I’m (Not) with Stupid

 

There are a lot of things I’m prepared to do for the Republican party. I’ve given time. I’ve given money. I spent six years working as a GOP flak. I’ve voted for uninspiring candidates like Mitt Romney, and intellectual underachievers like, well, the list is too long to itemize here. I even voted for … John McCain.

So, clearly, I’m not a finicky or fair-weather Republican. My party calls and I try to do my duty. But there is one thing I cannot do for any political party or ideological cause: I cannot be stupid on purpose.

As listeners of my podcast might note, “Why not, Graham–you have no problem being stupid by accident.” And they’re right. Yet another reason I can’t afford the luxury of intentional idiocy. Alas, this is what many of my fellow Republicans appear to be demanding.

A whopping 71 percent of Alabama Republicans claim they believe that all of Roy Moore’s accusers are lying. That is clearly idiotic. If you want to put a face to this, watch Frank Luntz’s focus group with Moore supporters. Actually, don’t. It is soul-crushing for supporters of conservatism. (I have some [ahem] “highlights” in this morning’s podcast.) Talk of a “George Soros hit,” and a guy claiming, “Mommas and Daddies would be happy to have a district attorney hitting on their 14-year-old” back in the early 1980s.

There is no way these people believe what they’re saying. They’re pretending to believe it–they’re feigning idiocy–in order to avoid acknowledging the immorality of their support for Moore. The people of Alabama nominated a scumbag to represent the GOP (a really stupid move in hindsight, yes?) and now they’re pretending they’re too stupid to realize it.

The same is true of Donald Trump. Despite the long list of women who’ve made serious and extremely believable accusations that he groped, fondled, and forcibly tongue-kissed them (yeccchhhh!), only 18 percent of Republicans admit to finding them credible. Despite the fact that Donald Trump has spent a lifetime making such allegations not only credible but extremely likely.

Are Republicans really this dumb? Of course not. They’re playing the stupid-on-purpose card rather than simply admitting that for [insert justification here] they chose to vote for a sleazeball with a reputation for treating women like trash.

Well, sorry: I can’t. I used up my clueless quota in college. I’ve committed enough acts of extreme idiocy to get me demoted out of the species, down to pro-simian, or even “professional weatherman.”

My question for Republicans and conservatives who can embrace intentional stupidity is this: How is “stupid” a winning strategy? Liberals pretended to be dumb enough to believe Bill Clinton and Al Gore lost the White House. Hillary lost it twice. Democrats are paying a huge price today on the issue of sexual harassment. Did fake-stupid work? Other than artificially boosting Bill’s poll numbers in the short term?

Democrats keep denying the basics of economics, pretending they live in a magical world beyond the realities of supply, demand, and human economic behavior. Is this a winner for them? Should we suddenly start pretending that tax cuts create magic money that falls from the sky? Or that lower-income families who already pay no federal income taxes “deserve” a tax cut? Or that corporations are, in fact, the evil, irrational, job-killing conspiracies that progressives pretend to believe they are?

How is any of this stupidity a strategy? And even if it were, even if stupid were a guaranteed path to political victory–I still couldn’t go along. Stupid on purpose is my red line, the one sin for which there is no redemption. It’s a violation of my core, fundamental worldview. The day I start embracing stupidity as a positive value is the day I stop being me.

How many more people on the Right feel the same way?

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There are 67 comments.

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  1. Danny Alexander Member

    Specific to the Alabama senatorial race, the real question is: “How do the GOP Senate numbers look for 2018, if you factor in a Moore victory?”

    If the answer is that the GOP is certain to hold enough seats in the Senate by this time next year, such that a presidential impeachment has no chance of attaining the necessary 67 votes in that chamber, then I’m with fake-stupid FTW.

    In such a scenario, the OP-proposed intensity of hand-wringing becomes almost wholly unnecessary.

    • #1
    • December 11, 2017, at 7:43 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Hypatia Inactive

    So anybody who doesn’t see the allegations the same way you do is dumb? Got it!

    You don’t explain why you think it’s stupid to believe Moore’s denials. Moore has only 2 accusers of improper conduct, and one of them just took a serious hit to her credibility. Dating is not a crime.

    And you don’t explain your remark about Trump’s “lifetime” of activities that make the allegations against him credible.

    How come The NY Times, when it attempted to do a hit piece by interviewing past and present female employees of Trump’s could not find one single lady with a complaint? In fact the interviewees came forward to object to the Times’ obvious effort to make the piece appear negative.

    Its unbelievable that, with Dems and Leftists dropping like flies, you accuse conservatives of complicity with sexual harassers, and you accept their transparent Alinsky-ite attempts to accuse their political opponents of what they themselves are doing and have been doing for years.

    • #2
    • December 11, 2017, at 7:46 AM PDT
    • 43 likes
  3. I Walton Member

    Michael Graham: How is “stupid” a winning strategy?

    Well it just looks like stupid when Republicans act the way they do. It’s actually cowardice. Liberals can make them do what ever they want by charging racism, sexism, it helps the rich, it hurts the poor, polls are against it, or for it, and now, it’s sexual abuse.

    • #3
    • December 11, 2017, at 7:47 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  4. Hypatia Inactive

    It’s obviously time to require that any individual who wants to seek public office be castrated medically or physically.

    • #4
    • December 11, 2017, at 7:56 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  5. Manny Member

    Should we suddenly start pretending that tax cuts create magic money that falls from the sky?

    Well, tax cuts do create money to go into the economy, which increases positive activity. The pretense is that the windfall is near infinite, and that’s not accurate. Political communication/persuasion seems to require a level of exaggeration, and that goes on any issue.

    Or that lower-income families who already pay no federal income taxes “deserve” a tax cut?

    I haven’t seen this as a Republican talking point. Where did you get that?

    Or that corporations are, in fact, the evil, irrational, job-killing conspiracies that progressives pretend to believe they are?

    That too is not accurate. Which Republicans are using that line of rhetoric?

    As to Roy Moore, I’ve heard plenty of mainstream Republicans denounce and refuse to support him. How his election works in his state should be a lesson to us all: cultural identity trumps other issues. Personally I leave it to the people of Alabama to decide who they want to represent them. They are trying to balance a person who represents their values and having a flawed personal history against a Liberal who doesn’t. In the ideal world they would have picked someone who both represents their values and has a spotless history. However, his history came out after the field was defined to two candidates. If I were in their shoes could I bring myself to let the Liberal win? I don’t know.

    • #5
    • December 11, 2017, at 8:01 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  6. Manny Member

    Hypatia (View Comment):
    It’s obviously time to require that any individual who wants to seek public office be castrated medically or physically.

    LOL, well what about women. That sounds like you’re clearing the field for your potential run at the presidency. :-)

    • #6
    • December 11, 2017, at 8:03 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Victor Tango Kilo Member

    Is it really outrageous that voters are refusing to believe the proclamation of a Democrat Media Complex that has systematically lied to them? Called them ignorant racists and bigots? Sneered at the middle of the country, particularly the southeastern quadrant?

    Is it really outrageous that voters have rejected a Republican Establishment whose last major conservative policy success was the 1996 Welfare Reform Bill? Is it outrageous that a Republican Establishment that promised to secure the border then refused to, that promised to repeal Obamacare and then didn’t, that promised fiscal responsibility but worked hand in glove with Democrats to run up $20 Trillion in debt has lost the faith of its voting base?

    As much as you despise Roy Moore, that fact is the media and the GOP made him not only possible, but perhaps inevitable. If you want no more Roy Moores, start actually delivering on promises to the voters. You can’t do anything about the media, they will always be the enemy of Republicans. But Republicans can control the legislation they create and the ideas they champion.

    • #7
    • December 11, 2017, at 8:07 AM PDT
    • 41 likes
  8. Kay of MT Member

    @hypatia, you say things so well, so much better than I.

    • #8
    • December 11, 2017, at 8:10 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):
    Is it really outrageous that voters are refusing to believe the proclamation of a Democrat Media Complex that has systematically lied to them? Called them ignorant racists and bigots? Sneered at the middle of the country, particularly the southeastern quadrant?

    Is it really outrageous that voters have rejected a Republican Establishment whose last major conservative policy success was the 1996 Welfare Reform Bill? Is it outrageous that a Republican Establishment that promised to secure the border then refused to, that promised to repeal Obamacare and then didn’t, that promised fiscal responsibility but worked hand in glove with Democrats to run up $20 Trillion in debt has lost the faith of its voting base?

    As much as you despise Roy Moore, that fact is the media and the GOP made him not only possible, but perhaps inevitable. If you want no more Roy Moores, start actually delivering on promises to the voters. You can’t do anything about the media, they will always be the enemy of Republicans. But Republicans can control the legislation they create and the ideas they champion.

    Well, trashing voters in the base is certainly the way to get elected, right?

    • #9
    • December 11, 2017, at 8:16 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  10. Western Chauvinist Member

    Nice lob of the “stupid and immoral” grenade. That pretty much only leaves you the Full Hillary — “deplorable.”

    So much for Ricochet’s culture of civility.

    • #10
    • December 11, 2017, at 8:19 AM PDT
    • 33 likes
  11. Stina Member

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):
    As much as you despise Roy Moore, that fact is the media and the GOP made him not only possible, but perhaps inevitable. If you want no more Roy Moores, start actually delivering on promises to the voters.

    And stop manipulating primaries to remove excellent candidates who voters want while maintaining candidates that you think voters could never possibly want (Trump vs early primary candidate drop-outs, Moore vs Brooks, probably a dozen more).

    • #11
    • December 11, 2017, at 8:26 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  12. Guruforhire Member

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):
    Is it really outrageous that voters are refusing to believe the proclamation of a Democrat Media Complex that has systematically lied to them?

    Its not even the media, its the omni-present culture of hoaxes, slander, and gaslighting online.

    • #12
    • December 11, 2017, at 8:38 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  13. Basil Fawlty Member

    No mention of Moore’s opponent?

    • #13
    • December 11, 2017, at 8:47 AM PDT
    • 16 likes
  14. JimGoneWild Coolidge

    While I understand the sentiment of this, I can’t fully agree. The ability of the Democrats and media to trot out women who claim X, Y or Z before an election is unlimited. Now it’s a numbers game. Justice Thomas had one, that didn’t work, so they’re upping the ante to 2, 3 and 7. Next election cycle it will be in the double digits. Forget the mental stability of hormonal teenage girls — 40 years ago, where are all Trump’s accusers today? And 10 year old locker room talk just doesn’t cut it.

    • #14
    • December 11, 2017, at 8:49 AM PDT
    • 24 likes
  15. Randy Weivoda Moderator

    It would be interesting to know how many Democrats during the Bill Clinton era put on a happy face but privately thought of him as a dishonest dirtbag. Quite a few, I venture. There are Republicans who at least publicly are blind to any flaws in Donald Trump, but do have misgivings privately. I was at a Republican function and a woman was telling me about the glories of Donald Trump, including what a good Christian he is. I tried to keep a neutral look on my face but I must have let my skepticism show when she declared that Donald Trump has always been faithful to his wives, because then she said “Well, he was faithful until he wasn’t.” I get it. When Elvis Presley died, I didn’t want to believe he was a druggie. But I was 11 years old at the time.

    • #15
    • December 11, 2017, at 8:56 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  16. DocJay Inactive

    There’s also a subset of stupid people who choose not to see the vast left wing conspiracy.

    • #16
    • December 11, 2017, at 9:01 AM PDT
    • 28 likes
  17. Nick H Coolidge

    People keep acting like we live in a world with binary choices. I’m sorry, but if the only options on the menu are a crap sandwich on rye bread and a crap sandwich on sourdough, I’ll go hungry (stealing a metaphor from Jonah). If some people want to choose one over the other that’s their call, but it’s hard to respect those people who insist it’s roast beef. One of the earliest programming concepts people learn is “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” If we keep putting trash candidates on the ballot and then electing them because they’re not the other party’s trash, then we shouldn’t be surprised when all of our politics is one big dumpster fire.

    • #17
    • December 11, 2017, at 9:08 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  18. Basil Fawlty Member

    Nick H (View Comment):
    People keep acting like we live in a world with binary choices. I’m sorry, but if the only options on the menu are a crap sandwich on rye bread and a crap sandwich on sourdough, I’ll go hungry

    Except that one or the other sandwich is going to be stuffed down your throat on election day.

    • #18
    • December 11, 2017, at 9:16 AM PDT
    • 26 likes
  19. Heisenberg Member

    Nick H (View Comment):
    If some people want to choose one over the other that’s their call, but it’s hard to respect those people who insist it’s roast beef.

    This is my thought as well. If people want to acknowledge what Moore has done and what kind of character he has displayed, but still support his election Because (insert issue of choice), I would disagree but at least it’s an honest argument and rationalization. It’s ok for politics to be about difficult or less-bad choices. To maintain that all these charges are fabricated is really just to have one’s head in the sand to avoid the cognitive dissonance of admitting what one knows is an unpleasant or morally questionable decision.

    • #19
    • December 11, 2017, at 9:23 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Nick H (View Comment):
    People keep acting like we live in a world with binary choices. I’m sorry, but if the only options on the menu are a crap sandwich on rye bread and a crap sandwich on sourdough, I’ll go hungry (stealing a metaphor from Jonah). If some people want to choose one over the other that’s their call, but it’s hard to respect those people who insist it’s roast beef. One of the earliest programming concepts people learn is “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” If we keep putting trash candidates on the ballot and then electing them because they’re not the other party’s trash, then we shouldn’t be surprised when all of our politics is one big dumpster fire.

    This is really a bad metaphor, and I reject it It is almost like using a cliche. If only someone would write a book about the use of cliche in political thinking.

    • #20
    • December 11, 2017, at 9:30 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  21. Profile Photo Member

    As someone who comes from Massachusetts, I really object to this post. I just want people to know that the writer of this post does not represent all conservatives in the Bay State; I never even heard of Michael Graham until he started posting on Ricochet. If you would like a better picture of where most conservatives in Massachusetts stand, I would recommend Howie Carr: I don’t know exactly where he stands on Roy Moore-I only listen to his show sporadically, but I seriously doubt that he would dismiss an entire state of people the way that Michael Graham has.

    Doesn’t Massachusetts have enough of an image problem? This post is does not represent my opinions. Michael Graham does not represent me in any way; like I said, I never even heard of him until he started appearing on Ricochet.

    • #21
    • December 11, 2017, at 9:32 AM PDT
    • 20 likes
  22. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):
    As someone who comes from Massachusetts, I really object to this post. I just want people to know that the writer of this post does not represent all conservatives in the Bay State; I never even heard of Michael Graham until he started posting on Ricochet. If you would like a better picture of where most conservatives in Massachusetts stand, I would recommend Howie Carr: I don’t know exactly where he stands on Roy Moore-I only listen to his show sporadically, but I seriously doubt that he would dismiss an entire state of people the way that Michael Graham has.

    Doesn’t Massachusetts have enough of an image problem? This post is does not represent my opinions. Michael Graham does not represent me in any way; like I said, I never even heard of him until he started appearing on Ricochet.

    As a Southern born man, I am well used to people from the North East, Right and Left, looking down on me for being from the South. This is, I am sorry to say, JC, all too typical, and while I don’t hold it against you, I rather think this is representative of conservative thought from the Bay State.

    That being said let me offer this in the spirit of the season:

    • #22
    • December 11, 2017, at 9:35 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  23. Profile Photo Member

    @bryangstephens: check out Howie Carr. I am pretty sure you can listen to his show on the internet, and I would bet any amount of money he has a much bigger following than Michael Graham does :)

    • #23
    • December 11, 2017, at 9:39 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  24. Pony Convertible Member

    So which is more stupid? To vote for a man who has a history of abusing women and who may have messed up the lives of a few dozen women, or vote for a man who, if he gets his way, will mess up the lives of millions? Unfortunately, that is the choice that has to be made in Alabama.

    • #24
    • December 11, 2017, at 9:40 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  25. MarciN Member

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):
    While I understand the sentiment of this, I can’t fully agree. The ability of the Democrats and media to trot out women who claim X, Y or Z before an election is unlimited. Now it’s a numbers game. Justice Thomas had one, that didn’t work, so they’re upping the ante to 2, 3 and 7. Next election cycle it will be in the double digits. Forget the mental stability of hormonal teenage girls — 40 years ago, where are all Trump’s accusers today? And 10 year old locker room talk just doesn’t cut it.

    It’s the prosecutorial trick of constructing a pile of circumstantial evidence in lieu of strong material evidence.

    I am thrilled that the jury of public opinion is not falling for this.

    • #25
    • December 11, 2017, at 10:06 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  26. Hypatia Inactive

    Manny (View Comment):

    Hypatia (View Comment):
    It’s obviously time to require that any individual who wants to seek public office be castrated medically or physically.

    LOL, well what about women. That sounds like you’re clearing the field for your potential run at the presidency. :-)

    Yes, exactly! See my post, just up:”Sexual Harassment in the Political Classes: a Modest Proposal.”

    “…

    • #26
    • December 11, 2017, at 10:08 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  27. Ed G. Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    …… There are Republicans who at least publicly are blind to any flaws in Donald Trump,…..

    I can’t wait for this line to die away. While there are always examples of anything, this has never been broadly true IMO. You know what some of us are blind to? The exaggerated and the unsupported; the clear matters of preference or taste I don’t share being made to toil under intellectual and objective weight they just aren’t capable of supporting.

    Everyone has flaws including Donald Trump. It would have helped if criticism had started with the supportable; instead right from the beginning we got accusations of authoritarianism, central planning, insane, know-nothing, immoral, racist. We got Michelle Fields and somehow it became Trump himself who was at fault for questioning Fields’ account and for supporting his guy (who was exonerated IMO when the tape came out). We got Trump the Nazi because of the Tapper interview even though Trump disavowed Duke before and after that interview. Now we get no discipline (TWEETS!!) and liar and collusion and whatever else.

    Yeah, he has flaws just like everyone else, but I’ve yet to see a sober assessment of those flaws (not that I’ve been searching high and low because mostly they haven’t been convincingly shown to much matter). I’m tired of the narratives and the tortured connections people try to make to prove irredeemable character flaws justifying continued constant haranguing and belaboring the point.

    • #27
    • December 11, 2017, at 10:25 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  28. Wolverine Coolidge

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):
    Is it really outrageous that voters are refusing to believe the proclamation of a Democrat Media Complex that has systematically lied to them? Called them ignorant racists and bigots? Sneered at the middle of the country, particularly the southeastern quadrant?

    Is it really outrageous that voters have rejected a Republican Establishment whose last major conservative policy success was the 1996 Welfare Reform Bill? Is it outrageous that a Republican Establishment that promised to secure the border then refused to, that promised to repeal Obamacare and then didn’t, that promised fiscal responsibility but worked hand in glove with Democrats to run up $20 Trillion in debt has lost the faith of its voting base?

    As much as you despise Roy Moore, that fact is the media and the GOP made him not only possible, but perhaps inevitable. If you want no more Roy Moores, start actually delivering on promises to the voters. You can’t do anything about the media, they will always be the enemy of Republicans. But Republicans can control the legislation they create and the ideas they champion.

    Am I allowed to like this comment 100 times?

    • #28
    • December 11, 2017, at 11:04 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  29. Nick H Coolidge

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    This is really a bad metaphor, and I reject it It is almost like using a cliche. If only someone would write a book about the use of cliche in political thinking.

    That actually got a real laugh. I’ll concede the metaphor is imperfect, but it does work in that voting for either candidate here would make me sick to my stomach.

    • #29
    • December 11, 2017, at 11:41 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Columbo Member

    One man’s “stupid” is another man’s “elite”. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

    Your mileage may vary.

    • #30
    • December 11, 2017, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
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