Friday, January 29, 2016

Ben Carson Wins Stupidest Comment Re 7th GOP Debate

No sooner does man discover intelligence than he tries to involve it in his own stupidity ~ Jacques Cousteau (6/11/1910 to 6/25/1997) a French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water.

Note: This commentary concerns the 7th Republican Party presidential debate, which was held on 1/28/2016 in the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines IA. This would be the debate that Donald Trump refused to attend because it was hosted by Fox Nooz and Megyn Kelly returned as one of the 3 moderators

Stupid comments during a GOP debate? Obviously there have been MANY (and there will be many more). But I'm speaking about extraordinarily stupid and not the normal stupidity intelligent people have come to expect from Republicans. Stupidity such as Cruz stating that Obama has "degraded" the military (when, according to the Mises Institute, a Libertarian source, the military has not withered away under Obama). Or even stupidity such Marco Rubio claiming that President Obama and Hillary Clinton wanting to let Syrian refugees into the US without vetting them.

But in regards to the truly stupid? People insist that Ben Carson is smart because he's a retired neurosurgeon, but I wonder if he's an idiot savant. During the 3rd GOP presidential debate, he made it clear that he did not understand what GDP means (DSB #27). And, as we all know, there have been many more stupid remarks from Carson.

GQ (AKA Gentlemen's Quarterly) with their article titled "What If Sarah Palin Were a Brain Surgeon?", is on the right track here, I think. When I heard this comment from Carson I had to rewind my DVR because I thought I must have misheard him.

Chris Wallace: Dr. Carson, I'd like to ask you about that issue (question just asked of Ted Cruz). Where are you on the mandatory ethanol standard? Should government be in the business of picking winners and losers, or should it be left to the marketplace?

Ben Carson: I'm very much against the government being involved in every aspect of our lives. ... we are blessed with tremendous energy in this nation. We need to be talking about new sources of energy. 70 percent of our population lives bicoastally. What about hydroelectric power? We can develop that...

Bicoastal means "occurring or existing on two coasts, or on both the east and west coasts of the US"... so Carson is talking about people who own more than one home and fly back and forth between them? Although it's more likely he meant to say "by the coast"... but this is also wrong. Not quite as absurd as the first interpretation, but still wrong. (the closed captioning, btw, read "bicoastally" and not "by the coast" or "by coast").

According to a 9/9/2015 Washington Post article "nearly 40 percent of Americans live near the coast". LiveScience says "half of US population lives in coastal areas". Both stats (obviously) fall far short of the 70 percent claim made by Carson. If that is what he meant. Perhaps he really does think that 70 percent of Americans own multiple homes (with at least one home located on each coast)?

I'm not the only one who heard this idiocy, btw. As I always do before authoring a commentary, I first check if anyone thought of it first. Turns out someone did. If you're saying "no, there is no way he could have said that"... check out Josh Barro on Scoopnest. WTF is Scoopnest? Damned if I know. Looks like some kind of Twitter competitor. Point is, I'm not the only one who heard this absurd claim from Carson.

Runner up for stupidest comment of the night goes to Jeb Bush for a "factoid" included in his response to a question by Bret Baier. (This comment, btw, took place earlier in the debate than the Carson one).

Bret Baier: It's hard for anyone with your pedigree to avoid being called establishment. Isn't that part of the problem in this race, that 3 others on this stage are splitting the mainstream Republican vote? And thereby possibly handing this nomination over to an anti-establishment candidate?

Jeb!: ... Look, I'm establishment because my dad, the greatest man alive, was president of the United States, and my brother, who I adore as well, is a fantastic brother, was president. Fine, I'll take it. And I guess I'm part of the establishment because Barbara Bush is my mom. I'll take that too.

Along these same lines, Randal Paul said that his dad was "the most honest man in politics that we've seen in a generation" (he said this after the claim from Jeb concerning his dad). OK, so I don't think I believe Ronald Paul is quite that honest, but (regarding to this obvious "dad off" between Jeb and Randal)... doesn't being the greatest man alive trump (no pun intended) being the most honest (even if it's "in a generation")? Although Randal only claimed that his daddy Ronald is the most honest man IN POLITICS. Some people (I think) would say that's a low bar.

I wasn't the only person who heard (and decided to comment on) Jeb's assertion that his father is "the greatest man alive". Although, this apparently is not the fist time he's made this claim. Headline Politics notes that "Jeb was speaking at the Detroit Economic Club" when he replied (in response to a question implying his last name was a negative) that "George W. Bush has been a great president and that... George H.W. Bush is the greatest man alive".

Right. I think we all would acknowledge (even many Republicans) that the last name "bush" is a negative. BTW, I'd be willing to overlook Carson's statement as him misspeaking. President Obama misspoke when he stated that he had visited 57 states on the campaign trail (Beaverton OR 5/9/2008) and Republicans have been citing his "stupidity" on that issue for his entire presidency.

Snopes: The actual intent behind Senator Obama's misstatement is easy to discern... He was trying to express the thought that in all the time he had spent on the campaign trail so far in 2007-08, he had visited all (48) of the states in the continental U.S. save for one (i.e., "one left to go", excluding Alaska and Hawaii), but in his weariness he slipped up and started off with "fifty" instead of "forty". (Note the long pause in the video clip between the words "fifty" and "seven".)

But is there a logical explanation for Carson's claim that "70 percent of our population lives bicoastally"? He probably was referring to how many people live near one of our two coasts, but, as I already pointed out, 70 percent is way off. I don't expect any clarification on this statement, however. Remember that that there hasn't been any explanation regarding his historically inaccurate (and totally absurd) claim that the biblical Joseph built the pyramids to store grain (which is, apparently, his "personal theory"). Fact is, he stands by it.

And, what about his assertion that homosexuality is a choice "because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight - and when they come out, they're gay"? Or how about the doozie about ObamaCare being worse than slavery? I mean, even if you're not a fan of the ACA, you've got to admit that it falls far short of being that bad (Source: Ben Carson is plain nuts: The 7 most stupefying statements by the GOP's favorite neurosurgeon).

But all this stupidity is not surprising if you believe (as I do) that Conservatism is a mental illness. And there is also the fact that "having a low IQ score makes you more likely to vote conservative" (5 Scientific Studies That Prove Republicans Are Plain Stupid).

I do not, of course, believe ALL Republicans are stupid. Some who vote Republican do so because they're rich and don't want to pay higher taxes. And Republican politicians, while they may not be stupid themselves, have GOT to realize that they're pandering to low-intelligence voters. This, I am convinced, is the likely explanation for Donald Trump (who, as many on the Conservative side have pointed out, has tended more toward the Democratic side in the past).

But Carson? Sure, he might be "smart" as far as neurosurgery goes. But he's very clearly not that smart in other areas. Or qualified to be president. Not that there is any chance of him ending up in the White House (given the fact that that article I referenced earlier concerning the scientific studies that link low IQ and Conservatism also link low IQ and racism).

SWTD #319

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