This passage appeared in an NYT piece from today analyzing the political costs/gains of health care reform:
Republican leaders dismissed any suggestion that the bill would hurt the party over the long term.
â€œSomeone at Harvard or in San Francisco might think that, but not the rest of the country,â€ said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee.
Let’s think about Alexander’s words for a second. Harvard happens to be a haven for a large chunk of the most intelligent people in the world. San Francisco, population-wise, is one of the most, per capita, educated cities in America. So what Alexander is saying, more or less, is that while the smartest among us think reform is good, he (and the GOP) can still count on the dolts to hate.
It’s pretty remarkable, pretty telling … and pretty true. I’m skeptical how many GOP lawmakers are actual morons (My guess is not many), as opposed to being smart people who simply know how to manipulate a constituency. If you’re a Republican, and you know the empty-brained will follow everything you say (as long as the words “Jesus,” “Tax cuts for everyone” or “liberal elite” are attached), you keep on riding the same train. Over and over and over again. Hell, how else to explain Newt Gingrichâ€”a legitimately bright personâ€”uttering this dandy: “[If they pass health care reform, The Democrats] will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years with the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s.”
PS: It would give me great pleasure to hop in a time machine, emerge in 2040 and know that one of the girls above wound up marrying an African-American lesbian and moving to San Francisco to sell hemp-inspired jewelry.