The politics of “stupidity”

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I love it when EJ Dionne gets really worked up– I wish he’d do it more.  Still, despite a whole column on stupidity in our politics, being EJ, he’s pretty oblique in calling out Republicans or conservatives by name as actually being overwhelmingly responsible for all this stupidity.  A sampling:

Start with taxes. In every other serious democracy, conservative political parties feel at least some obligation to match their tax policies with their spending plans. David Cameron, the new Conservative prime minister in Britain, is a leading example.

He recently offered a rather brutal budget that includes severe cutbacks…

That could never happen here because the fairy tale of supply-side economics insists that taxes are always too high, especially on the rich…

The notion that when we are fighting two wars, we’re not supposed to consider raising taxes on such Americans is one sign of a country that’s no longer serious. Why do so few foreign policy hawks acknowledge that if they lack the gumption to ask taxpayers to finance the projection of American military power, we won’t be able to project it in the long run?…

Then there’s the structure of our government. Does any other democracy have a powerful legislative branch as undemocratic as the U.S. Senate?

When our republic was created, the population ratio between the largest and smallest state was 13 to 1. Now, it’s 68 to 1. Because of the abuse of the filibuster, 41 senators representing less than 11 percent of the nation’s population can, in principle, block action supported by 59 senators representing more than 89 percent of our population. And you wonder why it’s so hard to get anything done in Washington?

Good stuff, all of it.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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