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Ignorance, arrogance, deceit and stupidity are the pillars of the current political leadership in Washington, DC these days. This is the new normal and Trump is the standard bearer. But you can only be a leader if you have followers or at least enablers, and unfortunately he has both. The only question is will he have enough?

chuck grassley ignoramus

But this has been building for a long time and the political calculus has been shifted to reward stupidity. It is generally recognized that time and experience can overcome intellectual deficiencies, but when the system erects disincentives to rationality, you get what we have: namely, a corrupt and broken system.

With the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 a wave of newly elected Republican U.S. Senators representing what may constitute the least distinguished entering class in American history helped propel what would become known as the Reagan Revolution. The deep tax cuts combined with grossly miscalculated defense increases and deep cuts in domestic discretionary spending programs and a philosophy of supply-side economics that would magically produce budget surpluses instead trebled the national debt within a decade and put us on a glide path to an era of stagnating wages that has helped devastate what is left of the middle class.

I was a staff member of the Senate Budget Committee during that time and watched with disdain and horror as Reaganomics precipitated a virtual economic collapse and took a meat axe to programs intended to help the most vulnerable in society. More importantly, however, I got a chance to observe on a daily basis the incredible lack of expertise, experience, and the dearth of intellectual capital of this entering class. It is notable that of the 14 members fully half would be gone after one term, which again may be a record for political futility, but I will leave that to the historians. In the intervening years Republicans have largely controlled Congress and now control both the Executive and Legislative branches of government. The operating political calculation has become the less you know or care the better. What a sad commentary upon our representative democratic system.

And regardless of the amount of time spent in Washington, DC dumbing down has become an art form. Here is an example, one of the class members who still occupies his place in this august body is the senior Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. From his first days in the Senate he did not carve an impressive portrait. I recall his maiden days on the Senate Budget Committee where he struggled with some of the basic concepts of economic policy as he dutifully endorsed the Republican agenda.

Well, it seems that after 36 years in the Senate the gentleman from Iowa is as clueless as the day he entered. Whether by design or pure stupidity, I will not venture a guess. As Congress stubbornly struggles with health care reform in a desperate effort to secure anything that can be perceived as a victory, pyrrhic or otherwise, and with an absolute absence of a credible analysis of the costs and consequences of provisions that seem to be woven out of whole cloth Senators are left to fend for themselves as to why they support it.

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While Grassley may deserve some credit for candidly professing ignorance of content, his admission that regardless of whether the bill which affects potentially 20 percent of the economy is a benefit to this constituents or not he will support it. Pure and simple, a political calculation that is devoid of content analysis. No one can be this stupid, can they?

In a rational society he should be fired for malfeasance, in the business world he would be sent packing if he did not render decisions based upon how they affected the corporation’s bottom line, on the farm he would be ostracized for not feeding his livestock in an attempt to afford a new automobile, in the political arena he seems to not care one wit. And of course he has plenty of company, by most estimates at least 47 of his Republican colleagues who profess loyalty to the Constitution but actually respect the power of the party over the well being of the public are willing to pass this pathetic legislation.

Worse yet, they continue to enable the meanderings of madman whose inept, impotent, and criminal leadership imperils the nation and the world. A purported world leader who once again revealed himself as a joke with his juvenile presentations at the United Nations this week. While watching the Vietnam War documentary last evening, Lt. General Sam Wilson captured America’s inability to prevail by saying “you cannot dispel ignorance if you retain arrogance,” which fairly accurately sums up the position we find ourselves in as we face a world increasingly wary of either our intentions or reliability.

Chuck Grassley is an ignoramus, and Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy are political drug dealers willing to numb their Republican colleagues with lies and deception.

We are being guided by a President that is so intellectually incapable of anything that does not contain bluster or bravado that he cannot grasp even the basics of sensitivity to diplomacy. Forget that he twice refused to adequately identify the African nation of Namibia while addressing a meeting of African leaders, but letting them know that he has many rich friends who love their continent for the opportunities it offers for exploitation is the height of arrogance. The amazing thing is he is seemingly unaware of the fact that this would be interpreted as a slight of the highest order. His tone deafness on the issues of both immigration and white supremacy and clumsy efforts to offer half-assed backpedaling simply offer no other explanation than a latent racism that his followers heartily applaud.

Chuck Grassley is an ignoramus, and Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy are political drug dealers willing to numb their Republican colleagues with lies and deception. Mitch McConnell is a pimp who gladly sells out his constituents to the highest bidder and hopefully will cause great damage to the Johns he is responsible for. John McCain has called for the reinstitution of regular order, which basically means deliberation and analysis of major legislation so that esteemed members of the Senate can make informed decisions. Is this too much to ask? I think not. Will he stick to it under the weight of relentless pressure from his friend from South Carolina? Guess we will see.

The Graham-Cassidy bill may or may not adversely affect tens of millions of Americans. The simple answer is we do not know. The bill may or may not remove important protections like pre-existing conditions. We do not know. The bill either does or does not meet the Jimmy Kimmel test. We do not know. Although we do know that Jimmy Kimmel does not want his name associated it.

We will only know the answers to these and other important questions if we take the time to do the job that is expected of our elected representatives. Putting pressure on the institutions and leaders of government to vote on the presumption that any of these idiots is actually telling the truth is a fool’s errand. After all, they have seen the Liar-in-Chief operate with relative impunity up to this time so maybe this is the new normal. I hope for all or our sakes that is not the case. To quote the “orange Julius”, we will see, we will see. What a farce.

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Lance Simmens

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