Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jon Kyl and the Incentive for Republican Laziness

I love Matt Yglesias's response to Jon Kyl's suggestion that having the Senate work on December 27 would somehow be an insult to Christians: Yglesias proposes a Jews-only session on Christmas Day.  Although note that Christmas happens to fall on a Saturday this year; I believe Joe Lieberman will only show up and vote on Shabbat if his vote is really necessary. 

Moving to more speculative territory, I tend to believe that Kyl's remark -- and see also Mitch McConnell's remarks on why it's OK for him to support earmarks in the omnibus spending bill even though he both opposes the bill and theoretically opposes earmarks -- show a downside of a compliant partisan press: it makes these people incredibly lazy.  Basically, if Fox News will buy whatever GOP leaders are selling, and Fox News viewers will buy whatever Fox News tells them, why should GOP leaders work hard to devise intelligent justifications for their positions?  Hmmm...that's not quite right; they should do so, in part because not all swing voters are tuned in to Republican partisan media (and yes, that sort of stuff only matters on the margins, but still plenty of elections are won and lost on the margins, and after all they're paying people to come up with this junk)..  But it must be tempting to be lazy, since whatever silly argument you make will show up in full voice on the Hannity program that evening, and after all that's what's on the TV in each Republican Senator's office.

And after all, who's going to come up to Jon Kyl and tell him how stupid a notion this is?

What is interesting is that there does not seem to be a point at which Republicans viewers feel that their leaders are insulting their intelligence.  Or, at least, not enough viewers to force Fox News (and GOP Senators) to come up with at least marginally more plausible arguments.

1 comment:

  1. This just begs for the explanation: Republicans can't legitimately feel like their leaders are insulting their intelligence, because their leaders can't insult their intelligence. Calling a Republican a brain-dead moron isn't an insult: it's a description.

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