Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Are Republican Leaders Serious People? (Updated)

Michael Tomasky tells us that Republicans are “good at theatre, dreadful at governing” because they aren’t intellectually and morally serious people:
“Having taken control of the House of Representatives as of tomorrow, Republicans now have to govern. They have to do things like make a budget. And not just a fake budget, like in a campaign. A real budget, that adds up, more or less. They have to negotiate with a Senate still in Democratic hands over the final shape of appropriations to the various federal agencies. All that sounds suspiciously like hard work. And Washington Republicans, for all their thumpety-thump rhetoric about hard work and personal initiative and so on, are largely lazy and unserious people. They won't do the work, and in two years, it will show.

“How can I say that? Alas, recent history bears it out. When I say lazy I don't mean that they fail to arise from bed. They manage that. I mean intellectually lazy. And yes, unserious.”
Readers of this blog will know that this is the sort of liberal intellectual and moral condescension that drives me up a wall because I regard it as symptomatic of a lack of objectivity and seriousness in the liberal circles. But you have to ask yourself whether Tomasky has a point after watching Jim DeMint say with a straight face that he won’t vote for raising the debt ceiling "under any circumstances":



How’s that for political statesmanship? Under no circumstances will DeMint vote for a bill, the passage of which is a necessary condition of the federal government’s discharging its legal obligations.  And why not?  Because he isn’t personally responsible for the explosion of federal debt.

Granted, this is all political posturing—I can’t believe DeMint would really withhold his vote if the full faith and credit of the federal government hung in the balance. And even if he would, I assume that saner heads in the Republican congressional caucus would prevail. But would a morally and intellectually serious person even say such things knowing, as DeMint surely must, that if a critical mass of legislators believe him and follow his lead responsible public decision-making will be impossible?

Advantage Tomasky.

Update:  To hold serve, however, Tomasky will have to explain to us why DeMint is being any less serious than Harry Reid was being in 2006:

2 comments:

Yeoman Farmer said...

Why don't we just split the difference and say that politicians as a class aren't serious people.

Anonymous said...

I think many politicians are only serious about getting their soundbite on the evening news. But there are a lot of serious politicians out there. They just aren't the ones grandstanding.