Thursday, July 14, 2005



My old friend Danny seemed offended that I singled out Mississippi and Alabama as locales with 2-digit IQed Republicans. He seemed mildly perturbed that I didn't acknowledge Eudora Welty, William Faulkner or Ed Hood, inventor of the Paley Brothers. I can see where someone would have detected an elitist streak in what I said. But I did aim my scorn very specifically to one subset of residents of Mississippi and Alabama, not towards EVERYONE in either state. In answering Danny, I mentioned a chart I remember from several years ago correlating average state IQ scores with average state income (and then pointing out to whom the electoral votes in 2000 were awarded). Mississippi ranked dead last in terms of both IQ (85) and annual income ($14,088); their enthusiasm for Bush is well known. Alabama, another big Bush state, fares somewhat better in the other two categories, boasting an average IQ of 90 (ranking 41th among the 50 states, barely bested by Texas) and an average income of $16,220, the 10th lowest among the states. Overall, the chart makes a point that the lower the average IQ, the lower the average income and the lower the average IQ and income the stronger the tendency to vote for George Bush. No earthshaking revelation there.

BUT, having been brought up in one of the bluest areas in the country, Brooklyn, NY, I know well that there are people with low intelligence and with politically neanderthal instincts everywhere, not just in the home state of William Faulkner and Eudora Welty. New York, in fact is the 4th highest ranking state when it comes to average IQ (109) and the 4th highest ranking in income ($23,534) and a state that voted very decisively against Bush. Yet, when the Rove-orchestrated GOP barrage started yesterday one of the biggest, stupidest mouths to flap belonged to a right-wing, extremely bigoted, Long Island hack-pol named Peter King. King, who has become something of a fixture on Fox, represents a relatively affluent, well-educated suburban district. Though demonstrably ignorant and arguably dishonest and venal, King isn't retarded. But you wouldn't have known that had you watched him holding forth on MSNBC's most extreme rightist tv show yesterday, "Scarborough Country." Coming to the defense of arch-traitor and lowlife scumbag Karl Rove, the New York congressman bleated: "And I think people like Tim Russert and the others, who gave this guy [Joe Wilson] such a free ride and all the media, they're the ones to be shot, not Karl Rove." Yep, Danny, that came from a Congressman from New York State, from a part of New York State pretty close to NYC and not from a representative of the good people of Mississippi or Alabama.


At 6:59 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Paul Krugman's straight-forward column in today's NEW YORK TIMES puts into context how a cockaroach like Peter King exists. Let's hope people like Krugman keep the lights on the cockaroaches-- and let's DO something about them in '06.


Paul Krugman, The New York Times, July 15, 2005

John Gibson of Fox News says that Karl Rove should be given a medal. I agree: Mr. Rove should receive a medal from the American Political Science Association for his pioneering discoveries about modern American politics. The medal can, if necessary, be delivered to his prison cell.

What Mr. Rove understood, long before the rest of us, is that we're not living in the America of the past, where even partisans sometimes changed their views when faced with the facts. Instead, we're living in a country in which there is no longer such a thing as nonpolitical truth. In particular, there are now few, if any, limits to what conservative politicians can get away with: the faithful will follow the twists and turns of the party line with a loyalty that would have pleased the Comintern.

I first realized that we were living in Karl Rove's America during the 2000 presidential campaign, when George W. Bush began saying things about Social Security privatization and tax cuts that were simply false. At first, I thought the Bush campaign was making a big mistake - that these blatant falsehoods would be condemned by prominent Republican politicians and Republican economists, especially those who had spent years building reputations as advocates of fiscal responsibility. In fact, with hardly any exceptions they lined up to praise Mr. Bush's proposals.

But the real demonstration that Mr. Rove understands American politics better than any pundit came after 9/11.

Every time I read a lament for the post-9/11 era of national unity, I wonder what people are talking about. On the issues I was watching, the Republicans' exploitation of the atrocity began while ground zero was still smoldering.

Mr. Rove has been much criticized for saying that liberals responded to the attack by wanting to offer the terrorists therapy - but what he said about conservatives, that they "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war," is equally false. What many of them actually saw was a domestic political opportunity - and none more so than Mr. Rove.

A less insightful political strategist might have hesitated right after 9/11 before using it to cast the Democrats as weak on national security. After all, there were no facts to support that accusation.

But Mr. Rove understood that the facts were irrelevant. For one thing, he knew he could count on the administration's supporters to obediently accept a changing story line. Read the before-and-after columns by pro-administration pundits about Iraq: before the war they castigated the C.I.A. for understating the threat posed by Saddam's W.M.D.; after the war they castigated the C.I.A. for exaggerating the very same threat.

Mr. Rove also understands, better than anyone else in American politics, the power of smear tactics. Attacks on someone who contradicts the official line don't have to be true, or even plausible, to undermine that person's effectiveness. All they have to do is get a lot of media play, and they'll create the sense that there must be something wrong with the guy.

And now we know just how far he was willing to go with these smear tactics: as part of the effort to discredit Joseph Wilson IV, Mr. Rove leaked the fact that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the C.I.A. I don't know whether Mr. Rove can be convicted of a crime, but there's no question that he damaged national security for partisan advantage. If a Democrat had done that, Republicans would call it treason.

But what we're getting, instead, is yet another impressive demonstration that these days, truth is political. One after another, prominent Republicans and conservative pundits have declared their allegiance to the party line. They haven't just gone along with the diversionary tactics, like the irrelevant questions about whether Mr. Rove used Valerie Wilson's name in identifying her (Robert Novak later identified her by her maiden name, Valerie Plame), or the false, easily refuted claim that Mr. Wilson lied about who sent him to Niger. They're now a chorus, praising Mr. Rove as a patriotic whistle-blower.

Ultimately, this isn't just about Mr. Rove. It's also about Mr. Bush, who has always known that his trusted political adviser - a disciple of the late Lee Atwater, whose smear tactics helped President Bush's father win the 1988 election - is a thug, and obviously made no attempt to find out if he was the leaker.

Most of all, it's about what has happened to America. How did our political system get to this point?

At 9:53 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Molly Ivans' column today has an interesting perspective on the vicious and determined GOP attack on the people calling for Rove's ouster. Meanwhile, Congressman King was lying his ass off on CNN this morning, attacking Ambassador Wilson and trying to make him the focus of attention instead of Rove's Treason. I hope the Democrats have a good candidate to run against King on Long Island next year!

--Truth flies out the window as GOP springs to the defense of Karl Rove

Molly Ivins, Creators Syndicate, July 15, 2005

AUSTIN, Texas -- As the judge in the Judith Miller-Matt Cooper case said, it just gets "curiouser and curiouser."

For starters, Judy Miller of The New York Times, who never wrote a word about Valerie Plame, is in prison, while Robert Novak, who broke the story and printed the name, may be weekending at his posh house on Fenwick Island, Del.

Meanwhile, a truly phenomenal case study in the art of spin has been launched on behalf of Karl Rove, aka Bush's brain, now that we know he was Cooper's source on the Plame affair. We have long known that Rove made the repulsive statement to a reporter that Plame, a former CIA undercover operative, was "fair game." Rove was out to smear her husband, Joseph Wilson, who told the truth about Bush's phony claim that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium in Niger. What. A. Mess.

According to The Washington Post: "Republicans mounted an aggressive and coordinated defense of Karl Rove Tuesday, contending that the White House's top political adviser did nothing improper or illegal when he discussed a covert CIA official with a reporter. ... The emerging GOP strategy -- devised by (Ken) Mehlman (chair of the Republican National Committee) and other Rove loyalists outside the White House -- is to try to undermine those Democrats calling for Rove's ouster, play down Rove's role and wait for President Bush's forthcoming Supreme Court selection to drown out the controversy, according to several high-level Republicans."

Actually, Rove and the White House got into trouble in the first place by trying to discredit a critic of the administration. They might want to rethink this strategy. For one thing, the spin is so factually challenged it makes your head hurt. For example, Wednesday's Wall Street Journal editorial on the subject consists of one stunning misstatement after another. And these are the people who have been given their own program on PBS?

A consistent theme of the spin is that "no crime was committed," that outing Plame as a CIA agent meant nothing since she was then working as an analyst in Langley.

Unfortunately, Plame spent years overseas for the CIA working for a civilian firm without benefit of a diplomatic passport, meaning that she was especially vulnerable, could have been executed if caught and showed special courage. True, she was not working undercover when Novak named her in his column. However, as many CIA officers have pointed out, the outing left her former company and colleagues vulnerable. That this was done for petty political revenge is unforgivable. It is a result of being so focused on your political opponents that you take them more seriously than you do the country's real enemies.

Frankly, it reeks of Rove -- and it is what's wrong with much of politics today. If the prosecutor cannot prove a crime, Rove should still be fired, not just because Bush said he would fire anyone involved in the leak, but also because what Rove did is ethically disgusting.

At 11:44 AM, Blogger J said...

King will be dfeated this year.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Igor Gembitsky said...

Where are you getting your numbers from for average incomes? I've been trying to find state by state average incomes, but I always come up with median incomes ( ), which are about double what numbers you're showing on this post.
Let me know.


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