The future of rights
By Bruce Bartlett
published Twitter 8/20/2022
I’m glad to see the right wing abandoning Trump, but where will they go? For decades, the failure of Republican presidents to fully implement the right-wing agenda has been attributed primarily to a lack of will. But it was clearly not Trump’s failure.
Trump’s problems were incompetence, sheer stupidity, ignorance of public policy, inexperience in government, and incredibly bad hiring decisions. Each of Trump’s cabinet secretaries was the worst in department history.
So, what Republicans should be looking for in a president is someone conservative like Trump, but well-educated, with a high IQ, experience in government, the ability to articulate conservative philosophies, and a record of attracting and motivating good workers.
The problem is that Trump’s team has systematically driven out anyone with those qualities, or at least made it impossible for them to advance within the party. Pandering to the Trumpists who control the GOP means taking crazy positions, espousing stupid ideas, completely ignoring experts—even those with solid Republican credentials—having no substantive knowledge of any public policy issue, having a Fox News anchor as your chief political and policy advisor, A casual disregard for law, law enforcement officials, national security procedures, logic, evidence, history, mathematics, the English language and, historically, anything else considered merit. For higher posts.
Ignorance of science seems to be a major requirement.
Anti-vaxxers still run rampant in the GOP even though Covid-19 has killed over a million Americans and new/old diseases like monkeypox and even polio are appearing on the scene. And all GOP officeholders seem to have complete ignorance of how women’s bodies work, how their reproductive systems work, what pregnancy and birth require – practically and biologically – as women who have had children and know better.
It was not the Republican Party that I was a member of.
When I became active in the party in the early 1970s, I actually thought Republicans were smarter and better educated than Democrats. That’s the main reason I’m a Republican. In 1980, even Daniel Patrick Moynihan, perhaps the smartest and best-educated politician of all time, said that the GOP had become the party of ideas; Democrats were on ideological autopilot. How times have changed!
Unfortunately, while Republicans have sunk deeper into stupidity and conspiracy, Democrats have failed to effectively challenge them. I don’t know why fear seems to be a big part of it. Since at least Adlai Stevenson, Democrats have feared being portrayed as the party of intelligence, education, and competence. They think that these things are political malignancies, that the American people want a president like them – with an IQ of exactly 100 and no higher.
I don’t think so, but I can’t prove it. I don’t think any sane person would want a doctor or lawyer with an IQ of 100; They want the smartest, most experienced, most well-educated person to cure them or get them out of a legal jam.
On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that Trump would be an exception to this assumption. Despite being a “billionaire”, he seems to have hired the cheapest, least experienced lawyers to even defend him against charges that could land him in jail.
Personally, I’d be scared shitless if I were in her shoes. I get that he’s led a charmed life–so much for karma!–and has always walked away from a corrupt screw-up–like a drunk driver walking away from a car accident without a scratch.
But even if that’s true, again, it doesn’t apply to other Republicans—the excrement coming out of Trump is coming down on them, and Trump doesn’t care one bit. He only cares about himself – not his party, not the conservative movement, not even the well-being of his country.
In my heart of hearts, I desperately want to believe that the chickens will roost and that I will live long enough to see it. The day Trump goes to prison should be declared a national holiday forever, but my gut tells me he’ll skate.
I don’t think either Biden or Garland have the will to see it through. They are too afraid of the consequences of holding a fascist party leader accountable – just as Jerry Ford was. Thank God, FDR, Truman and JFK were a different breed of Democrat.
The GOP’s murderous anti-intellectualism
New Republic, July 13, 2020
You can see some of Bruce Bartlett’s previous writings here