Too Dumb to Fail by Matt K. Lewis

book jacket with elephant sitting on a stool with pointed dummy hatToo Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How it can Reclaim its Conservative Roots) (2016) is of course a play on the book and slogan, Too Big to Jail. Though he explains why he deliberately parodied that title, it didn’t really quite make sense to me. I think he was more trading on the Jail slogan and twisted things to try to pretend it makes sense. Kind of like the entire conservative point of view! BTW, it is a fast read since it is so lacking in substance.

Fun to read though, actually, in part because it actually does as he says: he tries to be objective. Alas trying is not the same as doing, as Yoda has explained to us before. However. in fact, he actually makes some good points.

I thought his concern about the party running completely unqualified candidates was very accurate. His criticism of a number of aspects of the party are reasonable. But he still misrepresents reality as I know it. And he can’t resist unnecessary snipes, in particular referring to Jimmy Carter as a “peanut farmer” as if that was something disgraceful and shameful [in conservative minds] akin to an abortionist or homosexual.

However, he does not explain why the entire conservative philosophy is based on hating people, or more accurately, the belief that the workers = “takers” [a phrase even the incredibly hateful Paul Ryan walked back recently] and the “free” market should be completely unregulated; without regulations we would have no clean water, no clean air, no minimum wages, no limited hours or overtime and double-time, lots more overt quid pro quo sexual harassment and discrimination, no weekends. Elderly and disabled people would be left to die and live in poverty (oh wait, that is still true!). After all, someone needs to clean their toilets at home and at their headquarters with their private bathrooms off their corner offices in the penthouses / skyscrapers some of which have their names on them in YUUUGE letters.

Reagan is still considered a saint by the author but I was amused to see him cut Ann Coulter, very accurately, objectively, and with due cause. He glows in fond remembrance of “The Speech” Reagan gave for Goldwater at the 1964 convention — omitting any criticism of either, but especially the fact that GOLDWATER WAS A RACIST who ran on being in favor of segregation. He also FAILS to mention that HILLARY CLINTON was a campaign worker for Goldwater! [yeah yeah I know, people can grow, give me a break and look realistically at HRC please].

I understand why rich people like the Republican party, but do not understand why anyone earning less than $250,000 a year is Republican, especially anyone other than a white male bankster.

Why would anyone NOT want single payer healthcare so ACTUAL babies didn’t die and people were not bankrupted by medical expenses. Where people can be fired from jobs “at will” by business with the pretense that it is fair because because the employees can similarly leave “at will” — despite the fact that they have family, a mortgage, a car payment, and maybe medical insurance stupidly attached to employment.

Then there is high unemployment, and they may not be able to find another job in a small town with one major factory that closes and ships all the jobs to China. Sure, there is a token “safety net” of unemployment insurance, but it comes with so many restrictions, rules, false assumptions, and worst of all it REQUIRES AN ACT OF CONGRESS to approve constantly and has a cap of two years. Capricious and arbitrary limitation I might add. Plus you have to be willing and ABLE to work, so you better hope you don’t break a leg looking for work or be in a car accident because then you DO NOT qualify for unemployment and have NOTHING for income. How can ANYONE be so cruel?

Oh wait, rich people who have never had to live paycheck to paycheck but are trust fund babies or suck off the teat of taxpayers with 30 years in government as elected representatives who actually represent themselves and their interests which requires them doing the bidding of corporations or special interest groups who pay to play by bribing them via so-called campaign contributions are so self-righteous that they perceive social justice as a negative. It is IMMORAL that people might choose not to work as a wage slave if they had any alternative! Like the asshole that said, hey, you don’t feed a stray dog or they’ll become dependent on you. (An actual human being — which excludes corporations and conservatives — would act to help the stray dog. Like maybe find it a HOME!

They criticize people who don’t have savings for retirement other than the Social Security WORKERS paid for and politicians who have rarely held a hourly wage job, proceed to move the goal posts as if someone 70 years old has no physical consequences of being older after decades of actual labor (an experience the likes of Romney don’t have because he ruined other peoples lives and businesses and now sits back and lives of the dividends of the millions he made. His kids are all trust fund babies who will never have to do real work or even actually WORRY about food on the table and a roof overhead. (Unlike we 47%)

I don’t understand why someone would not want something like postal banking, universal basic income, taxpayer funds going to social good and social justice rather than private profit for the ultra rich billionaires that they will never be. The contempt for workers who actually work, rather than those who live off casino capitalism investments, because they have so much money to gamble with and no need to worry about making mortgage payments on one or two of their houses or jets, is shameful.

I shake my head in amazement to see willfully ignorant conservatives holding up signs reading “keep you hands off my Medicare” while simultaneously vigorously and vehemently screaming NO SINGLE PAYER health coverage! Who in their right mind thinks healthcare should be a profit based business? Oh, wait, privatization is the answer to EVERYTHING with Republicans. That’s why they have been trying to get their grubby little hands on Social Security so that have that jackpot to gamble away — or just plain steal like W did for Republican agenda items. Considering that the banksters insanely leveraged their investors funds at a 30 to 1 ratio (meaning for every $1 they had, they invented “instruments” they sold at 30 times more money than they actually had in the bank. Wow. And they got their gamble covered while millions of actual workers lost what little investments they had and their homes and more. I would really enjoy living at 30 times my means if I wouldn’t have to go to jail or suffer any consequences. In fact, I would be bailed out and just keep on doing more of the same if I behaved as the financial crooks have done.

Ditto when they [not rich white folks, especially men]  complain that they DON’T want “THEIR” taxpayer dollars going to – i.e. abortion; I guess they missed the civics class that explained they don’t get a line item veto and neither does anyone else. Except, oh wait, THEY DO thanks to my favorite living POS Hatch and his namesake regulation. Which subsequently also inspired the Helms one for foreign aid. Damn, I momentarily forgot about Clarence Thomas. Ranking them to assess #1 now that Scalia is dead is going to be hard. Well, unless the 8-8 court ends up being responsible to justice instead of the Pope (who is better than many but not good enough).

Reagan gets so many passes in this bromance that it is hard to take any conclusions too seriously. Iran-Contra? Tax breaks? Union busting? Shill versus intellectual! He mentions that Reagan was widely read and knowledgeable but that was not what I understood to be true. I am pretty sure he bragged about never reading any books or maybe it was specifically library books. Since he was rich from his GE front man gig, I suppose he could have bought things quite easily without having to choose between it and food or insurance co-pays. All I know is that for every year of his presidency he ZEROED OUT LIBRARY-RELATED BUDGETS at the federal level. Not sure if he cut Library of Congress or not, but since they get all books by law, at least the collection didn’t suffer, just the staffing I’m sure. Thus it was a bitter irony to me when they built a presidential library for him, though I guess they couldn’t really call it the Church of St. Ronnie.

Oh, and the removal of the FCC equal time rule by Reagan has seriously damaged democracy. Decades of rule by the religious zealot conservatives in the Supreme Court are the perfect picture of judicial activism as they twisted themselves into knots to find in favor of their predigested beliefs. This to the point that defies common sense: Speech is money, corporations are people, 2nd Amendment requires individuals be allowed to have assault weapons and unlimited ammo including I think armor piercing rounds. Police have been militarized and are shooting people down in the street when they are running away in fear, no doubt, of being shot or killed in jail, and not without cause!

OMG, it just occurred to me: Reagan was responsible for Scalia!!!! May he rot in hell. Actually, this book probably mentioned that as one of Reagan’s glorious achievements. I took it back to the library so I can’t double check. Oh, I think I’m going to have to go vomit now.

And for a final tidbit, I will also note the author rightly (pun intended) makes fun of Huckabee’s Guns, God, Grits and Gravy,  but really doesn’t touch on why that is seriously distorting the political discourse and in opposition to our SECULAR founding (denied constantly despite the FACTS). Like climate change, their beliefs do not change the facts. I think it is hilarious that in his title God doesn’t come first GUNS do. And I’ve had grits and I don’t think they’re worth fighting for!

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