Oh, Rick. What the Hell, Man?


Where do I begin, Rick? Who wrote your Michigan primary speech? Seriously, who? You fire him right now. And I’m not even talking about your stats on the economy. My 8th grade algebra teacher would be the first to tell you that I don’t know from numbers, but I do know enough about statistics to realize that they will, no matter what they are, categorically confirm the validity of whatever opinion you hold, even if those statistics seem to say that the economy is both improving and is worse than ever. Us non-math kids call that doublethink…because we read Nineteen Eighty-Four instead of figuring out how fast the train was going when it left Cleveland going east.

But leaving that aside, let’s talk about some of the more glowing assertions in your speech, sir.  Since it’s tax season, let’s itemize, shall we?

“That ultimately is about what this race is about. It goes down to the very nature of who we are as Americans. Are we a country that believes in big government? Do we believe in the smart and elite in this country to manage us?”

I can’t speak for my fellow Americans, but I would like to believe that my lawmakers are smart. Lawmaking is hard…like that level of Super Mario Bros. that makes you so mad that your mom ends up grounding you. Are you implying that we should not be led by smart people, Rick? Because you’re running to be our leader right now. Are you trying to tell us something?

“I wave this Constitution at every speech, and I talk about it being the operator’s manual of America. It’s how America works. It’s the “how” of America. But there’s another document equally important, which is the “why” of America, and that’s the Declaration of Independence. And in that declaration is these words, “We hold these truths to be self- evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights…”

Lemme just stop you right there. The Declaration of Independence is not a governing document. It is a list of grievances that justify a revolution. To borrow your term, it’s less the “why” of America and more the 18th century equivalent of an angry blog rant. Brilliant in its eloquence, but a list of gripes nonetheless. I’mma let you finish, though:

“That — that phrase was the most transformation phrase ever written in a government document. That phrase said that we are going to be a country with limited government and believing in free people to be able to form families, and communities, and churches, and educational institutions, and hospitals, and be able to build a great and just society, a free society from the bottom up.”

I”m not sure where you are reading the “limited government” part in there. However, I vaguely recall from my study of American history that, at the time it was written, “all men are created equal,” literally meant Men. And only white ones. From Britain…and not the Irish-y parts of it either. Nor should we forget that those Anglo-Saxon white men were still free to own other human beings as property, and that those human beings would not be freed for eighty-nine years and wouldn’t be guaranteed the right to vote for another hundred years after that.

But, you know, freedom!

“The men and women who signed that Declaration of Independence wrote this final phrase: We pledge to each other — we pledge to each other our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honor.”

…Rick? No women signed the Declaration of Independence. If that John Trumbull painting is accurate, there weren’t even any women in the room.

“When they signed that document, they had very little hope, real hope, of actually succeeding in a revolution against the British. The British were the most powerful army in the world and the navy in the world. They were ruled by highly educated, noble people.”

…Or a porphyric madman…

And once again, are we suggesting here that the primary factor in Britain losing its American colonies was that its leaders were educated?

“Our leaders were different.”

They weren’t educated?

“George Washington, the signature leader of America, was different. He understood that the greatness of this new country was to have leaders who understood that, in spite of their breeding and education, they didn’t have all the answers, that they could trust the people, that ragtag group of people who stepped forward to volunteer to create freedom in this land.”

So they set up an electoral system whereby individual citizens did not actually vote for their leaders, but for a group of electors who would insure that illiterate pig farmers and cooper’s apprentices didn’t elect a horse to the presidency.

C’mon, Rick. First it was gays, then women, now the educated? What’s next on your murderer’s row of timeworn conservative straw men? Hippies? Single moms? Miniskirts?

This anti-education thing is beyond old; it’s insulting. Education does not always signal “elite.” The working class “Regular American” voters you’re trying to court can be educated, too. Just because you didn’t learn anything at your three schools doesn’t mean the rest of us didn’t either.


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