Parade of Fools

Hope springs eternal, except maybe for the Republican Party, which seems to have a boatload of early candidates vying for Marshall of the Fools Parade. Today, let me pick on two that I have been pondering and whom George Will singled out in this column: Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich. Huckabee has withdrawn from contention for the Republican nomination, but his views are still instructive. Newt Gingrich is spending this week doing damage control on his statements last weekend concerning the Ryan plan.

Huckabee and Gingrich apparently believe that Obama’s governing mentality can be explained by his father’s anti-imperialist attitude toward the British. Huckabee veers off the beaten path even further, saying Obama was raised in Kenya, where he soaked up this world-view at his father’s knee–or something like that. A Huckabee spokesman soon “clarified” the Kenyan thing, saying that Mike meant “Indonesia.” All this seems strange, given that Huckabee goes on in the interview at some length about the Mau-Mau uprising.

One may be forgiven for misspeaking, but neither Huckabee nor Gingrich seems to have fallen victim to that all-too-human trait. They instead appear to endorse a silly explanation of an unsavory and destructive governing mindset on the part of our Chief Executive. Obama boots the country to the extreme left against America’s deepest sensibilities and this is the best response they can muster?

Obama is a disaster not adequately explained by an anti-imperialist mentality. He deserves to be challenged vigorously, but not about his birth certificate or with fantastic allegations about his personal history. Again I ask, this is the best we can do?

As if not satisfied with looking foolish when criticizing Obama, Gingrich set out last weekend to tilt at what may be the only sensible thing Republicans have done in recent memory–letting people know that we cannot balance our budget without changing Medicare radically. Paul Ryan’s plan may not be the final solution, but it sure as hell dragged the issue out from under the table. This Gingrich calls “radical social engineering,” implying its equivalence with Obamacare.

At least I think that is what Newt meant. It is hard to tell what he or any other Republican stands for. As a parade of fools strings its way across the stage of Republican politics, it tends further toward rank stupidity and inexplicable weirdness. Message to Republicans: We deserve better, and some of us are looking toward 2012 to make sure we get it, your party or not.

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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1 Response to Parade of Fools

  1. Outstanding, Terry. I am also baffled by the lack of debate of the issues, versus focusing on meaningless sideshows.


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