Smitty over at The Other McCain made an observation that I was tempted to skip right past, but since that site doesn't tick me off most of the time, I figured I would link to it.
Of course, you need to click the link and skim read the whole post, but here's the condensed version. During a TV interview, Chris Wallace (AGAIN!) submitted an Obama talking point. This time, it was that "a number of top economists" believe we need another stimulus package. John Boehner replied (and I am paraphrasing) that he didn't need to see numbers or listen to economists. All he needed was to listen to the American people.
Smitty then quoted a liberal blogger who accused Boehner of not being adequately intellectual, and proceeded to this:
In reply, one of the saddest of the slak-jawed Lefty poses is its fetishing of Argument from Authority. The general form is:1. Source A says that p is true.
2. Source A is authoritative.
3. Therefore, p is true.
He goes on to point out that is pretty much how D.C. operates these days. Maybe I'm making the wrong jump here, but he seems to be implying that it is a trait of the left to assume that their philosophies are flawless because they're in the majority. Again, maybe it's just me, but it seems to me that Smitty has almost done the same thing:
1. Source L says that R is always wrong.
2. R speaks.
3. Therefore,Source L says that R is wrong.
Ok, that's actually true. But just because Source L says R is wrong does not mean R is, in fact, correct.
Smitty goes on to say that "If you have doubts, based upon the national debt, budget deficits, impenetrable legislation, non-grasp of Constitutional basics, etc, you might be a conservative/raaaaacits/terrorist."I'll try to set aside my gut reaction, which was to point out that disagreeing with the GOP usually results in being called a liberal, an anti-Semite, or a terrorist sympathizer, because I want to focus on what Boehner did, and what Boehner could have done, because that's where I'm really aggrieved.
It pains me to say this, but the left is right in this instance. Boehner didn't say anything about the national debt, budget deficits, impenetrable legislation, the Constitution..,nothing. Of course Boehner has legitimate doubts. We all have legitimate doubts, the left included, but that wasn't the point the bloggers were making.
It isn't that hard: the 2010 elections are best summed up as "It's the economy, stupid!" Would it kill Boehner to do a little homework and get some names committed to memory to toss out there? How about seeing him take on a favorite liberal talking head - a Friedman vs Krugman Nobel prize winners cage match?
I guarantee that would provide an excellent Sunday Morning soundbite ground and pound, and while economic theory might not be ESPN-8 fodder, the internet loves armchair economics. This was an excellent chance to give a nod to the right wingers that brought the topic of monetary policy back to the political table in the first place. After all, Krugman won his Nobel for some obscure international trade theory. Friedman won his for debunking the myth that stimulus spending is good for the economy. How hard is it to look smarter than a Monday morning Keynesian, anyway?
What Boehner did was dismiss to simply to dismiss science in the name of populism. While it sadly seems to win him votes, that technique should not inspire great confidence in Boehner as a reform leader. The majority isn't always right, and as conservatives we shouldn't be satisfied only to beat the Democrats. After all, the economy crashed on the Republican watch. Any party that claims to demand responsibility from individuals shouldn't dodge that fact if they want their newly-found conservative values to be taken seriously.
I hope I am not asking too much , but It isn't like there wasn't an even easier response to Wallace's lob from the left. Boehner missed by simply not pointing out that that there are also a number of top economists that believe that we do not need another stimulus. His answer was not even an answer. I'd love to be inserting a "Sunday Morning Smackdown - Chrissy Wallace vs Big John Boehner" clip here, but instead, here's the sad exchange that we're discussing:
Did you see that? Boehner actually did it twice. When Wallace spewed out yet another DNC talking point, this time about the Bush tax cuts, Boehner told Wallace that Wallace had been in Washington too long. I'm just floored. Wallace has been in Washington too long? I'm thinking this should be a clip on a site that exists in support of term limits.
And that, dear readers, is exactly what wrong with the system as a whole. I am far from insisting that governing should ultimately be the sole domain of the elf-anointed intellectually elite, and I don't especially loathe John Boehner, but when he tosses out lame answers like "I want to represent the people," in response to a valid question on economic legislation, Boehner isn't representing anybody but himself. He is inserting himself into the role of unquestionable expert, and relying on being the authority that we should vote for, just to follow blindly.