Rather stupid and not well read
Bruce Bartlett was a senior policy adviser for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush. He knows these men’s philosophies and actions and how the Republican Party functioned. And on March 2, 2015, when he was asked about today’s Republicans, he said, “Yes, they are really rather stupid and not very well read.”
He also said, “These people in the Tea Party are morons, they really are. They’re stupid, they’re ignoramuses, they have no idea what they are talking about.” (June 6, 2014)
Bartlett’s analysis is significant because from Feb. 25-28, Republicans held a love-fest for Reagan at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). One person after another paraded in front of the crowd lavishing praise and adoration on Reagan. Almost every speaker invoked Reagan’s name as the epitome of what a conservative should be. Many claimed to be the one who would continue Reagan’s legacy.
And what is that legacy? Ronald Reagan was a great president only if you believe that tripling the national debt in eight years is great. If selling arms to terrorist nations such as Iraq and Iran is great. If funding Central American death squads is great. Reagan also presided over one of the most corrupt administrations in U.S. history. If that’s the criteria, then Reagan was a great president. I find these actions appalling, but that’s me.
At the same time Republicans were worshipping at the altar of Reagan, they were enraged about Hillary Clinton and her use of personal emails while Secretary of State. It’s not clear if Clinton violated any laws; if she did, she should be disciplined. Gen. David Petraeus, a favorite of Republicans, was recently convicted of giving classified information to his mistress. Have right-wingers spent much time on that actual crime? Of course not; they are too busy screaming about Hillary. Republican hypocrisy on display.
Reagan sold weapons to Iran, but Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., thinks President Obama is coddling Iran by talking to them. On March 11, Rubio was questioning Secretary of State John Kerry about ISIS. Rubio said, “I believe that much of our strategy with regards to ISIS is being driven by a desire not to upset Iran so they don’t walk away from the negotiating table on the deal that you’re working on. Tell me why I’m wrong.”
Kerry shot back, “Because the facts completely contradict that.” He went on to explain that Iran is fighting ISIS and would love to see it destroyed, a fact confirmed by Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. ISIS and Iran are deadly enemies, so in this instance, Iran and America have the same goal. Rubio was too uninformed to know that, but he didn’t seem to care.
Another example of the dangerous stupidity exhibited by Republicans is the recent letter sent to the government of Iran by 47 senators, including Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. In the letter, the senators demonstrated abysmal ignorance of our Constitution and of the government of Iran. Out of 30 Iranian cabinet members, at least eight have degrees from American universities such as MIT and Cal Berkeley. They understand how our government works better than these Republicans.
Iran’s foreign minister, Dr. Javad Zarif, responded to this letter by writing, “The authors not only do not understand international law, but are not fully cognizant of the nuances of their own Constitution when it comes to presidential powers in the conduct of foreign policy.” It’s humiliating when American senators have to be schooled on the Constitution by a foreign official, but that’s where today’s Republicans are – ignorant and apparently proud of it.
Our Nevada controller, Republican Ron Knecht, exhibited more historical ignorance when he recently wrote, “Every cent taken in taxes is an act of destruction of human and social well being.” (LVN, 3/13/15) He seems unaware that the power to tax is written in the Constitution — Article I, Section 8. The founders knew that to have a functioning government, taxes must be paid. They saw this as an act of patriotism. What does that make today’s Republicans?
The Right claims to honor our Constitution and our history. They honor neither. Republicans don’t seem to care how much they damage America as long as they can embarrass the president. Even war with Iran is a small price to pay to make Obama look bad. This makes their stupidity dangerous. Someone in leadership needs to tell these people to get educated and grow up, before they destroy our country.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at email@example.com.