Thursday, March 17, 2011

WHY DID IT FALL TO THE POST! When “liberals” refused to discuss public schools, the New York Post stepped in: 

Fools for Bachmann/Fools for O’Donnell: We’d love to stop discussing MSNBC. But the channel’s so awful, it squeaks.

Is MSNBC “the Fox of the left?” We didn’t say it—Kevin Drum did! But The One True Channel is gaining ground fast on its foxy rival. The latest example was Lawrence O’Donnell’s cynical segment on Tuesday night.

It’s hard to believe the segment wasn’t a con, with O’Donnell playing his viewers for fools—essentially telling his viewers how dumb he thinks they actually are.

Was Tuesday evening’s segment a scam? If so, the scam worked nicely! In this post at Salon, commenters stood in line to announce how brilliant O’Donnell had been—to agree with his presentation. Good God, we liberals are easy! Can progressive interests possibly survive our mega-gullible ways?

(To watch O’Donnell’s full segment, you can just click here.)

O’Donnell’s “analysis” concerned the stupidity of people who voted for Michele Bachmann. Recently, Bachmann made a fairly dumb comment about the battles of Lexington and Concord. She thought these battles occurred in New Hampshire, rather than in Massachusetts, just one and two towns away from our own childhood hometown.

Presumably, most members of Congress would have known where these battles occurred. But “most members of Congress” doesn’t mean all. We have no idea what a full survey of Congress would have shown.

That said, it was only a few months ago that O’Donnell made the following remarks about the Social Security system. He spoke with Ashley Carson, a bright young woman who is executive director of the Older Woman’s League:
O’DONNELL (8/30/10): Ashley—Ashley, there are problems in Social Security for you. It is solvent until 2037. Butworkers your age who are contributing to Social Security every day, we can currently tell you that when your time comes to collect, the money will not be there, according to all the projections that we have today. That’s one of the reason the commission is looking at it.
You’re right. It’s hard to be much dumber than that, and O’Donnell has dealt with these issues for a very long time. Condescending to Carson throughout, he spoke in defense of Alan Simpson’s role on Obama’s commission. (Simpson had just made his statement about the cow with all those “t*ts.”)

In short, O’Donnell can be pretty dumb too, if “dumb” is the trait we don’t like. But then, you probably know that if you saw him undermine Candidate Gore all through Campaign 2000, thus joining the Jack Welch crowd. 

(Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everybody!) But on Tuesday evening, Mr. O knew how to toy with his gullible viewers. After reviewing Bachmann’s gaffe, he daringly posed these questions:
O’DONNELL (3/15/11): Now what fascinates me more than the question of how ignorant is Michele Bachmann are two other questions. One, how ignorant is Michele Bachmann’s staff? And two, how ignorant are her voters?
It’s hard to know what role those voters played in Bachmann’s gaffe, or in the other clumsy and/or inaccurate remarks she has recently made. No matter! After noting how ignorant Bachmann’s staffers must be, O’Donnell set his sights on her voters:
O’DONNELL: There are many, many ignorant members of Congress, and many ignorant senators. But they are protected all day long from revealing most of their ignorance by staffs who are hundreds of times smarter than they are. Perhaps all of Michele Bachmann’s staff come from her district, which may be the most ignorant congressional district in America. In 2010, 52 percent of that district voted for Michele Bachmann to represent them in Congress.

Now, she had already proven time and time again to her district, and to America, that she is unworthy of representing any congressional district in America. But 52 percent, the same percentage in that district that voted for John McCain for president, voted for Michele Bachmann in 2010.
Let’s see: Fifty-two percent voted for McCain—and the same number voted for Bachmann! 

Almost anyone could explain why that is: The voters in question are Republican voters; they support Republican candidates! 

Presumably, some of those voters like Bachmann a lot, some perhaps a bit less. But O’Donnell was on a cynical roll, encouraging viewers to lock themselves into a pleasing, but very stupid, belief—the belief that no one gets to be right but them; the belief that voters who hold different values and views must thereby be deemed unintelligent.
This belief is suicidal for progressive interests. It ratchets the ongoing culture war—a tribal war which divides the people who are currently being looted by the nation’s oligarchs. It teaches young liberals to think they are smart—and to think that everyone else is stupid. It teaches liberals to make such statements out loud, where they help poison our politics. It teaches liberals to build high the walls which help the oligarchs win.

That said, this approach does serve O’Donnell’s interests. It convinces gullible pseudo-liberals than Lawrence O’Donnell is on their side! That can be good for cable ratings. It’s good for a cable host’s wallet.
How cynical was O’Donnell’s presentation? We’d rate it high on the cynical meter. But as he continued, things got worse; now, O’Donnell wanted to figure out why those voters are so damned stupid. What follows represents his first attempt to solve this vexing problem.

How cynical, how fake is Lawrence O’Donnell? Try to believe that he said this—and by all means, do watch that tape:
O’DONNELL (continuing directly): What makes those voters so ignorant? Well, for starters, they are whiter than the average district, 92 percent white in fact. But that explains nothing. Missouri’s 8th Congressional District is 91 percent white and has been represented by Jo Ann Emerson since 1997.

We do not have a litany of imbecilic comments by Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson. In fact, we have none. If we missed any, please submit them to our website, and we’ll see if they compare to Michele Bachmann’s.
Stunning, isn’t it? It’s really something to see the way these cynical hambones toy with race. We’ve seen a lot of race cards played by this gang of frauds. This one took a cake, though.

Question: How dumb do we liberals have to be, not to see through such crap?

O’Donnell continued his nonsense from there, examining other possible reasons why those voters are so dumb. We’ll only suggest that you watch the tape, just to see the way he talks down to his liberal viewers. The chances are very, very slight that O’Donnell composed his “analysis” in good faith. But please understand how this works:

You live inside a plutocrat war—a war being waged by the top one percent. (Well—by the top one-tenth of the top one percent.) This war has been underway for thirty-five years; the plutocrats clearly are winning. In the process, all average people are getting looted—those who voted for Bachmann, those who voted for her opponent. But guess what? The plutocrats will continue to win as long as we slow-witted liberals keep taking the bait from cynics like O’Donnell—as long as we keep getting conned into heightening our tribal wars.
Duh. When the 99 percent get split into two warring tribes, the one percent will roll to big wins. You’ve probably heard the phrase: Divide and conquer!
Last night, the nonsense continued on MSNBC, with Chris Matthews devoting yet another pointless segment to Bachmann’s meta-disturbing mistake. Plainly, these silly segments are big confections, gooey cream puffs, served to us gullible liberals. As usual, Matthews has begun to embellish various facts, making Bachmann’s past absurdities seem like even more than they were. (Matthews has an instinctive aversion to accurate statement. It won’t let his soul rest.) But truly, liberals are played for world-class fools when men like O’Donnell pander in the way he did Tuesday night. It’s hard to be a bigger fraud—and it’s hard to be much dumber than we liberals are when we fall for this crap.

At O’Donnell’s web site, 935 souls have e-mailed, trying to answer his fawning question about why those voters are so damn dumb. But truly, is anyone dumber than us? Happy St. Patrick’s Day, you all! Are you a “Fool for O’Donnell?”

How much do office-holders know: Bachmann didn’t know where Lexington is, although she was only off by one state! In 1986, Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) didn’t know a lot more.

Mikulski was running for the Senate—for the seat she won, and still holds. On the Democratic side, she was opposed by Rep. Michael Barnes, a subcommittee chairman on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and by Harry Hughes, Maryland’s sitting governor. The Republican nominee would be Linda Chavez, a former White House aide.

In July 1986, a TV station hit these hopefuls with a fiendish, five-part pop quiz. 

According to the Washington Post, these were two of the questions, with answers:

Who is the Israeli prime minister now, and who will be the prime minister in November? (Answer: Shimon Peres now and Yitzhak Shamir in November.)

Who is the head of the African National Congress? (Answer: Nelson Mandela or Oliver Tambo acceptable.)

Mikulski scored 1.5 out of 5; she tied Barnes for the lowest score of all the major candidates. Linda Chavez scored a 4. Debra Freeman, a LaRouche candidate, scored a good solid 3.

Mikulski got elected to the Senate, where she still serves. Did that make her voters dumb?
(For the New York Times report by Steve Roberts, just click here.)

Inevitably, we end up here: One Salon commenter seemed to know why Bachmann’s voters are so dumb. The commenter shared her knowledge about one part of Bachmann’s district:
COMMENT TO SALON (3/16/11): Stearns County, the heart of the district
About thirty-five years ago on a slow news day just after the New Year the Minneapolis paper went front page with an article suggesting the inbred German population of Stearns County was resulting in lots of regressive gene expression. Funny looking kids with low IQ numbers! It was amusing and caused a storm of indignation. I do not know if O'Donnell is familiar with Stearns County MN but I used to work there and electing Bachmann does accurately reflect the district.
We’ll guess their limbic brains don’t work, as we once learned on Countdown.