16 November 2008

Ted Nugent Calls People Stupid, Fans of Irony Rejoice

So, Uncle Ted is at it again. He writes a weekly article in the Waco-Tribune Herald, the newspaper of my hometown in Texas. The man is usually off--I mean waaaaaay off--but that's okay because it says right there in the title that he's a Texas Wildman (that bastard ain't from Texas, by the way: he's from Michigan). I've written a letter to the editor responding to him once before, but I know few are actually paying attention. I have an old professor at the junior college there who lamented that she's going to stop writing opinion pieces for the paper because no one want to converse and because people like Nugent are bringing down the level of discourse. Maybe Uncle--I mean Professor--Ted heard her:
Ted Nugent: Obama's victory is sad vote for state of dependency
Sunday, November 16, 2008

Before the election, Howard Stern's Sirius radio show conducted interviews in Harlem, N.Y., in which the interviewer, not identified with the show, recited John McCain's economic proposals but portrayed them as Barack Obama's.

Not knowing whose ideas they actually were, these people raved and gave them their full support.

The election of Obama is an example of Americans voting against their own self interest. It's also further evidence of the dumbing down of America.

Trying to explain how our economy works and why lowering taxes is always better for them and America than imposing higher taxes is an economic bridge too far for many of the Obama sheep.

Unfortunately there is no See Spot and the Economy Run book. Many Americans can't balance a check book or spell e-c-o-n-o-m-i-c-s, but they sure know who will give them stuff. The lie is impossible.

Expecting them to have analyzed the tax positions of Obama and McCain and arrived at a decision that truly benefits them and America is wishful thinking.

The reason is that they know zilch about how the economy operates and—worse—they don't care. Obama will take care of us.

They are dunces, products of a failed public education system. That is, if they even bothered to complete high school. They don't read newspapers. Even if they did, I've got $20 that says they couldn't comprehend what they read.

We'll all pay

When President Obama imposes his wrong-headed, punitive tax structure, such stupidity is going to come back to thump these supporters upside their vacuous heads.

Capitalism works in strange and wondrous ways, and has a unique way of severely punishing fools.

As for this economy: These dunderheads have no clue how the economic mess was largely caused by Democrats, including Obama.

But Obama, trusting in the gullibility of the masses, drummed into Americans minds that the economic mess was caused by President Bush and the Republicans.

He promised to 95 percent of Americans a tax cut when 40 percent of Americans don't pay any federal income taxes.

McCain had no marketable answer to Obama's charge because McCain knew that attempting to explain the economy to dumb people is impossible in 30-second commercials.

Clowns like the idea of believing they are getting something for nothing. What they receive, however, is always scraps from the economic table. Stupidity sentences these people to lives of poverty and despair.

The Obama tax plan punishes the producers—the people who employ the majority of Americans. In Joe the Plumber terms, economic excrement will quickly flow downhill and punish the employees—I mean former employees.

Here's a slogan: The result of spreading the wealth around is spreading unemployment around.

The McCain economic plan was based on the type of tax cuts which spur the economy forward, create jobs and raise the standard of living for everyone.

It is pretty simple stuff except for the comfortably ignorant, the easily manipulated and the person who believes someone owes him or her something.

Ted Nugent is a Waco-based musician and television show host. Contact him directly at tednugent.com.

Prof. Ted's upping the level of discourse! Hooray! What's that? You say he obviously doesn't know what logical fallacies are? And he probably doesn't know what "discourse" means--not even the Foucault one, but just regular discourse? Oh, damn.

So I fired off another letter to the editor, and since it will likely remain unpublished, I wanted to include it here:

I'd like to respond to Professor Ted's comments on the presidential election. Before he derides Obama supporters for being ignorant high-school drop-outs voting against their self interest, he should take a closer look at his own "research."

1) Prof. Ted says he's analyzed both candidate's tax platforms, but he repeats the Republican's distortion that 40% of Americans don't pay income tax. (Even the Tax Foundation, which hates corporate taxation shows whay he makes no sense: Supposedly liberal states like Oregon (23rd), New York (21st), Washington (43rd), Massachusettes (49th), Connecticut (48th), and California (20th) tend to have much fewer workers who do not pay income tax than staunchly conservative states like Mississippi (1st), Louisiana (2nd), Texas (6th), Arkansas (3rd), Alabama (5th), Oklahoma (8th), and South Carolina (9th).) It must be said that is technically correct that a good portion don't pay income tax, but Prof. Ted didn't actually research it. His use of the number 40% instead of the correct 38% shows that he got it from the McCain campaign and CNN's Lou Dobbs--both of whom forget to explain that over half of those people are under the $21,000-per-year poverty line. Further, all (legal) American workers pay Federal taxes: Social Security, Medicare, and payroll. Maybe we're too dumb to have understood that in a sound-byte. But Prof. Ted doesn't reflect well on his own "analysis" when he repeats a party line he hasn't researched.

2) Most striking, however, is actually citing Howard Stern's radio show. Using Stern's profanity-laced show as a way to mock Harlem residents who he thinks vote against their own interests is troubling. It's about as valid as using Robin Williams' stand-up routines as a domestic policy platform. But, again, Prof. Ted's "research" is skewed because he ignores other facts that don't fit his worldview. Republican strategist Tucker Eskew hailed the late Lee Atwater was a master at getting conservatives to vote against their own interests out of irrational fear (evidenced in Bush's Willie Horton ad in 1988). Until late in life, Atwater thought this was a great Republican achievement; Eskew sounds as if he still does.

My point is that it's unfortunate he can't be as gracious in defeat as was McCain. But he attacked those who wanted to believe in our government again--maybe for the first time since Watergate. This goes far past ungracious behavior and shows a real lack of character. To do this while relying on his own flawed "analysis" shows either real ignorance or a real disregard for the truth.

But there's more I didn't want in the Waco paper:

1) Prof. Ted seems to being calling Harlem residents stupid, likely high-school-drop-outs, who may not be able to read the paper or can't understand what it is they read. That smacks of latent racism that may go unnoticed in a place like Waco--where latent racism isn't always the biggest problem.

2) Prof. Ted also thinks he should chair the Dept. of Economics at Baylor, apparently. But he's arguing for trickle-down economics, which is an idea that would make Karl Marx, Freiderich Engels, Walter Benjamin, and Louis Althusser roll in their graves--which seems to be the only real argument for it anymore. Again, Prof. Ted's just repeating party lines that he's heard but hasn't really analyzed or researched. For example, a strong counter-argument is found here, where the Talking Points Memo did actual, honest-to-God research on US Census Bureau numbers. A sample (though the whole thing is worth taking a look at):
Poverty rates were 1.2% higher in 2007 than in 2000, up from 11.3% to 12.5%, an addition of 5.7 million to the poverty rolls. This is the worst cycle for poverty on record. The second worse was 1979-89, a decade also dominated by trickle-down economics.

What is trickle-down? It's the set of economic policies based on the notion that if you provide economic incentives to the wealthy by cutting their taxes (or, as the supply-siders put it, "letting us keep our money") while deregulating industry, you'll unleash a tsunami of economic activities that will enrich even the least advantaged among us.


It's largely a rationale for upward redistribution that's been kept alive by the vested interests who benefit from it. Reagan put this stuff on the map, but GW Bush brought it back with a vengeance, and McCain goes even further. He extends the supply-side Bush tax cuts, and lards on about $75 billion more in corporate tax cuts on top of that. (emphasis added)
I don't see a lot of added benefit for Waco if we give tax cuts to Nugent. Maybe the pawn and gun shops will do a bit better. But that's about it. So it seems to me that many, many of those voting for Obama did actually vote in their own interests. It's just that their interests aren't the same as Prof. Ted's--something that he can't seem to comprehend.

It's just a damn shame that this guy gets a weekly column when there are other, wiser voices that could get that space. It's the height of irony that a person who is as divisive, outspoken, and uninformed as Prof. Ted gets a weekly column and uses it to call other people divisive, stupid, and uninformed. The Trib needs to decide what sort of paper it wants to be. If it would like to be a money-maker, then get cracking on the latest Michael Jackson story. If it would like to be a space for measured news and informed discussion, get someone else in that space fast. There are other voices--conservative, liberal, and moderate--who are more worthy of attention. Keeping him is like keeping Michael Moore or Chuck Norris on CNN's political team; the point is supposed to be substance, not bluster.

UPDATE (11.19.08): Well, I guess I was wrong. The Trib did actually print a version of this letter.

No comments: