question that the Tea Party movement has jump the shark with this one? I’m all for women running for office and want to see more women getting to represent the majority sex in the US but people like Christine O’Donnell are nothing but an embarrassment to women and a step back for women as legislators. The negative externalities associated with bringing mental midgets like Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell and Michele Bachmann to the fore are crushing the political aspirations of women with plenty of political knowhow and understanding of the Constitution and law.

Christine O’Donnell is a moron

Then there is this: the Department of Justice just now affirm that Islam is, in fact, a religion.

The pronouncement, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in a Rutherford County court, was in response to a lawsuit filed by critics of a proposed mosque near Murfreesboro. Opponents of the mosque on Veals Road want to block its construction. A question at the heart of the suit is whether Islam is recognized as a legitimate religion in the United States.

Anyone who questions whether the Tea Party is mostly about a culture war is either lying or completely out of touch with the movement they’re defending. Anyone who says the Tea Party is just outraged about spending hasn’t been paying attention to the facts. Jonathan Chait summarizes the entire Tea Party anti-government spending rhetoric with just one single sentence: “Meanwhile, an ad by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attacking a Democratic candidate unironically announces, ‘Government run health care. Medicare cuts. Have you had enough?’”

The Tea Party and many conservative political pundits have been outright lying about spending, saying that the deficits have exploded because spending has gone through the roof. Here are the facts, thanks to Paul Krugman:


I don’t agree with Kevin Drum saying that the Obama tax cut is the greatest of all time because it didn’t do any signaling, at all, that recipients were going to spend it, pretty much forfeiting any real economic gain, but it’s a matter of fact that Obama has cut taxes, to the detriment of the deficit. The Tea Party, however, partly because they will never believe that socialist Obama could ever think of cutting taxes and partly because no one really felt the tax cut (it was distributed over a year in a small payroll tax cut, making it barely noticeable unless you do the math, which you wouldn’t unless you explicitly knew of the tax cut anyway), still believes taxes have gone up during Obama’s first two years.

I digress. The fact of the matter is that this is a culture war through and through. Linda Beale profiles how the conservative party and its right-ward lurch movements over the years have skipped the whole aspect of patriotism in paying taxes but, again, that’s not entirely it. That’s a part of the culture war, one in which the Tea Party and the conservative parties have definitely won, but as Jonathan Chait posits, the conservative party has moved very far to the right while the Democratic Party has kept mostly the same – it has, if anything, moved to the center since the 70s.

This is a part of another right-wing lurch by conservatives towards a nation where an unpopular religion is questioned in its validity as a religion; Wall Street crooks get away with everything save murder, even
act as tax collectors by buying up tax debt and tacking on fees to explode that debt before taking the home away; and brilliant economists coast on populist outrage to misdirect the public on how taxes will make him work less – as if that’s a bad thing.

The lurch to the right can’t even understand how ridiculous it is for them, the party which is protecting Wall Street and big business, to take up Howard Beale’s cry of frustration in a movie where he takes up the defense of big business – even while the Tea Party is decrying bailouts to big banks and corporations. That is, they were during the first part of 2009, blaming TARP on Obama as if he created the program (he did vote for it, however).

Pamela Gellar, the harpy queen of the anti-Muslim movement doesn’t even need much introduction. She’s a big component of the culture war and is in it just for the money. There is absolutely no honor in her hate-filled dribble. Is there?

Then there is the anti-immigration component of the lurch, which is hilarious. Practically all of the Republican Party wants to build a wall to keep immigrants from crossing the border, some admitting they want to cap how many immigrants come into the country to maintain the “white Christian male power structure” while others considering protecting their state of Nevada from Canadian immigrants. On top of that, many want to repeal the 14th Amendment which initially gave citizenship to the freed slaves but has been the law of the land ever since. They want citizenship to be determined solely by blood – the parents must be citizens; birth on American soil is not enough. Of course there are plenty of negative externalities to this on its own. Megan McArdle quotes Steven Taylor:

Under the German Nationality Law of 1913 (which was in place until the Germany Nationality Act of 2000) the principle for citizenship was one of jus sanguinis (i.e., right of blood) rather than jus soli (i.e., the right of the soil). As such, the children of immigrants had a very difficult time becoming citizens of Germany.

So let’s consider the following scenario: you invite a large number of persons to come to your country to work, often doing menial labor. You tell them, however, that they can never be truly part of you country. And then you are surprised when they aren’t integrated into your society? Why act like a German if you are never going to be allowed to be one?

Proponents of amending the 14th Amendment take heed, as this is what you are asking for.

Megan McArdle comments:

As far as I’m concerned, America has just about the perfect immigration policy: benign neglect. You can come here, and no one’s going to make any effort to make you act like us–the way, say, France does.  But no one’s going to help you get by without assimilating, either.  Mostly what we do is open the path to anyone who wants to assimilate–and magically, eventually, all groups do.

That’s pretty obvious. Resistance is futile, as it simply creates friction (talk about tautology).

All of this amounts to a culture war. This is the bulk of the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party’s lurch to the right.

I guess this is more than just the day of the stupids. This country simply is.


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