As you might have noticed I enjoy picking on Republicans. I’ve remained keenly aware how their ideology is not just a matter of ignorance, nor simply some mixture of cognitive distortions and propaganda. There are many ingredients in this ideological shit-soup. GOPzpacho? Bumpkin bisque? No soup jokes for you! Sorry to rain on this parody, but I want to discuss their suspiciously high IQs. Yep, you heard right…wing.
To me it seems counterintuitive, but not everyone who pulls the lever rightward just fell off the turnip cart. Some were pushed! One study suggests Tea Peeps are generally brighter than the general population. What General? …Scheisskopf? And this Yale article suggests Tea Peeps are even more scientifically literate than most. Yale gave George W. Bush a degree, but let’s not hold that against them.
So then I have to ask this: how did clever people create a movement that would jump a grade level with the addition of scratch‘n’sniff?
Don’t get to excited as somehow these smart Republicans still manage to be the least insightful. This PEW Report shows how the more educated the elephant the more skeptical of climate change.
“The fact is politically sophisticated or knowledgeable people are often more biased, and less persuadable, than the ignorant. It’s a reality that generates endless frustration for many scientists—and indeed, for many well-educated, reasonable people.”
Keep in mind our most highly educated folks still tend to vote Dem, here, but what can we make from this group of outliars? Pardon the pun. In my personal life, most of our brainy Republicans either have strong ties to: 1. the military, 2. the Tea People, 3. or strong stock portfolios. Winning!
Let’s dissect all three groups. No, really, I have a biology dissection kit and some formaldehyde.
I: The Military Primarily Votes Republican
Most military types believe Dems are soft on terror and incapable of defending our country, but where does that myth originate?
Hint of the Day:
“Benghazi is the real 9/11 and it happened on Obama’s watch!”
“If Benghazi is the real 9/11 than The Rutles started the British Invasion.”
One article suggests the marriage between the armed forces and The GOP occurs primarily because military recruiting tends to be heaviest in those square states, here. Knowing some military types, family included, I feel at least anecdotally that there’s still a fondness for Bush and a suspicion—if not an all-out hatred—of Obama. So I have to ask, how does a President who lied us into war and then lost said war end up more popular than a fairly savvy and cautious president?
I don’t know.
I think a bigger reason our military folks vote R is job security. There’s always a fear Dems will cut defense spending and, as Bill Maher always points out, our military is often a jobs program. The other part of this equation lies in the realm of semantics. Anything not deemed decisive is equated, by Republicans, to weakness. Obama’s long game doesn’t have the flare of Bush’s Shock & Awe, nor the consequences. I’m afraid with our current president we’re stuck with results that take far too long for your average Republican to fathom. Heck, I’m not even sure what Obama’s long game is exactly, but I’ll take his perseverating any day. Operation: Enduring Procrastination?
But as the younger generation shifts D, so too will go the military.
II: The Tea People Primarily Vote Republican
I see the Tea Party as those fiscally-responsible constitution-minded folks who seem to have mastered neither. They voted for George W. Bush twice (Dr. Deficit) and Dick Cheney (Mr. Secret police, torture, NSA and breaking Habeas Corpus). That makes sense. Whatever the hell you think you’re doing, you’re doing it wrong.
Primarily the Tea Party formed as a direct result of Bush’s cavalier stupidity and then immediately sided with Republicans sometime amidst Obama’s inauguration. But if you google debt by president a clear pattern emerges. Each graph—with the exception of the one submitted in crayon by Michele Bachmann—tells a similar tale. She did stay in the lines this time so her meds must finally be working. But deficits tend to explode under Republicans and then there’s this crazed attempt by democrats to restore the fiscal order. The worst debt explosion that occurred under a Dem was the first few years of Obama’s tenor. After Obama finally fixed our percent of deficit to GDP, Republicans shifted their focus to real dollar debt, but then:
*Graphs courtesy of Paul Waldman.
So what happens now that both are on the mend? I know the answer! They just make shit up. Lest we forget, Obama successfully avoided economic Armageddon—a fact history will note, even if Republicans won’t. If you don’t believe Obama’s spike was a function of Bush’s gross mishandling of EVERYTHING, you might be a Republican.
So how do Republicans get nearly all of the fiscal conservative credit? Again, this is part of The GOP mystique, the part Jon Stewart affectionately terms Bullshit Mountain.
III: The Wealthy Primarily Vote Republican
Let’s take the one percent out of this equation for a minute. They certainly benefit from the gutting of EPA and FDA regulations as well as decisions like Citizens United, so I get why Mr. Burns votes GOP. Why Republicans get more than one percent of the vote is the question. Let’s focus on those high IQ folks with some wealth. Case in point, here’s a conversation with a friend of mine who falls in that category (circa the 2004 election):
Zano: Why in God’s name are you voting for Bush again?
Eric: I made a lot of money off of Bush.
Zano: This is not going to end well, dude, for any of us.
I emailed him this exchange for comment and he graciously updated his delusions:
Eric: I made even more money off of Obama! I can’t say so much for the folks that were forced to pay for ObamaCare and the middle class that will be paying for his failed programs for decades. Fortunately for Obama, low gas prices may just bail out his otherwise failed presidency.
*Retraction: I called Eric “smart” in that first part
I think history will agree with my friend on his name, Eric, beyond that not so much. So he made more money under Obama? He made more money while Obama insured more people, minus that whole pesky global-collapse-thingie? Most Republicans remain wholly unaware how close to true disaster they brought us. They also seem oblivious to this new normal, a state we will remain in until the bitter end. But they don’t give Obama any credit for averting disaster because “his meddling just delayed the recovery.” Of course there’s no evidence of this (See: other countries on Earth post Bush). Actually Forbes just admitted Obama has outperformed Reagan on all of the most commonly watched economic indicators, here.
So high IQ Republicans showed zero insight in 2004 and somehow managed less than zero in 2015. Strong work.
*Retraction #2: Wait, isn’t your name spelled Erik?
Even more ingredients for this Republican shit-soup:
As discussed many times, Republicans have both a fear of out-groups and an inherent paranoia. Evidence suggests the Republican brain contains a more oversized amygdala, the fear center (check out Mooney’s book: Fear is a Mind Killer). That doesn’t mean they’re a different species, blood flow in the brain is based on utilization and Fox News makes them all very afraid. Fear also decreases activity in the frontal lobes. I’m just thankful to hear there’s still some blood flowing up there at all.
The smarter version of The GOP also seems to suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect. They may hold down a job and play the stocks well, but to them this equates as being master of all things. I’m not a scientist, but I saw a professor on Gilligan’s Island fix a radio once. I will leave my friend out of this one as, besides politics, he does seem master of all things. Politics is your only homework assignment, um… Erik.
Is it soup yet?
No. I’ve already covered many of the cognitive distortions so prevalent on in Republicana, but this is not the whole story. To be this wrong takes a truly hijacked brain:
“The more fossil fuels that we use, the deeper we have to drill in order to access them, and the more exotic the methods (take tar sands, for example). This is a classic symptom of addiction, as addicts typically go to great lengths to keep using despite knowing that their resources are being depleted, and that they are bound to run out and wreak havoc along the way.”
Republican optimism for fossil fuels is certainly a function of addiction, but it’s also a function of the normalcy bias. They believe things will go on as they always have. We get oil from the ground so I can drive my Hummer to the all-you-can-eat steak house. And yet, one way or another, our grandchildren will not lead such lives. They truly believe that their actions have no consequences to the environment, or to terrorism, to the global economy, to the future, etc.
Lest we forget, conservatism starts out logically enough. You all know someone in your life who emphasizes personal and fiscal responsibility. But how does that end in a series of policies, positions, and politicians invariably wrong for the economy, the country, and the planet? Every flippin’ time! I believe the contradictions inherent in The GOP are fixed, profound, and fatal. Hopefully something worthwhile will emerge from the ashes, but I’m not holding my breath. Actually, I am. The EPA is all but gutted in my state.
Live From the Grand Strip-Mine State