Friday, July 15, 2016

Mike Pence. I remember that name....

UPDATE: others are also doing blasts from the past, turns out we should know him as Mike "Smoking Doesn't Kill" Pence.

Here it is, from my old blog back in 2009:


Mike Pence: skeptical of warming, but "reducing CO2 would be a good thing"


There's not much point in reducing CO2 unless anthropogenic climate change is real - it has no other negative impacts.*

Pence is the third-highest Republican Congressman in the House, considered a rising star, and appears to simply be stupid. His latest anti-climate change, plus refusal to acknowledge evolution is here. Yglesias has more on him not being very bright here, here(author of the Republican budget plan with no numbers attached to it), and especially here (couldn't understand the economic concept of moral hazard, even when explained to him).

While a party led by stupid people will be easier to beat, it can still cause a lot of damage in the American political system.

*I highly doubt this Republican party genius even knows about ocean acidification, and if he does, he just groups it into his climate change skepticism.


Interestingly, I just came across this statement from Yglesias yesterday saying he was too hard on Pence way back when, and that Congressmembers are institutionally driven to spend time on anything except learning the subject matter. I'm not buying it - they can and should know basics about the areas they specialize in, and if Pence can't understand a subject like moral hazard when explained to him, that's pretty bad.


magmacc said...

Brian's comment recalls a less known part of JS Mill's famous remark that included "I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative", made 150 years ago in the British House of Commons.

But there is a dense solid force in sheer stupidity—such, that a few able men, with that force pressing behind them, are assured of victory in many a struggle; and many a victory the Conservative party have owed to that force.

JohnMashey said...

And 8 years ago, I thought Sarah Palin would represent the absolute nadir of VP choices, and still competes,but indeed I think has lost the crown, and Pence can't even see Russia.

Given this choice, perhaps it's time to speculate on the cabinet, should Trump be elected.

David B. Benson said...

Ronald Ray-gun was kinda stupid and he won. :(

Russell Seitz said...

Is David Benson really :( about the Cold War's outcome, or is he glum about the stupid signature on the Montreal Protocol ?

Entropic man said...

On a parallel topic, I note thatNewt Gingrich wants to screen US Muslims and deport anyone whose view he finds too extreme.

IIRC, this violates the First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

Bryson said...

Russell, what makes you think RR contributed to the end of the cold war? Do you really think Jimmy Carter would have somehow saved the USSR from itself? (The USSR had been slowly falling apart for decades, as I can attest from a short visit in 1973, when bad roads, poor maintenance and poverty were all around.)

EliRabett said...

Now far be it from Eli to suggest that Rabett Run contributed to the end of the Cold War, however, Eli remembers a useful description

There is not doubt about who lost the cold war, the USSR was destroyed, the US went broke. The Germans and the Japanese were the clear winners.

It is unlikely that Carter would have stressed the Soviets with as massive an armament program as Reagan did.

Russell Seitz said...

" what makes you think RR contributed to the end of the cold war?"

Watching it happen.

In the days before social media, pushing a sick bear off a cliff tended to be rather hard work.

EliRabett said...

Chaining yourself to a sick bear (star wars) and pushing the bear off the cliff tends to have interesting complications.

Kevin O'Neill said...

There were many accurate predictions of the USSR's dissolution long before Reagan was even a Presidential contender. One of the more astute observers was Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Per Wikipaedia:
"U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in a series of articles and interviews from 1975 onward discussed the possibility, indeed likelihood, of the breakup of the Soviet Empire. But Moynihan also expressed the view that liberal democracy, too, faced an uncertain future. He argued in January 1975 that the Soviet Union was so weak economically, and so divided ethnically, that it could not long survive. However he said it "might have considerable time left before ethnicity breaks it up." By 1984 he argued "the Soviet idea is spent. History is moving away from it at astounding speed." Some of his essays were published as Secrecy: The American Experience in 1999."

It should also be remembered that most of the weapons systems deployed under Reagan were in the funding pipeline before he took office. Giving RR credit is pretty much a bridge too far for any evidence-based assessment. The inefficient and bureaucratic Keystone Cops routine that characterized the Soviet system was bound to destruct under its own weight.

One only needs to consider the Russian term 'khlopotat' to understand this. In fact, one wonders how it survived as long as it did. Kafkaesque comes to mind.

Russell Seitz said...

Eli needs a refresher in belle epoque Reagan foreign policy.

Star Wars didn't signify as much as NATO's intestinal fortitude The bear keeled over after getting hit upside the head with a bunch of Stingers and being booed out of its bloody borderlands.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Russell, U.S. funding for the Afghan Mujahideen began under Carter - not Reagan.

Russell Seitz said...

You have no idea, Kevin.The Soviet responded to Carter's Olympic boycott and low-tech chickenfeed aid to the Muj by doubling their forces on the ground

After the invasion , the Committee For A Free Afghanistan argued for deploying TV cameras to inflict candor on the invaders, and Stingers and Chinese AA guns to make civilians less easy prey for Soviet attack aircraft .

The president obligingly turned up the heat to the tune of $500,000 a year, and invited a bunch of Afghan kids being repaired by Mass General and the the Shriner's Burn Center to the White House to explain why he was doing more about the invasion than Carter's Olympic boycot and grain embargo.

Gorbachev's TV spokesman , Gennadi Gerasimov, folded and said the Soviets were going to leave when some of these kids confronted him on camera at Harvard , but the retreat reflected the loss of face of losing a whole lot of very expensive helicopters and the Heroes of Socialism who flew them.

Russell Seitz said...

Erratum: Regan raised the anti-Soviet military aid ante to $500,000,000 , not $500,000 a year, on top of billions in humanitarian aid to the millions of Afghan refugees who fled into Pakistan.