Here in New York, we have a gubernatorial election coming up in which the Republicans have, as they've done in races for various offices all across the country, nominated a complete lunatic. But for some reason I've never been able to fathom, Americans seem to every so often get themselves into this weird kind of mood where they get so angry that they decide to embrace lunatics as an expression of their anger. I'm hearing a lot of this from supporters of Carl Paladino: "Sure he's crazy, but crazy is what we need!"
DougJ at Balloon Juice perfectly captures the inherent dangers of this habit:
This kind of reasoning is nearly always stupid, e.g. “at least with Bush, you know where he stands”. People don’t talk this way about things other than politics. No one says “better a quack than all this medical kabuki” or “better Barry Switzer than all that West Coast offense mumbo jumbo”.
If you want to have good government, you do it by voting for sane candidates whose positions you agree with, not by supporting nuts in order to make some ridiculous point about an imperfect system.
I couldn't agree more. "Carl's angry and so are we! He expresses our anger!" But what do you want to do with that anger? "Drop a bomb on Albany!" Yeah...but what do you want him to accomplish? What do you want NY's state government to look like when he's done? "I dunno...but we're angry and so's Carl!" Lather, rinse, repeat. Every time I've asked a Paladino supporter what policy ideas of his they find appealing, they can't cite a single one. They just like that he acts angry.
Along similar lines, a blogger I read recently wrote that President Obama has brought all of his woes upon himself, and that the Tea Party only exists because of his excesses. "The Tea Party wouldn't exist without him," this fellow wrote.
But...of course the Tea Party would exist without him. The Tea Party would have happened to any Democrat elected President in 2008, because for all the grass-roots mythology the Tea Parties like to indulge, the fact is very simple: the Tea Party is nothing more than the same pissed-off Republicans who crawl out of the woodwork en masse every time a Democrat is in office. President Hillary Clinton would have faced a Tea Party. So would President Joseph Biden, President John Kerry, President...anyone at all from the Democratic Party.
And one last thought: Every single US Senator who voted against allowing gays to serve in the military (Harry Reid excepted, who only voted no for procedural reasons) can go to hell -- especially those who hide behind the excuse that "It wasn't fair! You didn't let us offer amendments!" There's right and there's wrong, and the fact that you (a) stood up to be counted with 'wrong' and (b) claimed as your excuse that Senate procedure is just so much more important than doing right marks every single one of these people as moral midgets of the highest order. Especially John McCain. What a bastard that guy is.
OK, I'm done.