Dumbass Quote of the Day


While everyone else seems to want to focus on Sen. Marco Rubio’s ill-timed drink of water, the thing that I noticed when reading his response to the State of the Union (I read it rather than watched it) is how completely vapid it was. It was just a list of tired platitudes like this:

More government isn’t going to help you get ahead. It’s going to hold you back. More government isn’t going to create more opportunities. It’s going to limit them. And more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs. It’s going to create uncertainty.

It’s appalling to me that anyone over the age of 12 could take this kind of simplistic rhetoric seriously. It isn’t about “more government” vs “less government,” it’s about what the government should and shouldn’t be doing. And these blanket statements are inevitably false. A Pell grant certainly helps people get ahead rather than holding them back. School lunch programs that make sure poor kids get nutrition during the day that is necessary to concentrate and learn certainly helps them get ahead.

And yes, many government programs do create opportunities and inspire new ideas and private sector jobs. Publicly funded scientific research, for example, has led to some tremendous breakthroughs in medicine and engineering. The work of federal research facilities like Los Alamos and Sandia has spurred enormous economic gains and created large numbers of jobs as a result.

A simpleminded catchphrase does not a serious argument make. In fact, it isn’t an argument Rubio himself believes. A bit later in his response he said:

Helping the middle class grow will also require an education system that gives people the skills today’s jobs entail and the knowledge that tomorrow’s world will require. We need to incentivize local school districts to offer more advanced placement courses and more vocational and career training. We need to give all parents, especially the parents of children with special needs, the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice. And because tuition costs have grown so fast, we need to change the way we pay for higher education. I believe in federal financial aid.

Gosh, that sounds like government spending that helps people get ahead rather than holding them back.

Comments

  1. slc1 says

    Just another example of the lame stream media focusing on something as irrelevant as a drink of water and ignoring the substance of what the man had to say.

  2. says

    It’s appalling to me that anyone over the age of 12 could take this kind of simplistic rhetoric seriously.

    Not that I’m defending this point of view, but you can actually find a very similar sentiment in one of Henry David Thoreau’s most famous essays/speeches:

    Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed on, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. (“Resistance to Civil Government”)

    I teach this essay to juniors, and it really is striking how even the most conservative students I have (and coming from a small rural town in central Illinois, that’s saying something) recognize that this philosophy is nonsense. (In fact, that and the change in attitudes over gay marriage among my students has been some of the most encouraging things I’ve seen as a teacher.)

  3. Trebuchet says

    @SLC1

    Just another example of the lame stream media focusing on something as irrelevant as a drink of water and ignoring the substance of what the man had to say.

    Or, more accurately, the lack of substance.

  4. machintelligence says

    If the Republicans want to de-Romnify their party, why are they re-using his talking points?

  5. raven says

    What does the Tea Party/GOP stand for?

    1. It’s the party of hate. Hate for women, the poor, nonwhites, nonxians, gays, science, scientists, college students and whoever else isn’t an old rich white male fundie xian.

    2. It’s the party of cutting taxes. This sounds good until you realize that cutting taxes while increasing spending wrecked the USA for a generation. It was financially irresponsible and a disaster.

    3. It’s the party of stupid.

    The unexplainable is how they got 47% of the presidential vote anyway.

  6. says

    machintelligence “If the Republicans want to de-Romnify their party, why are they re-using his talking points?”
    Because it wasn’t the philosophy that lost, it was Romney. Everybody knows that most Americans are for small government, low taxes, a strong military, and liberty.*
     
    * Note: The numbers fall considerably once those terms are unpacked, defined and illustrated.

  7. kantalope says

    “The unexplainable is how they got 47% of the presidential vote anyway.”

    My hypothesis

    35% will vote republican no matter what, it is tribal for them
    15% don’t approve of some people’e melanin levels

  8. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Rubio, along with “professional” Toms like Cain and Thomas and converted-Indians like Jindal, show that the “Republican” Party is in its final stages of decomposition, like South Africa was before allowing Mandela to be elected. They are willing to do anything, pay any price – even “lifetime honorary white status” and access to them white wimmins – to anyone with brown skin who’s willing to carry their water, Gunga Din-like, just a little farther.

    To be a “Republican” now is to openly expose oneself as stupid, ignorant, insane and/or evil.

    Rubio’s as empty and useless as the cheapest piece of imitation dog shit ever produced.and rejected as “unsaleable goods.”

  9. lofgren says

    Just another example of the lame stream media focusing on something as irrelevant as a drink of water and ignoring the substance of what the man had to say.

    Actually I was really disappointed that several of the blogs I read had almost nothing to say about his speech except to make fun of the drink of water. Blogs I thought were written by thoughtful people with insight, and all they wanted to do was make fun of the guy for getting a dry mouth while speaking. The whole thing was shameful.

    Not that I’m defending this point of view, but you can actually find a very similar sentiment in one of Henry David Thoreau’s most famous essays/speeches

    I’ve always thought Thoreau sounded like just another petty, whiny, superficial, self-important man-child. Walden pond is not a homestead in Alaska. They didn’t throw you in prison because your ideas are dangerous, they threw you in prison because you didn’t pay your taxes.

  10. says

    kantalope: “35% will vote republican no matter what, it is tribal for them
    15% don’t approve of some people’e melanin levels.”

    Yes, but there’s a big overlap in those two sets..

  11. steve84 says

    Yeah, I don’t get this “big government” crap. There are government actions that are intrusive like over-regulating some industries down to the tiniest detail. At some point that becomes counter-productive. But conservatives reflexively call *any* and all government activity big and bad. Things like health care and social insurance are *not* intrusive. And only have advantages if implemented right.

  12. vmanis1 says

    Being a contrarian, I have to rush to the defence of the water bottle in Rubio’s trainwreck. Yes, the speech was vapid, and appeared to have been written in advance of SOTU. Yes, it was internally self-contradictory. But the water lunge demonstrates a complete lack of professionalism on the part of his handlers. I don’t blame the guy for getting thirsty (I used to teach 7-8 hours on some days, and I always kept a drink nearby.) I do think that if he has a tendency to run dry, they should put a dixie cup [*] with some water in it, so that he can take a discreet sip if needed. The lunge, followed by the weird deer-in-the-headlights/I-swear-I-didn’t-eat-that-cookie-Mom expression on his face, made him look like a clown. If the guy can’t even get that right, what hope does he have of being the GOP’s savior, as declared by TIME?

    [*] Yes, I know Dixie Cups are made by Georgia-Pacific, a subsidiary of the Koch brothers, but I’d assume that wouldn’t be an obstacle for Rubio’s team.

  13. left0ver1under says

    “Helping the middle class grow”?

    From the idiots who want to export high paying jobs, who want to bust unions, who want to privatize education (read: build christian madrasas) and who want to drive college and university tuition through the roof?

    Yeah, right.

  14. lanir says

    I’m starting to wonder if the best strategy for actually engaging and dealing with these sorts of people is just to repeat chains of their own nonsense back to them.

    Example:
    “We need to incentivize local school districts to offer more advanced placement courses and more vocational and career training. We need to give all parents, especially the parents of children with special needs, the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice.” – “…schools should get rid of unionized janitors, have one master janitor, pay local students to take care of the school.” – “Montpelier schools may be the first in Ohio to ramp up security by authorizing employees to carry weapons” – “School officials said they began floating the idea of arming some nonteaching staff… in response to periodic national incidents of classroom violence.” – “all the kids pull their guns out and says, ‘We like our teacher. You shoot our teacher, we’ll kill you.’”

    End result: Arm the kids, fire the janitors, watch bullying/suicide combos vanish and instead let the lunch line turn into the O.K. Corral. Conservative values at their best. For the children!

  15. says

    “If the guy can’t even get that right, what hope does he have of being the GOP’s savior, as declared by TIME?”

    Time has REALLY low standards for excellence in politicians?

  16. jnorris says

    Since he believes government doesn’t do anything good, he’s sure to support eliminating government handouts to oil companies.

  17. nimsudo says

    Here’s the thing with the water: The response to the State of The Union attempts to put someone on the opposition on the same level as the president. It’s a rather direct juxtaposition. Rubio is being touted as the future of his party, up to and including buzz about him running for president in 2016. So let’s juxtapose Rubio’s performance with Obama’s. Obama is a great public speaker. He spoke for an hour with strength and verve. He laid out his party’s agenda addressing many pressing topics. Rubio spoke for what, fifteen minutes? The entire time it was obvious that he was sweating bullets and his mouth was dried by fear. He was ostensibly replying to Obama’s speech, but the accusations he leveled at Obama just made everyone wonder what speech Rubio was listening to. The comparison is one of a polished professional with a rank amateur; a rank amateur who is supposed to be the future of his party. The water was just the moment of crystallization; a man dehydrated by fear makes an unprofessional lunge out of frame for water. The focus is on that one moment because it epitomizes the failures of the whole speech; the failure with the water is a metaphor for the failure of the man, which in turn is a metaphor for the failure of the Republican party.

  18. Ichthyic says

    The comparison is one of a polished professional with a rank amateur; a rank amateur who is supposed to be the future of his party.

    interesting take on it, nimsudo, thanks.

  19. =8)-DX says

    Publicly funded scientific research, for example, has led to some tremendous breakthroughs in medicine and engineering.

    Understatement, much?
    The single most important reason we’ve moved so quickly into the space/internet/atomic/nano/dna-engineering age is government-funded science and technology. The world would be 50 years back without that. =]

  20. dingojack says

    nimsudo – That’s exactly how I read the whole water thing too.
    I wonder how Obama would have handled that kind of situation?
    I think he would probably would have excused himself* (long before the need became desperate), got the water, had a drink, and put the bottle back, all in a unhurried fluid way. Then joke about it, gracefully.
    Dingo
    ——-
    * “‘scuse me while I whip this out!” :)

  21. lofgren says

    oh for god’s sake. you guys sound like those assholes who comment ever time the president flubs a line “he’s unprofessional. He’s unpresidential. he can’t talk without a teleprompter,” etc. it was a drink of water. trying to blow it up into anything more than that displays a pettiness and vapidity that is in my opinion far more harmful to our discourse than one parched politician.

    it would be one thing if there was a pattern here, like there was with rick perry. but nobody to my knowledge has put together the video to demonstrate such a pattern. he was just thirsty.

    like ed, I didn’t watch the response. but there was so much written about the water thing that I had to watch it. I was expecting something disastrous, like he tried to drink and spilled water all over himself or something. but it was nothing except a somewhat awkwardly timed drink of water. Having worked with performers in a range of capacities, I can tell you moments like these happen and can be unpredictable even to seasoned professionals. obviously you want to minimize them, but you can never totally eliminate them. that’s just life.

  22. Jim Satterfield says

    “More government isn’t going to help you get ahead. It’s going to hold you back. More government isn’t going to create more opportunities. It’s going to limit them. And more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs. It’s going to create uncertainty.” – Marco Rubio explaining to an audience in Cape Canaveral why NASA should not only be shut down immediately but should never have existed.

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