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Monday, April 12, 2010

Today's Award for 'Biggest GOP Jerk' Goes to Rep. John Fleming

Woman with adding machineLet's try a little fun with math; when is 33% more than 33%? At first glance, that may seem to be a dumb question -- they're obviously the same. But it's a trick question; the answer is that when the 100% totals are different, the smaller percentages, although an equal share, are not equal numbers. 33% of one dollar is obviously less than 33% of ten dollars. A one third portion of one thing is not necessarily equal to a one third portion of another.

Unfortunately, some people are having a hard time wrapping their heads around this concept. Case in point; Barack Obama is entering into a treaty with Russia to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles by a third. This is, of course, the worst thing ever. The party that practices Reagan worship is accusing the president of giving away the store, not understanding nuclear diplomacy, and -- in one case -- of deliberately putting the nation at risk.

But here's the thing; Reagan did the same thing. Only bigger. In 1982, Ronald Reagan proposed cutting nuclear arms by one third. Since then, nuclear arms have been cut -- most notably by the START I and START II treaties. So Barack Obama's reduction -- at least compared to Reagan's proposal -- is modest. Reagan wanted to cut 100% by 33%. Now Obama wants to cut a smaller 100% -- minus Start I and Start II -- by 33%.

Which reduction is greater?

Pencils down. The answer is clearly that Ronald Reagan hated America -- and he hated it even more than Barack HUSSEIN Obama. Given the over-the-top reactions to Obama's proposal, we can only assume that this is what his critics believe. Of course, that also assumes that the criticism is honest. I don't think I'm going out on a limb if I say it's probably not.

But back to the accusation of deliberately putting the nation at risk. Was that some teabagger moron with a misspelled sign? Some talk radio blowhard like Rush Limbaugh? Some batcrap crazy TV shrieker like Glenn Beck?

No. It was Rep. John Fleming, Republican of Louisiana. In an op-ed that begins by quoting Ronald Reagan (who, remember, logic dictates must've hated America more), Fleming makes a lot of untrue and not-so intelligent statements, titling the piece "Reagan had it right on national security" and summing the whole thing up thusly:

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I work daily to ensure our men and women have the resources they need to protect this country, and I continue to be dismayed by the national security policies coming out of this White House. Simply put, President Obama is disadvantaging the United States one step at a time and undermining this country’s national defense on purpose. Whether he is catering to the anti-war leftists or truly doing what he thinks is best for our security, the president is leading this nation down a very dangerous path.

That emphasis is his. He wants to make it absolutely clear that he believes the President of the United States of American is putting our nation at risk on purpose.

Steve Benen comments:

Ignorance is commonplace. Belligerence is routine. Stupidity has become habitual throughout much of the [GOP] caucus. But let's not overlook the fact that Fleming spoke directly to President Obama's motives. Fleming argued that the president isn't just mistaken, but rather, is deliberately trying to make the United States less safe and more vulnerable.

In other words, Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana effectively accused the President of the United States -- the Commander in Chief during two wars -- of treason. For Fleming, Obama is choosing to betray the nation, in his words, "on purpose."

"I write a lot about the excesses of Republican rhetoric, in part because I find GOP remarks illustrative of a party gone mad, and in part because of the impact the rhetoric has on the larger political culture/discourse. Most of the time, the temptation is to mock the absurdities," Benen continues. "But once in a while, we find a case like this one, in which a sitting member of the House of Representatives -- not a Fox News personality, not a host of right-wing radio show -- suggests, in print, that the president is a traitor."

Fleming has gone far beyond hyperbole.

There are a few things you should look out for that indicate a totally illogical argument. One of those things is mind-reading. Some will notice that I got into Republican heads toward the beginning of this post, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt -- they're either lying or stupid and I base that on what they've said. There is no other explanation. But when an argument hinges on knowing what someone is thinking -- despite what they've said -- you've got a pretty good clue that you're listening to BS. I can do the same thing and excuse Fleming's op-ed; he was obviously distracted with perverse sexual fantasies that have been stirred up by all the news coverage of the Catholic Church's child molestation scandal -- like any good Republican. He really should take a cold shower before he sits down in front of his word processor and pounds out an anti-Obama screed.

One thing we can know about Rep. John Fleming, Republican of Louisiana, is that -- either because of ignorance, intent, or a combination of the two -- he's a horse's ass. Whenever I come across a story like this, I'm tempted to say that his district is getting the representation they deserve; if this is the sort of idiot they elect, then this is the sort of idiot they deserve. But Fleming wasn't elected unanimously and his idiocy, dishonesty, and reactionary reflex don't only affect his district. He's our problem too and, frankly, no one deserves this moron.


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Jeremy Hurwitz said...

Continuing to give the Fleming the benefit of the doubt:

Rather than compare the number of nukes that Reagen got rid of to the number of nukes that Obama got rid of, why not compare the number of nukes that remain? Suppose, for example, that 1000 nukes are necessary and sufficient for national defense. Then a president who reduces our stockpile from 1,000,000 to 1000 is not putting the nation at risk. However, a president who reduces it from 1000 to 999 is putting the nation at risk.

I support Obama's reduction. And Fleming is an idiot for claiming that Obama is intentionally putting the nation at risk. But one can support Reagen's reduction while opposing Obama's, without being hypocritical

There is plenty of rope already with which to hang Fleming. Trying to fabricate more only weakens the entire case.

Wisco said...

I'm less than persuaded that hypothetical math where X="enough" bolsters Fleming's argument that the president is guilty of treason.

And let's remember that Reagan wanted to cut during the cold war, when we had an honest-to-god nuclear superpower for an enemy. Now we've got... Who? North Korea, who struggles to get a missile off a launch pad? Iran, who doesn't even have a nuclear weapon of any kind?

To tell the truth, I'm a little hard-pressed to explain why we need any nuclear weapons at all. Maybe to fend off a stray asteroid or something, but the plain truth is that we face absolutely zero actual nuclear threats.

M said...

Stray asteroids better not F with our weapons of global annihilation!