When Smart People Say and Do Dumb Things

When Smart People Say and Do Dumb Things

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum


Minneapolis, MN

#1 Jan 5, 2013
One of the big mistakes we all make, when judging the actions of others, is assuming that just because someone is generally considered to be intelligent means that this person is consistently intelligent at all times and in all matters. I do it, you do it, we all do it. Conversely, there is often the assumption that people who are often considered to be deluded — perhaps because they don’t worship the god or gods that others worship, or perhaps because they worship gods at all — are considered to be unable to function at all in society, when they very obviously can.

Here is one recent example showing how a bunch of people who were smart enough to get themselves political patrons capable of paying for their election campaigns weren’t very smart when it came to trying to plot against John Boehner:

On Wednesday night, an amused Republican staffer called me to report that Representatives Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar, Raul Labrador, and Steve Southerland were gathered at Bullfeathers, a Capitol Hill bar, openly plotting their coup. Not exactly the Roman Senate scheming to dispatch Caesar.


Any good coup depends on stealth. But on Thursday, an enterprising Politico photographer snapped Representative Tim Huelskamp sitting in open session reading from his iPad—not making this up—the entire roster of the plot against Boehner. Just so there was no mistaking that he was up to no good, the document was entitled “YOU WOULD BE FIRED IF THIS GOES OUT.” Not making that up either.Worse still, half the roster on Huelskamp’s iPad lost their nerve and bailed out. In the end, only nine Republicans broke ranks. Three cast votes for Cantor (who was visibly disgusted), two for recently ousted Representative Allen West, and one for a former U.S. comptroller general. Several of the plotters even voted for each other. Boehner was reelected Speaker.

Teabaggers: Great at winning primaries and sometimes even general elections, not so great at strategic thinking when it comes to certain situations.

The inability to think strategically on a consistent basis is not limited to Tea Party types. Many times it’s assumed that people are evilly plotting a particular end when they are just flailing about cluelessly, indulging in wishful thinking, or doing a host of other things without evil intent.

President Obama’s dealing away an end to the debt limit hostage scenario is a good example. Many people think he did it on purpose just so he could use the hostage crisis as an excuse to do what he’s wanted to do all along, and that’s to cut social spending, especially on programs like Social Security and Medicare, so he can please guys like Peter Peterson, Bob Rubin and Tim Geithner. While the circumstantial evidence for this is present, there is also another explanation — that he honestly thinks that this time around, the business community will pressure Republicans to cave on the debt ceiling and release all of their hostages unharmed:

Read more at http://firedoglake.com/2013/01/05/come-saturd...

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