Monday, February 27, 2012

Quotes of the Day

"President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob."

"Not all folks are gifted the same way. Some people have incredible gifts with their hands. There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor... That’s why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his."

"I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely. The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country."

"We have some real problems at our college campuses with political correctness, with an ideology that is forced upon people who, you know, who may not agree with the politically correct left doctrine. And one of the things that I’ve spoken out on and will continue to speak out is to make sure that conservative and more mainstream, common-sense conservative and principles that have made this country great are reflected in our college courses and with college professors. And at many, many, and I would argue most institutions in this country, that simply isn’t the case."

"62% of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it."

All of this was said by Rick Santorum over a weekend which saw the Republican party's highest-profile lunatic zealot -- at least currently -- going off the rails in a way he never has before (and that's really saying something). Never mind the ongoing -- though possibly most blatant yet -- demonization of intellectualism. Never mind how irresponsible that kind of rhetoric is at a time when the rest of the world is, as the Washington Post points out, "churning out engineers and scientists at a faster and faster rate." Never mind that Santorum's statistics on faith and a college education were apparently pulled out of his ass, as was another reference he made this weekend to a speech on religion and politics, supposedly from JFK, that never actually happened. Also never mind the overall admission that once a person becomes intellectually enlightened, he or she generally abandons ridiculous religious superstition and ass-backward conservative politics -- that a keen and educated mind is naturally antithetical to a right-wing viewpoint.

No, what's important is what all of this kind of public saber-rattling adds up to and underscores. It expresses the sheer terror coming from the right these days that, as I've said quite a bit recently here and on the podcast, its current political model is dying. What we're witnessing are the ugly death spasms of the incarnation of conservatism that's existed for decades.

Lo and behold, Jonathan Chait spells it out almost exactly as Bob and I have -- albeit more eloquently -- in a new piece for New York Magazine:

"The Republican Party is in the grips of many fever dreams. But this is not one of them. To be sure, the apocalyptic ideological analysis—that 'freedom' is incompatible with Clinton-era tax rates and Massachusetts-style health care—is pure crazy. But the panicked strategic analysis, and the sense of urgency it gives rise to, is actually quite sound. The modern GOP—the party of Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes—is staring down its own demographic extinction. Right-wing warnings of impending tyranny express, in hyperbolic form, well-grounded dread: that conservative America will soon come to be dominated, in a semi-permanent fashion, by an ascendant Democratic coalition hostile to its outlook and interests. And this impending doom has colored the party’s frantic, fearful response to the Obama presidency...

Today, cosmopolitan liberals may still feel like an embattled sect—they certainly describe their political fights in those terms—but time has transformed their rump minority into a collective majority. As conservative strategists will tell you, there are now more of 'them' than 'us.' What’s more, the disparity will continue to grow indefinitely. Obama actually lost the over-45-year-old vote in 2008, gaining his entire victory margin from younger voters—more racially diverse, better educated, less religious, and more socially and economically liberal. Portents of this future were surely rendered all the more vivid by the startling reality that the man presiding over the new majority just happened to be, himself, young, urban, hip, and black. When jubilant supporters of Obama gathered in Grant Park on Election Night in 2008, Republicans saw a glimpse of their own political mortality. And a galvanizing picture of just what their new rulers would look like."

Santorum's insane rants are exactly what they sound like: a desperate call to arms for a fading way of thinking. In one weekend, he summed up perfectly what the Republicans have been about for years -- and displayed in unequivocal terms why their time is up.

Their audience is simply disappearing.


Anonymous said...

I know a lot of people who did and/or would have loved to have made their living with their hands (many much smarter then me). But 30 years of GOP fostered supply side economics sent their jobs overseas long ago and/or dropped their wages to below the poverty line.

Steven D Skelton said...

I can't say as I agree with the rest of it, but sending everyone to college is such a stupid fucking idea that I have a hard time believing the president actually supports it. Hopefully, it's just a talking point from the campaign office.

A liberal arts education has treated me well and I'm very happy to have it, and if all the world needed was articulate salespeople possessing a moderate grasp of a multitude of subjects....then I'd be all for sending everyone to college. But the creative, skilled trade and labor needs of 21st century economy are far more diverse than that.

Furthermore, not everyone is cut out for college. I know numerous good and decent people that are no more capable of advanced academics than Danny DeVito is cut for varsity basketball. University level academics would just be wasted on them. To send them to college would be as dumb as sending me to welding school.

Claude Weaver said...

Well Mr. Skelton, you're in luck, because once again Santorum chose to twist the president's words until they sounded like that.

Obama's response i up on Cesca's site, so i won't rehash it too much. Basically, the president feels that education is a big influence on economic performance, and that the opportunity for a higher education should not be a luxury.

It is all about giving folks the chance to go to higher learning if they want to, and not have them go through a bunch of ridiculous financial hoops to do so. And he specifically stated that he wasn't limiting this to four-year degrees, but to any post-secondary education.

Mart said...

Love an opposition party that tries to score points by proclaiming the Obama's are out of touch with real America for wanting kids to eat healthy, exercise and go to college.

Prophet of Ra said...

The decision, is yours.... is yours.... is yours....

TheReaperD said...

Would somebody release this C street asshole's gay sex tape already so we can be rid of him?

Villemar said...

Fuck that Medieval retard.

I want the steely boot of college education to be on everyone's face, forever! Oooga booga!

L. said...

I feel pretty cheated. My engineering degree didn't come with free indoctrination.

Though wait, is learning science and math anti-Christian indoctrination?

Anonymouse said...

Having more people go into college, at lower and lower standards, is not the answer to the growing divide between the US and other nations with the production of STEM grads.

Our funding of higher education is fucking retarded. Kids might be short sighted, but they aren't stupid. You tell every kid that no matter what they study, they will get around the same amount of financial aid, most will pick a much easier major than selecting a field that requires a lot of time and effort.

Granted this is anecdotal, but it continues to amaze me how my roommates can graduate early while doing at best, nine to ten hours a week of dedicated school work, whereas I am a year behind, doing easily 80-90 hours between design projects, lab reports, etc.

The actual number of students in higher education has grown significantly. But we are still producing needed degrees at the same rate as before. We can't force people into STEM majors and I sure as shit don't want to deal with the long term repercussions if we just dumb them down to the level of a liberal arts degree.

Personally I feel that there should be a weighting factor to financial aid. You want to go into a critical need degree path, more money to you. You want to learn ancient basket weaving, fine too but you aren't as valued to the long term economic future of this country, ergo you get less financial aid. Just as important, academic history and/or job experience should also influence availability of financial aid. I'm sorry but paying the same amount to a kid with a real chance of getting a degree as some schlub putting off growing up is insane. While college used to be about just self discovery and the joy of learning, the simple truth is that its too damn expensive now to not consider the long term repercussion of going. And getting MORE money into the system, with MORE students going deeper in debt for LESS return on the investment makes no sense.

I'm sorry...I am currently in a mathematical modeling class which is the first non-engineering class I have taken in over a year. A kid just asked what "discrete" means. This is supposed to be a 300 level course. I guess I am just moody.

Oh and Santorum is a cunt.