A Victory for Wooden-headedness
In the week the Republican Party took back control of the House of Representatives, Richard Cohen weighed in on the subject of Sarah Palin: “The fierce stupidity of this woman,” he wrote, “is hard to comprehend. It is the well from which she draws her political sustenance.” It’s obvious that many Americans have been drinking from the same well.
The historian Barbara Tuchman had another term for the Palin Effect. In The March of Folly, she defined “wooden-headedness,” as “the source of self deception:”
It consists [she wrote] in assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring and rejecting any contrary signs. It is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by the facts.
For the simple truth is that the mess Mr. Obama inherited will take more than two years to clean up; and the Republican objective — stated with laser like clarity by Mitch McConnell — is to make Obama a one term president.
When John Boehner says that his priorities are the “peoples’ priorities” one must ask, “Which people?” That is what the mid term elections were all about — which people will be served. The Republicans have been very successful over the last thirty years in convincing common folk that the priorities of the wealthy are their priorities — even though the facts point to a much different conclusion.
At the end of his life, Mark Twain — who, like modern American voters, had no respect for Congress — concluded that there was little hope for “the damned human race.” Thornton Wilder was a little more charitable.”Wherever you come near the human race,” said the stage manager in Our Town, “there’s layers and layers of nonsense.”
Rand Paul declared last night that he and his ilk have arrived to take back the country. It will be interesting — and truly sad — to see what they do to it.
Owen Gray grew up in Montreal, where he received a B. A. from Concordia University. After crossing the border and completing a Master’s degree at the University of North Carolina, he returned to Canada, married, raised a family and taught high school for 32 years. Now retired, he lives — with his wife and youngest son — on the northern shores of Lake Ontario. This post is cross posted from his blog.