Friday, November 13, 2015

How Stupid Are Americans: The Donald Wants to Know

"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
--H.L. Menken

"Because he wrote a book and in the book he said terrible things about himself. He said that he's pathological and that he's got basically pathological disease. Now he wrote this, I guess before he was running for office or thought that he was running for office, and I don't want a person that's got pathological disease. I don't want it." 
--The Donald

So the Donald went on a 90 minute rant in which he expressed incredulity that Ben Carson could be beating him in the polls, sounding for all the world like Jon Lovett of past Saturday Night Live looking in the camera, playing Michael Dukakis saying of George H.W. Bush, "I can't believe this guy is beating me."

The Donald frothed on about Dr. Carson's "pathological disease."  The Donald reminds us, "That's a serious statement when you say you have a 'pathological disease.' Because, as I understand it, you can't really cure it. But he said he has a pathological disease." 

The problem, of course is, the Donald really does not understand it.  The Donald has never bothered to look up the definition of "pathological" which simply means "not normal, of or pertaining to a disease process."  You would think he'd have staff for this.

Then he goes on to elucidate how he investigates facts and what he thinks constitutes a process of gaining understanding:  "I mean, he wrote it. I didn't write it...But those are pretty tough charges. And they were written by him himself, you know? The pathological stuff was written. That's very serious, pathological disease. I didn't read the book, but he wrote it."

So now the Donald is making reference to something very disturbing and significant which is contained in a book he admits he has never read. One might think, if it is something important you might want to open the covers of the book and actually, perhaps read it yourself. But then, it's not really clear the Donald knows how to read, which could be a problem for a President who gets lots of briefing books to read, although, I suppose they could do them as illustrated books with lots of drawings and big print and maybe audio DVDs.

Mr. Carson, of course, is trying to defend himself against questions about a close and long term friend of his, who was convicted of defrauding medical insurance. Apparently, in the past, Dr. Carson has said people and company executives who defraud insurance companies over bogus claims should be in jail, but when his friend plead guilty to just that crime Dr. Carson said his friend did not deserve to be sent to jail and when his surrogate tried to explain why it was necessary to jail people unless they happened to be friends of Dr. Carson, the answer was: Well, when you have a personal relationship, you can see things more deeply and draw on your Christian instincts to forgive, or words to that effect.  

One does wonder how stupid Dr. Carson thinks the American public is, but it is the height of irony that Donald Trump, is complaining about American politicians soaring in the polls after saying stupid things.

But best of all is Chris Christie, who I heard this morning say that President Obama is responsible for deteriorating race relations since he took office. As if race relations have actually deteriorated. As if racial tensions because of the actions of  local white police being videoed shooting Black citizens in cold blood is Mr. Obama's fault. 

Well, actually, Mr. Christie says, the police are shooting because they don't think the President has their back so, well, what would you do? If you are out there all alone, well you pull your gun and start shooting at anything Black that moves. That's only reasonable. 
 The thing about Chris Christie is he is manifestly not stupid.  But here is a guy who was not responsible for backing up traffic from the George Washington Bridge to Tea Neck,New Jersey as payback to the mayor of Tea Neck for not endorsing him, but of course, Mr. Christie said you cannot lay that at my door because, I'm only governor, I can't control everything that happens in my state.  
Mr. Obama, of course, should bear full responsibility for racist frat boys smearing feces in the shape of a Swastika in a college dorm. But I can tell you, if any of those motorists trapped on the New Jersey roads got all road ragey and leaped out of their cars, the New Jersey State troopers would have known I'd have their backs and they could have pulled out their Glock 9's and shot any Black people. 
 But they would never have shot any Italian Americans. And you know, I'm still bummed they canceled "The Sopranos" 'cause I learned so much from that show about leadership. Really, Tony was a model. 

It must be a sign of age, but as I run on my treadmill and watch Morning Joe and Morning Express--not even Fox--and as I drive to work listening to NPR listening to "experts" I find myself thinking: 90% of everything I'm hearing is bogus, wrong, or simply stupid.  I mean they have this brother and sister act on Morning Joe, and the sister, whose primary qualification for being on morning TV seems to be her great hair, which is blonde and really cut well, is asking some former general or CIA official about a conversation he's had with Ben Carson about foreign policy and this expert says he thinks Ben Carson has a lot to learn about ISIS and terrorist threats and the blonde sister host raises an eyebrow as if she's just heard Ben Carson himself admit to having been an axe murderer when he was 19 and again during medical school and she says, "Wow, well I didn't expect that!" 

The other thing is they never play more than a few seconds of sound bites or video clips of exactly what anyone said, Donald Trump or anyone else, because, of course what is important is not what the politician actually said but what is important is what the star of the news broadcast says about what he said or what the expert guest says about that clip.  So, how stupid do the guys running these shows think the American public is?  You be the judge.

Maybe the Donald is on to something.

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