There have been a couple of glaring examples of Republican Bodineism in recent days that I just could not let lay. The first comes from "The (Orange) Man Who Would Be Speaker" Minority Leader John Boehner. On one of the Faux News Sunday programs Rep. Boehner was asked by the host, Chris Wallace about the fact that several reputable economists are saying that we need more stimulus spending to bring the nation out of its jobless recovery. To which Rep. Boehner replied:
""Well, I don't need to see GDP numbers or to listen to economists; all I need to do is listen to the American people."
As Steve Benen of the Political Animal Blog notes this is more than a little bit crazy. The point of a representative government is to elect people of sound judgment who will then hear what the experts in the field have to say then devise policy to address the issue.
What Rep. Boehner is saying is that he not only does not care what the experts say, he is looking to a source that, as a group, is not equipped or knowledgeable enough to decide for his input. The fact that many of the American people are constantly and deliberately misinformed by the propaganda network that he was appearing is also a problem. It is a closed circle, if the people get their news and understanding from Faux News and then tell the Minority Leader what to do based on that, then there is no new information coming in. Any such policy would have very little touch with reality. Which really explains a lot about the radical Republican policy proposals.
This is not the only example of anti-expertise bias in the radical Republican Party. Tea Party darling and son of Rep Ron Paul, Kentucky Republican senatorial candidate Rand Paul was also spewing this line. He was quoted in The Hill on-line as saying:
"The bottom line is: I'm not an expert, so don't give me the power in Washington to be making rules. You live here, and you have to work in the mines. You'd try to make good rules to protect your people here. If you don't, I'm thinking that no one will apply for those jobs."
Once again Dr. Paul shows that he really fails to understand the nature of the job that he is spending so much effort to get. The point of sending him to Washington is not for him to be an expert on all things (though if elected he will immediately get the benefit of the doubt on coals issues given the prominence of the industry in his state), he is being sent there to exercise judgment based on what actual experts say.
Doc Paul's premise is Bodineism in another fashion as well; the assumptions that those who work in the mines have a real choice. Even at non-union mines the pay is often far above what can be earned any other way. That means there is no real choice. Those miners at the Upper Big Branch Mine knew that there were safety problems. They knew the company did not really care so the only choice they had was to work where it was dangerous and keep quite about it or face living on starvation wages. When you have a family to feed and house, that choice is a clear one. You risk your life even though you know that someday the dice are going to roll against you.
It was the same interview where Doc Paul said that the problem with mountain top removal was not the damage it does to the water and streams, not the incredible blight it puts on the land, even when re-mediated, no the whole problem is that it is called mountain top removal. What is the solution to this? Well according to Doc Paul it is to change the name. After all the people affected by the millions of tons of debris that gets dumped into their streams or creeks are so dumb that if you called it something fluffy they would like it better.
This all goes the heart of the problem with Republican Bodineism. Their faux populism, pretend listening to the people for what should be done in the Congress is a betrayal of what they have been elected to do.
Edmond Burke probably said it best when he said:
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion
The point of being a member of Congress is to do what ones judgment tells one is best for the nation. Not best for the party or even ones reelection, but for the nation. It was expected by the Framers of our Constitution that the people would select politicians of sound logic and judgment. This would let the people go about their daily lives confident that their interests are protected.
The rampaging epidemic of Bodineism in the radicalized Republican Party is exactly the opposite of what the Framers had in mind. They have settled on a policy of blanket opposition to any initiative by the President or the Democrats in Congress. Even to the point of opposing ideas that their party had developed and pushed as late as a year ago. This allows them to be the gormless idiots who repeat false crime statistics from Arizona, or say that tax cuts pay for themselves, even though they clearly can't and never have.
There are a lot of reasons that the people of this nation should soundly reject the radical Republicans this election cycle. Not the least is their willingness to act like Jethro and expect that the American people are just as clueless as they are. If this is what we can expect, mindless parroting of talking points, denial in the face of reality and facts, then it is clear we can no longer afford Jethro's in the Congress.
The floor is yours.