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Joe Klein Lectures Dumb Americans

John on January 26, 2010 at 10:23 am

Joe is ostensibly exercised about poll results on the President’s stimulus package:

[N]early three out of four Americans think the money has been wasted. On second thought, they may be right: it’s been wasted on them. Indeed, the largest single item in the package–$288 billion–is tax relief for 95% of the American public. This money is that magical $60 to $80 per month you’ve been finding in your paycheck since last spring. Not a life changing amount, but helpful in paying the bills.

That’s great, Joe. Maybe three out of four Americans are smart enough to realize that the “magical” money isn’t really magic. It’s all being borrowed from China and will have to be repaid with interest. Maybe 3/4 of Americans would rather not run up the national credit card right now for the sake of $60 a month.

The next highest amount was $275 billion in grants and loans to states. This is why your child’s teacher wasn’t laid off…and why the fire station has remained open, and why you’re not paying even higher state and local taxes to close the local budget hole.

Brilliant, Joe. But maybe the state budget holes have less to do with economic malaise and more to do with out of control state spending on things like welfare for people who don’t work.

Here’s a crazy thought…Maybe it would be better to lay off a few teachers in the short term and force the unions to scale back their expectations to something more in line with fiscal reality. Maybe 3/4 of Americans don’t think state budget holes should be filled with Chinese cash that has to be repaid with interest.

Amazingly, Klein has a follow up the same day in which he writes:

Clearly, education reform is absolutely essential–and the Obama Administration has, quietly, ramped up efforts to make the system more creative and responsive (despite resistance from teachers’ unions and other educational reactionaries).

So in that first post he’s berating dumb Americans for not expressing appropriate gratitude for the stimulus which kept teachers in their jobs. Exactly two and a half hours later, he’s tacitly acknowledging that teachers unions have made the system of public schools into a lumbering, inflexible mess.

So, if we could somehow iron out the convoluted effluvia of Klein’s cortex, Joe is saying: Thanks to the borrowed stimulus money, all those inflexible bureaucrats are still there making sure 50% of students graduate. Be grateful, dumb Americans!

But the bottom line still stands: it is impossible to run a democracy without active, interested citizens. We have too few of those right now.

It’s also hard to have a democracy when the press is filled with screechy liberal harpies who consider their inability to control their own knee-jerk reactions a sign of their own brilliance.

The gap between the numbers who watch American Idol and those who watch the Lehrer News Hour will always be massive–but the number of people who don’t pay any attention to the news at all continues to grow….and all too many of those who do try to follow the news get their information from sources that feed their prejudices. I don’t think you can run a democracy or remain prosperous in a situation like that forever.

First of all, this is a completely different argument than the one in his original post. There’s a big difference between “Americans are too dumb to love the President’s stimulus package” and “Americans ought to pay more attention to the news.” Putting that aside…

The sheer hypocrisy is breathtaking. The man who made his fame and fortune writing a dramatized, semi-fictionalized account of President Clinton’s campaign (Primary Colors) is now wagging his finger about the dangers of infotainment. The man who writes an undisguisedly left wing blog for Time is warning us about news sources that “feed” a prejudice. What can one say to all of this other than “physician, heal thyself.” That and maybe “Is Joe Klein really this dumb?”

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Category: MSM & Bias |

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