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You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Aug 12, 2011
Memo to Leon Panetta, and Wisconsin: YOU ARE DUMB.
Is there a theme to this week's current-events-update slash bottom-of-the-research-barrel dredging? Sort of. Because one of the great tortures of being a smart person in a world full of dumbasses and people who should fucking well know better is watching them make selections and choices that you know we'll all regret. And that happens a hell of a lot, from calm topic human Monday to SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY.
For example, Barack Obama has picked two Secretaries of Defense so far. The first one, Robert Gates, was problematic in that he was SecDef for Dubya and distinguished himself mainly by keeping the stupid-ass wars Donald Rumsfeld started ticking along for a few more years. A performance he repeated under Obama until even he got bored with it and they played musical chairs in the cabinet.
And left holding the bag? Leon Panetta, who distinguished himself pretty much right out of the gate by going to Iraq and telling the troops there that "The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked." Now, when someone says there's no difference between the two parties, they get yelled at. Sometimes they get yelled at because there is a difference between the two parties - Michele Bachmann is clearly not ideologically in line with Barack Obama. But sometimes they get yelled at because there's more than a kernel of truth to it on a a shitload of issues, and that makes people very uncomfortable.
When Obama's hand-picked Secretary of Defense spouting the line that we started up regime change in Iraq because of Al Qaeda and 9/11, then the young, somewhat naive Naderite in me rears its ugly head. If we can't trust either party to refrain from this degree of blatant, propagandist bullshit, then it's no wonder we're not all that excited about 2012.
But that's not the worst of it. Panetta's latest boner, and why he earns a double-length slot in the Friday space, is because he's already started saying how the defense cuts that would be triggered by Supercongress Fail would be "dangerous" and unacceptable.
Now, the Supercongress is a shitty idea for a number of reasons. But one of the reasons it's stupid for Democrats specifically is that there's a bunch of stuff that'll happen automatically if the committee can't reach an agreement. And of all those things, there's only one thing on the whole list that Republicans wouldn't gladly throw off a cliff to make Grover Norquist happy, and that's defense cuts. They'd probably still do it, but they'd be a bit cranky about it.
Which means that the defense cuts are the closest thing to "leverage" the Supercongress Democrats have. Which means Leon Fucking Panetta needs to stop defending his fucking bloated turf, better known as the unlimited ATM machine for any half-asses subcontractor and mercenary trans-national corporation that comes along, shut his mouth, and stop undermining this tiny bit of leverage.
He's a Democrat. If he says it's unacceptable, then the Democrats are saying it's unacceptable. Remember the rule. Military Republicans are impartial soldiers, military Democrats are ideologically motivated. If David Petraeus said it was dangerous, that'd be one thing. Robert Gates, too. But Leon Panetta saying it is like Obama saying it, and that's gonna be really bad when Pat Toomey and the five other nutbags on the Supercongress dig in their heels and hold their breaths until the Democrats stop turning blue.
I hate to say "I hate to say 'I told you so'", on account of loving to say "I told you so", but Wisconsin? I couldn't have told you more so. Six elections, three wins would give the Democrats the state Senate, and they won two. Fucking genius electorate they've got there.
The worst part was the spin out of both sides. Actually, that's not true. The worst part was the spin from the liberal blogs, with the rest of the spin coming a very close second. The election was about one thing - stopping Scott Walker from continuing to turn Wisconsin into a Randian hellhole. After the election, Walker will get to continue turning Wisconsin into a Randian hellhole.
So I don't give a shit about how tough it was, or how these were entrenched Republicans from 2008, or how two victories in these conditions qualifies as a huge win on technical grounds. Republicans may have been lying out their asses when they said the election "cemented their mandate" after losing a significant fraction of that mandate, but remember, since Dubya, the word "mandate" means "a narrow victory that lets me keep doing what I'm doing". And in that sense, Wisconsin Republicans do indeed have a cemented mandate, for at least another year.