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Friday, February 01, 2013

Hillary Clinton and Republicans' Post-Logical Worldview

Hillary Clinton
Today is the day that Hillary Clinton will no longer be Secretary of State. No more globehopping behind a desk bolted to the deck of a C-17. That's all John Kerry's job now. He'll probably do the job just as ably, but frankly, I don't see him wearing it as well.

But we tend to be remembered best for the last time someone saw us, which means that Clinton's name will most likely bring to mind her final appearance before the senate, where she slapped back grandstanding Republican know-nothings intent on cashing in on a tragedy in Benghazi, Libya. Many of those Republicans probably wish that memory would fade into history, but Clinton's not done with them quite yet.

In an interview with the Associated Press (her final interview as Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton revisited the Benghazi hearing and had unkind things to say -- not only about those she put in their place, but of Republicans in general.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is leaving office with a slap at critics of the Obama administration's handling of the September attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya. She told The Associated Press that critics of the administration's handling of the attack don't live in an "evidence-based world" and their refusal to "accept the facts" is unfortunate and regrettable for the political system.

[...]

"I was so unhappy with the way that some people refused to accept the facts, refused to accept the findings of an independent Accountability Review Board, politicized everything about this terrible attack," she said. "My job is to admit that we have to make improvements and we're going to."


↓ CONTINUED AFTER THE JUMP ↓

"There are some people in politics and in the press who can't be confused by the facts," she told the AP. "They just will not live in an evidence-based world. And that's regrettable. It's regrettable for our political system and for the people who serve our government in very dangerous, difficult circumstances."

Truer words have never been spoken. One thing that's always fascinated me with the right -- and frustrated me, as well -- has been their tendency to engage in wild speculation, then treat that speculation as rock-solid fact. Without this sort of logical gymnastics, the entire wingnut blogosphere, rightwing talk radio, and conservative media industries would fold overnight. It's almost all they do. And elected officials do it as well.

For example: During the Benghazi hearing, Sen. Rand Paul asked Clinton a truly bizarre question: "[I]s the U.S. involved with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?" Clinton managed to avoid asking, "What the hell are you talking about?" and said she had no information about anything like that. People wondered what was up with Paul's weird question -- and then we got our answer.

Steve Benen:

...Today, the kooky conspiracy website World Net Daily published a new report, explaining that [Sen. Rand] Paul believes the Obama administration may be "covering up a gun-running scheme in Benghazi that fell apart when jihadists attacked the U.S. mission there."
In an interview with WND, the senator said his "suspicion, although I don't have any proof, is that guns were being smuggled out of Libya, through Turkey and into Syria."
I have a few follow-up questions for Rand Paul. First, if you "don't have any proof," what on earth are you talking about? Second, why do you keep falling for silly conspiracy theories?

The answer to both questions is, "Because he's a Republican. It's what they do." They seem to think this sort of stuff is what is meant when you talk about reasoning. They seem to live in a post-logical world, where whatever explanation best fits what you want to believe is the truest. That's why they constantly fall back on logical mush like this sort of insane, baseless speculation, as well as other logical fallacies like the "slippery slope" argument ("Let gays marry and then people will want to marry their dogs!") or arguments that hinge on mindreading ("What Obama really believes is..."). And let's not even get into their strident anti-science. Republicans aren't just illogical, they use a sort of anti-logic, which -- by all appearances -- they believe is logic.

People this unable to reason are people unable to govern. When everyone's just making up reasons to believe the things they already believe, we wind up running around "solving" a bunch of entirely imaginary problems. We wind up arguing over birther legislation and ways we can limit the non-existent problem of Sharia Law taking over America. We wind up with people making idiotic and completely inaccurate statements about rape and biology. When the NRA's Wayne LaPierre says we shouldn't regulate guns because not everyone will obey the law, all the rightwing bobbleheads are all, "Yup, yup, yup!" -- as if the only laws it makes sense to pass are those that are impossible to break. And we hear arguments that a relative handful of Jews (who like most populations were mostly children and the elderly) could've held off the well-trained and disciplined Nazi war machine if only they'd been armed -- despite the fact that it took more than the combined armies of Europe to finally accomplish that victory. All this stuff makes perfect sense to conservatives, because it confirms what they want to believe. If they really needed 2+2 to equal 5, they'd find a way to argue that it does -- and then they'd mock anyone who disagreed with them as "moonbats" and "libtards."

Hillary Clinton nailed the problem with Republicans dead center. Here's hoping she'll be back to do it again in 2016.

-Wisco

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