On this Friday morning I am in Paso Robles, CA, for some serious wine tasting and gazing at the hills, maybe work in a quick trip to the ocean for drinks overlooking the surf. Time is short and one has to seize every second. Carpé Diem!
I am down here with some friends who have similar political thoughts and the one that just floors us is why did not the rest of the nation know? Cheeto-Head is a small ignorant man, or more to the point, here is a man who lied repeatedly and was called out on it, had no coherent policies unless you consider really big, and great as policies, showed ignorance on most issues, and admitted to being a sexual abuser, and almost half of America elects him. Now they are surprised that he cannot govern?
Actually one has to wonder how most Americans could not figure out that Republicans in general cannot govern. The reason is simple. Over the last eight years they became ideological hacks who could only prevent others from governing. They were so busy saying no to Obama’s rehashed Republican ideas (Obamacare is a Heritage Society idea), that they became impractical ideologues where small government and tax cuts answer every problem and is to be worshipped at the altar of fealty. Not having to govern, they built their cathedral around ideas that do not work in the real world.
So here we are with a repeal and replace healthcare bill that is draconian and belies everything Cheeto-Head told his worshippers. Republicans promise better cheaper plans and seem to have not idea how insurance works. They want to decimate the EPA that has been protecting the environment, and then there is the Cheeto-Head/Ryan budget. No they are not the same but both would do equal damage. For Paul Ryan, his Mary Magdalene is Any Rand. And once again you have to wonder why half the nation did not see all these lies and oversimplifications that would never work in the real world.
I have a theory about that. There are a lot of reasons the nation has become so dumbed down we elected a buffoon as a President who embarasses us every day, and they include an insular Democratic Establishment that lost their way (and please don’t bring back Hillary Clinton as a sign you did not get the message). But the most important reason in my mind is the failure of our press. What screams out at you is that Republicans are so crazy and everyone pretends they are making sense. The press lends them credibility by not challenging their craziness and trying to create a false equivalency with Democrats to try to appear balanced. Paul Krugman makes this point this morning talking about how the press has fawned over Paul Ryan while falling to notice that all his policies are houses of cards:
So how did Mr. Ryan reach a position where his actions may reshape the lives of so many of his fellow citizens, in most cases very much for the worse? The answer lies in the impenetrable gullibility of his base. No, not his constituents: the news media, who made him what he is.
You see, until very recently both news coverage and political punditry were dominated by the convention of “balance.” This meant, in particular, that when it came to policy debates one was always supposed to present both sides as having equally well-founded arguments. And this in turn meant that it was necessary to point to serious, honest, knowledgeable proponents of conservative positions.
Enter Mr. Ryan, who isn’t actually a serious, honest policy expert, but plays one on TV. He rolls up his sleeves! He uses PowerPoint! He must be the real deal! So that became the media’s narrative. And media adulation, more than anything else, propelled him to his current position.
…There’s an important lesson here, and it’s not just about health care or Mr. Ryan; it’s about the destructive effects of false symmetry in reporting at a time of vast asymmetry in reality.
This false symmetry — downplaying the awfulness of some candidates, vastly exaggerating the flaws of their opponents — isn’t the only reason America is in the mess it’s in. But it’s an important part of the story. And now we’re all about to pay the price.
Well there it is. And yet they continue to do it. So I am not surprised we are on an uncontrolled sleigh ride to hell. Me? I am in Paso Robles with good people tasting wine and living in the moment. It is all we have. Carpé Diem.