Friday, August 8, 2008

Try Thinking

Paul Krugman says the GOP’s mantra is governance by bumper sticker:

So the G.O.P. has found its issue for the 2008 election. For the next three months the party plans to keep chanting: “Drill here! Drill now! Drill here! Drill now! Four legs good, two legs bad!” O.K., I added that last part.

And the debate on energy policy has helped me find the words for something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid.

Now, I don’t mean that G.O.P. politicians are, on average, any dumber than their Democratic counterparts. And I certainly don’t mean to question the often frightening smarts of Republican political operatives.

What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”

This is nothing new for the GOP, and it’s been their method for many, many election cycles: remember “Better Dead Than Red”? “In Your Heart You Know He’s Right”? “Nixon’s the One”? “There You Go Again”? “W”? If you can fit it onto a bumper sticker, you win, and in the battle of simplistics, the Republicans have no peer. All you have to do is come up with the ten-word answer and that’s enough…to win.

But you need more than that to govern, and so far, the results have been short and sour: they suck.