Just how stupid are elected representatives?

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I have a particular position on a particular policy. Everyone who disagrees with my position is too stupid to understand my position, so ignore them. This especially applies to people who actually made the laws and/or policies pertaining to that policy area.

You all saw this coming from Sanders regarding Trump’s taxes. She made the claim that members of Congress are too stupid to understand Trump’s tax forms, she says. So, her position is that people who make deploy and enforce these laws and regulations, or enforce them, the very laws and regulations that cause those very tax forms to exist to begin with, don’t know what they are or how to read them!

The thing is, I’m hearing the same thing from other Republicans at other levels of government. If the citizens want something to happen, the Republican answer is, “this is something that can’t be understood except by a few, including myself and maybe one other guy.”

My advice: Go to your representatives (you probably have five elected legislative reps in total) and ask them to explain some policy issues, especially focusing on those for which that elected person sits on a relevant committee. If you get a good, understandable, answer, consider voting to re-elect. If you get gobbledygook, you are either being sold a bill of goods from someone who does not want you to understand, or you are taking to an idiot. Either way, consider not voting for that person.

If you are told “nobody can understand this policy” then ask for the names of the other electeds who don’t understand the policy, and compose a joint memo asking for clarification, and fashion that into a Letter to the Editor. There are stupid people in congress and state legislatures. But it is incumbent on those who claim most of them, or all of them in a given party, are as such. Because, frankly, most of them aren’ that stupid.

With this sort of activism we may be able to stop this madness!

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38 thoughts on “Just how stupid are elected representatives?

  1. Perhaps the tax laws are so complex to (1) make them hard enough to understand and follow to ensure that almost everyone will fall afoul of some regulation sooner or later and thus put him/herself in a defensive position re the government, (2) hide the loopholes that only already rich people or corporations can exploit, (3) deal with all the possible ways that people have developed to avoid paying the taxes that they actually should pay in all fairness.*

    * I added (3) to provide for the possibility that someone in Congress is actually trying to serve the public at large, not just their major donors.

  2. Is the problem the politicians or is it us who are the problem?


    I think most politicians are fairly bright people who sometimes say dumb things. Imagine if someone followed us around all day and recorded all the dumb things we say on a daily basis!

    Tribal politics and motivated reasoning make some of us think the “other” sides politicians are stupid. The link speaks to this. I found it interesting reading

  3. The press secretary speaking to the press about the salient features of a three year old issue is not someone following around someone to find the stupid thing they might say!

  4. “Ladies and gentlemen…the American senate!”
    From PZ Myers, still going strong after all these years.

    Stupidity is independent of intelligence. Anybody can be stupid. In fact I defy you to show me anybody who hasn’t done, said, or thought stupid things at some point in their life. But holy crap on a stick, it takes a special kind of jackass to be so consistently and willfully stupid as a wingnut Republican.

  5. “Just how stupid are elected representatives?”

    Review any video of those clowns asking “questions” of Zuckerberg or the other tech people they’ve hauled in front of them to get a feel for how stupid they are. If you are stupid enough to think the big companies make decisions by having people sitting and reading posts and not through algorithms tuned to detect items that generate a lot of attention, or that they show a consistent liberal bias, you’re pretty effing stupid.

    The difficulty comes with statements like “members of Congress are too stupid to understand Trump’s tax forms”.

    It’s stupid, yes, but it is intentional, designed to be dishonestly stupid and to appeal to the bottom feeders among trump’s support. Is intentional dishonesty themed stupidity really stupidity or a masterful bit of propaganda?

    1. dean:

      Good point about the stupid questions at hearings.

      Remember the rep who asked a general about some island tipping over because of all the people on one end of the island? Sorry I cannot remember any names – but I laughed out load at that question.

  6. The correct comment is “Nothing the people at daily caller write should ever believed because it is aimed at and written by the worst people in the country.”

    The fact that you think there is something to the shit they write speaks more about your lack of understanding and gullibility than anything else.

    1. Thank you. Yes. That was very funny.

      Now, on its face that sounds like a stupid question.

      I am sure Hank Johnson isn’t stupid though.

      I see he made it through law school and did get elected to the house.

      He just thoughtlessly asked a stupid question and it was captured for all time because it was recorded.

      I am seriously glad I am not followed around all day by somebody (or an entire industry) recording everything I say out loud.

      I doubt AOC is as stupid as she sounds.

      I doubt Ilhan Omar is as stupid as she sounds.

      So my guess is elected officials are not very stupid. But sometimes they can say stupid things – just like the rest of us.

      p.s. I doubt Trump is as stupid as he sounds either. (trying for balance here).

  7. Trust RickA to claim that AOC and Illan Omar ‘sound stupid’. To a right wingnut like RickA, any progressive thinker sounds stupid. Both are light years more intelligent than the ignoramus-in-chief who conjures up ridiculous new words, calls poor countries ‘shitholes’ and doesn’t understand the Constitution.

    True stupidity is illustrated by many Republicans, so it’s hard to choose among them. James Inhofe and Joe Barton are both clearly imbeciles, but so is the clown (please refresh my memory) who claimed that sea levels were rising because of coastal rocks falling into the ocean.

    1. LOL. Of course, the way you just put it, he was right. Archimedes after all. ;>D

      But you are correct – there are plenty of high-achieving people who ain’t got a lot upstairs. Half the population, by definition, has below-average intelligence. That’s 150 million people in the US alone.

    2. Jeffh says I think “any progressive thinker sounds stupid”.

      That is mostly true. However, as the gist of my comment above makes clear – I don’t actually think that progressives are stupid. Just that they sometimes say stupid things. As we all do at times.

      For example – progressives are against racism – but are for affirmative action. Even though affirmative action is racist – treating someone different because of the color of their skin. Is that smart or stupid? If we are supposed to be color blind, than we should be color blind – not treating people differently because of the color of their skin. Martin Luthor King wanted people to be judged by the content of their character – not the color of their skin – and that is the end game – right?

      Once you turn on racism (for a good cause of course) when do you turn it off? It isnt easy to turn off a benefit once it gets going (see social security and medicare).

      Another example is reparations for slavery. How any generations past the slaves do you go with reparations? 1, 2, 10 or 100? Do reparations make any sense? How much should the descendants of slave owners pay to the descendants of slaves? How much? Georgetown thinks it should only be $27 (per semester). Personally I think the whole concept of reparations for descendants of wronged people is stupid – if you are going to give them, you should give them directly to the people who were wronged.

      The green new deal sounds very stupid to me also.

      100% renewable sounds very stupid to me.

      No nuclear power sounds very stupid to me.

      I think making drugs illegal for adults is stupid.

      I think making prostitution for adults illegal is stupid.

      I think socialism is stupid.

      I think 90% of the nanny state laws are stupid (banning big gulps and big macs and so forth).

      So yes – I think progressives have a lot of stupid ideas (in my opinion). To be fair, I think a lot of conservative ideas are also stupid.

      I think a lot of ideas which are stupid (in my opinion) are thought up by smart well meaning people. A lot of the time, these ideas just make things worse (like ethanol for vehicle fuel)(or socialism).

      But it is a free country and smart people or even just average people (hell – even dumb people) are allowed to say dumb things and even try to persuade other people to adopt their dumb ideas. That is America.

      We just have to hope that eventually enough people figure it out in time to end up doing the smart thing. Wait and see I guess.

  8. And being intelligent doesn’t mean you can not be fooled by elegant sophistry. At least one study has been done which showed that intelligence was positively correlated with the tendency to be duped by a jazzy false argument. The opposite was true for lower intelligence people.

    Just look at the intentional bullshit which passed peer-review at various humanity journals.

    1. “Even though affirmative action is racist”

      Well no, not at all. That’s how it’s pushed by the right.

      “I think socialism is stupid.”

      The word socialism has been applied by the right to so many things that it has lost all of its meaning. You would be correct if you said “I think what I believe to be socialism is stupid” — because, no doubt, you have a stupid notion of what socialism really is.

  9. “James Inhofe and Joe Barton are both clearly imbeciles, but so is the clown (please refresh my memory) who claimed that sea levels were rising because of coastal rocks falling into the ocean.”

    yeah, any of the republicans have said flat out lies about climate change, just like the climate change deniers who post here.

    Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said he was bothered that established climate science has not been questioned more by the committee, which has accused federal climate scientists of fraudulently manipulating climate data and subpoenaed their records.

    “I’m a little bit disturbed by, No. 1, over and over again, I hear, ‘Don’t ever talk about whether mankind is the main cause of the temperature changing and the climate changing,'” he said. “That’s a little disturbing to hear constantly beaten into our heads in a Science Committee meeting, when basically we should all be open to different points of view.”

    Lamar Smith, talking to Philip Duffy (president of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts and former senior adviser to the U.S. Global Change Research Program), couldn’t understand the difference between graphs showing sea level rise in San Francisco and data for world-wide rise. (Of course, Smith was referencing an article by Fred Singer, from the Heartland Institute in Chicago, who is a prolific liar about many things related to science).

    It was Mo Brooks who tossed out the line about rocks.

  10. Re: ” Even though affirmative action is racist …”

    You might have a point if affirmative action had not been a (much belated) response to many decades of pervasive discrimination against people solely on the basis of irrelevant characteristics such as race and without regard to relevant capabilities. Given that history, what else could be done to correct the situation?

    1. ” Even though affirmative action is racist …”

      When you remember that the person who said that also says he sees no evidence Trump is a racist you understand how such a stupid assessment could be made.

  11. RickA doesn’t like progressive politicians because they have a heart and soul. They believe in social justice, poverty reduction and environmental protection. They believe that the current generation should do everything in its power to ensure that the next generation inherits a healthy, prosperous world.

    The politicians RickA likes are selfish, arrogant millionaires and billionaires who believe that we should spend all of our natural capital today and damn the future. He likes his plutocracy, and believes that concentrating wealth in the top .01% is fair and just because the elites will open up their hearts and pocketbooks and give to the needy. Philanthropy is what RickA opines for.

    Oh, and the intellectual heavweight I was referring to yesterday was Mo Brooks, Republican Lawmaker from Alabama. Yes folks, climate change isn’t raising the sea level. It’s all because of those pesky rocks rolling down cliffs and into the sea:


    Here’s Brooks imparting his infinite wisdom:

    “Every time you have that soil or rock or whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise, because now you have less space in those oceans, because the bottom is moving up.”


    1. Just in case anyone is curious about whether or not the oceans will fill up with sediment some day: (1) Sediment compacts over time and with loading on top. (2) On a longer time scale, isostatic subsidence of Earth’s crust occurs under loading (compensated by uplift elsewhere). (3) On an even longer time scale, ocean floor bedrock becomes more dense as it cools* and loses elevation as a result.** So it is hard to fill up an ocean. It is almost like one of those cafeteria tray-stacking machines where every time a tray is put on the stack, the stack sinks a bit, ready for the next tray to be deposited.

      * Ocean floor bedrock is volcanic in origin and forms at ocean ridges (spreading centers — places where two tectonic plates are moving in opposite directions and molten rock is welling up to fill the gap). New ocean floor bedrock splits and moves to either side away from the ridge at a rate of a few centimeters per year.

      ** Ocean floor bedrock, like any part of Earth’s lithosphere (crust + some upper mantle) is essentially floating on the lower mantle which behaves plastically under stress (flows in the solid-state). And like any other floating material, how high or low it floats is determined by its thickness and density. In the case of ocean floor bedrock, thickness decreases with cooling due to shrinkage and density therefore increases. Both result in elevation loss.

      That was fun; reminds me of my days preparing handouts for geology students.

  12. I always find it amusing when people like dean and Jeffh erect strawmen and opine on my character, beliefs and politics. Of course they don’t know me at all – just my online opinions. I didn’t even vote for Trump – but that doesn’t matter. It is always guilt by association with progressives like dean and Jeffh. Call me a republican when I am libertarian. Call me a Trump supporter when I didn’t vote for Trump. Call me heartless when you have no idea whether I am heartless or not. It doesn’t matter to me. It only undercuts every point you make – but go ahead – keep doing it.

    That is the sure sign they are losing the argument – straying from the point to insult and name call.

    If you don’t think affirmative action is racist, more power to you – that is your right. I happen to believe that treating anyone differently based on their skin color is the very definition of racism. If a white person is assigned a benefit because they are white – that is racist. If a black person is assigned a drawback because they are black – that is racist. But the reverse is also true. If a black person is assigned a benefit because they are black – that is racist. If a white person is assigned a drawback because they are white – that is racist. The entire goal is to take race out of it (equal protection) – which means not taking race into account. That is what I happen to believe.

    Take a poll and ask progressives if we should shut down fossil fuel production – I wonder how many would be in favor? I wonder how many would be in favor of universal basic income? Hey lets turn off all the nuclear power plants also – I bet the progressive poll results would be in favor of that also. Those would all be stupid ideas – but maybe we will get to do one or more of these experiments and actually see what happens. I will vote against them – but I am only one person.

    The progressives have so many stupid ideas it is difficult to catalog all of them.

    I almost wish a progressive would win – just to see the chaos that would result. More dumb things like Vermont turning off its nuclear power plant would be sure to result. We could be the next Venezuela.

    But no – I really don’t want that. It would be bad for the country. We need people who govern with their brain and not just their emotions.

    1. Libertarian, Republican, you try to make a distinction as though one is somehow better than another. As you’ve demonstrated on your years of posts, that’s not true: dismissal of the poor as unimportant and deserving of their problems, denial of established science, belief that anything that doesn’t benefit well off white men first is bad, and more, all pushed by Republican leadership and the core of Trump’s followers, are also spewed by you and other loonatarians. Believing might makes right and people at the edge of society don’t deserve the opportunities you were given don’t make you a decent person.

      As for your stupid Venezuela comment: unless we’re subjected to decades of interference we’ve put on Central and south American countries that won’t happen.

    2. Progressives have won at various times and the results were such things as anti-trust laws, insured bank accounts so that people don’t lose their savings when a bank fails, veterans’ benefits, social security, and medicare. All of these things are considered pluses by most people and are characteristic of first world nations.

      As I’ve said, affirmative action was a remedy to fix the problem of discrimination based on irrelevant characteristics such as race. There was plenty of time for non-progressives to do something about that but they didn’t.

      I’m sure no one here is in favor of people who govern brainlessly. We could do without people whose brains are in the service of greed, racism, religious mania, and such.

  13. “Truly funny.”

    But spot on. Your science denial, dismissal of the poor and disadvantaged, lies about President Obama’s policies (there was a good deal of easy picking to do with his problems, but discussing them seems to be too much work for your kind), even your lies about the society about detroit and surrounding areas years ago, have clearly shown you for what you are. Your little dances of denial are sad.

    1. Are you referring to this comment:

      “I used to live in Troy Michigan – how was devil’s night this year? I left Michigan in 1977 so have lost touch with what kids get up to in Michigan. Are you for or against egging peoples houses and cars? Starting fires and destruction of property? Since you like Antifa – I am guessing you love devil’s night.”

      Devil’s night was a real thing in 1977 (and earlier):


      Did you live in the Detroit area in the 70’s or 80’s?

  14. Devil’s night is not an issue now and was never the spree you (and racists like you) made it out to be. (Don’t like being called out for your dishonesty and racism? Stop being dishonest and supporting racists.)

    Yes, I do support Antifa because, unlike you, I don’t care for Nazis, white supremacists, the KKKracists in general, etc., since they all espouse violence. The notion that Antifa is a “terrorist” group makes sense to you since they oppose things you value, we get that.

    Knowing that the people opposed by Antifa support harming others and are terrible used to be common knowledge — before folks like you came along.

    1. Once again we will simply have to agree to disagree. I lived in Troy MI from 1968 to 1977 and have first hand knowledge that devils night was pretty bad (and scary). I am glad it is not so bad now.

    2. Dean,

      And there’s the word at the core of Rick and the alt-right’s problem, ‘scary’. In a fundamental way that they can’t address, unregulated fear warps everything they think they see around them.

    3. have first hand knowledge that devils night was pretty bad (and scary).

      I have first hand knowledge, from cousins, an aunt, and from college roommates who lived there, that it wasn’t scary.

      Of course, they aren’t (or wasn’t, in the case of the long departed aunt) racists.

      And there’s the word at the core of Rick and the alt-right’s problem, ‘scary’.

      That fear comes from the existence of people who aren’t well-off white men.

    4. oa:

      Of course you are entitled to your opinion of my fear level (because I said devil’s night was scary).

      But the same could be said for the fear progressives have of global warming; fear of the future; fear of nuclear power and so forth. Progressives fears warp the way they see everything also.

      The planet has already warmed almost 1 degree C and really – what bad things have actually happened. Not much. The sea level has risen 8 or 9 inches. Nights and winters are a bit warmer than they used to be. But the fear of the next degree of warming is all out of proportion to the actual bad results we have already seen from the first degree (in my opinion). So I think your fear warps the way you see the future.

      I say – don’t worry. The corals will be fine. The polar bears will be fine. Humans will be fine. And so forth. I am not afraid of the future.

    5. dean says “I have first hand knowledge, from cousins, an aunt, and from college roommates who lived there, that it wasn’t scary.”

      I don’t think “first hand” means what you think it means. First hand means stuff you witness with your own eyes – not reports you receive from somebody else.

      What you are referring to is called second hand knowledge, also called anecdotal. It was nice of you to confirm you actually have no first hand knowledge of the devil’s night scene from the 70’s and 80’s. That is what I thought.

    1. “What you are referring to is called second hand knowledge, also called anecdotal. It was nice of you to confirm you actually have no first hand knowledge of the devil’s night scene from the 70’s and 80’s. That is what I thought”

      The difference ricka is that I have stories from people I trust and paid attention to the news at the time.

      You are not trustworthy. You are a racist, and your entire “experience” is formed through that.

    2. “But the same could be said for the fear progressives have of global warming; ”

      No. Your “fear” of devil’s night is based on your racism and exaggerations of what went on. The issues of climate change are based on established science. The fact that you are willing to like to yourself and anyone who will listen that the science is wrong is irrelevant.

  15. RickA, your ignorance is so deep that it pains me to respond to the continual outpouring of your risible bilge.

    You claim that ‘polar bears, coral reefs and humans will be fine’. How about Passenger Pigeons? Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers? Carolina Parakeets? Bachman’s Warblers? Or, for that matter, most of Hawaii’s birds? Or the 700 species of rails that once inhabited the Pacific Islands? Or the vultures that once inhabited India? Or, for that matter populations of songbirds across the Nearctic and Palearctic that are in population freefall? Ditto amphibians across the world? How about American Chestnut trees? Or rainforest-dependent species around the world? Are they all going to be fine too?

    What about the mastadons, mammoths, dire wolves, giant sloths, glyptodonts, woolly rhinoceroses, smilodons and other great mammals that abounded across the northern hemisphere during the Pleistocene? Are they going to be alright?

    You can bet that when Clovis man arrived in North America 12,000 or so ago and began to annihilate much of the megafauna, it was inconceivable that they would ultimately end up killing over 70% of the species there over the following 20 centuries. When Europeans arrived around 5 centuries ago I am sure that the early colonists would have scoffed at the idea that their children and their children etc. would rapidly wipe out the Passenger Pigeon, which numbered in the tens of billions, in just 100-200 years.

    What I am saying RickA is that your comments mean diddly squat. You don’t have a clue what you are writing about. If, as is very likely to happen, warming continues unabated, and the Arctic becomes seasonally ice-free within a few decades, then polar bears will most certainty not be alright. They will be gone. Ditto for corals. Indeed, climate warming is already hammering biodiversity across a wide array of taxa. You are a clueless right wing dolt who can’t tell a mole cricket from a giraffe. Consequently, your views are junk.

    Stick to law. Science is clearly something at which you stink.

    1. Stick to law. Science is clearly something at which you stink.

      Given his lack of ability in so many areas, it’s doubtful there is a meaningful distinction between his performance in the two you mention: there’s probably an equally low standard for them.

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