Charles Krauthammer

Clowntastic

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

“The truth is that Republicans are at a crossroads. What we are seeing is a surrogate battle to determine whether the GOP will be a sort of populist/protectionist party, or a more cosmopolitan and compassionate one. And if those are the two world views that will eventually clash, Cruz and Rubio are much better representatives than, say, Trump and Bush.”

Matt Lewis

Conservative stalwart Matt Lewis offers an intriguing commentary considering the real potential of a marquee showdown between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The junior U.S. Senators from Florida and Texas respectively enjoy competitive positions in the polls, and thus stand out as leading candidates to ascend as Dr. Ben Carson tumbles and pretty much everyone else wonders when Trump will follow. The Roll Call op-ed opens:

“The two people to watch are Cruz and Rubio,” Charles Krauthammer declared on Tuesday’s episode of Fox News’ “Special Report.” Call it wishful thinking or conventional wisdom (or both), but there is an assumption that this clash of titans might eventually occur—and I, for one, am rooting for it.

And we can skip ahead to the ending, a pretense of obvious afterthought―that both Cruz and Rubio can win the general against Hillary Clinton―long enough to remember that Lewis is, after all, a conservative pitch man. Cruz can’t win; Rubio has a chance if he can overcome the deer and headlight air of youthful inexperienceα he often demonstrates so aptly when rattling through talking points that thoroughly defy his comprehension. That is to say, we can attend the pretense of afterthought long enough to dismiss it.

Nonetheless, Mr. Lewis offers an insightful analysis that includes the benefit of also sounding reasonable:

Most people I know think a Trump candidacy would be disastrous, but there is division regarding just how freaked out we should be. Some, like statistician Nate Silver, argue that we are putting too much stock in these early polls showing Trump ahead for a variety of reasons, including the fact that “the vast majority of eventual Republican voters haven’t made up their minds yet.”

Others argue that this is fantasy. All the previous predictions about a Trump collapse were premature, and besides, he’s a paradigm-shifting candidate; the old rules no longer apply.

Having said all that, it’s not absurd to believe that voters will finally come to their senses, and that Cruz and Rubio might eventually emerge as representatives of their various “lanes” to face off in a sort of championship battle to determine who will represent the GOP in the general election.

(more…)

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A Note on Republicans and Reality

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 28: U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House August 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama spoke on various topics including possible action against ISIL and immigration reform. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

This one is really simple, and it is also just about what you would expect. That is to say, the reason Republican politicians loathe science so much is easily enough expressed:

Conservative commentators are fond of pointing to Barack Obama’s excessive use of the word “I” as evidence of the president’s narcissism. (“For God’s sake, he talks like the emperor Napoleon,” Charles Krauthammer complained recently.) But there’s one tiny problem with this line of reasoning. If you’re counting pronouns, Obama is maybe the least narcissistic president since 1945.

BuzzFeed News analyzed more than 2,000 presidential news conferences since 1929, looking for usage of first-person singular pronouns — “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine,” and “myself.” Just 2.5 percent of Obama’s total news-conference words fell into this category. Only Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt used them less often.

That is to say, science makes it harder for conservatives to lie. Put more bluntly: Science makes it harder to justify being politically conservative.

Charles freakin' KrauthammerTrue, John Templon’s article for BuzzFeed is hardly a proper, old-school, blue-blooded monograph, but neither is it supposed to be. But this is why conservatives hate science and all things remotely scientific; reality really interferes with their agenda.

To the other, Republicans should cheer up; it can’t last forever. After all, the way things are going, society will shift again, and suddenly my side of the aisle will become conservative. Now, in that case, it will likely be a social issue that divides, like wage equality for gay, incestuous, polygamous razor-assed baboons. You know, a congress of S&M baboons playing The Brady Bunch, and while that might prove a better idea than the two reimagined movies from a decade best forgotten, well, it is true that looking forward one might have a hard time understanding how, say, gay marriage is going to usher in polygamous or incestuous marriage.α

But, yeah. This is why conservatives and Republicans hate science. Science describes reality, and reality makes the Republican swindle that much tougher to sell.

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α Polygamy is a matter of numbers. Incest would be a true redefinition of family, as it would change the relative values of, well, relatives. Beyond the nine-headed babies, or whatever, consider growing up in a household where your grandpa, father, and older brother are all competing in hopes that you’ll sleep with them upon reaching age of consent. In truth, the best thing that could happen for legalized polygamous or incestuous marriage would be that the evangelical right wing decides to pick a fight. Historically, gay rights were nowhere on the political map in 1990, when Christians in Oregon decided to pick a fight. Nor were they a pressing issue two years later when Christian supremacism went statewide in the Beaver State and also found a home in Colorado. Which, of course, reminds that as the final barriers to nationwide marriage equality collapse, we all owe a raising of the wrist to Lon Mabon, Scott Lively and the Oregon Citizens’ Alliance, Colorado for Family Values, and many others without whom marriage equality would not have happened for another fifty years at least. Nothing increases general societal pathos toward a suspect group of people like proper, self-righteous, hypocritical, faithless Christian outrage.

Templon, John. “No, Obama’s Pronouns Don’t Make Him A Narcissist”. BuzzFeed. 19 October 2014.