Joe Cannon:

Bringing The Crazy

Obama is, by any normal measure, vulnerable. He hasn’t been a good president, and I see no reason to believe that he would improve during a second term. If he manages to hold onto the gig, the deciding factor won’t be his accomplishments or promises, but the sheer scary surreality of the modern Republican party.

Case in point: This lady. I believe that her little scheme falls under the Constitutional definition of treason. They’ve been edging up to that line for years, and now they’ve crossed it.

Then there are the party platforms:

Predictably, Texas Republicans want a land without Social Security, without the United Nations, and without President Obama. But the 23-page platform has some truly random gems, like opposing the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was negotiated and adopted under the presidencies of those dangerous radicals, Reagan and Bush. They oppose implanting a radio chip in your body. (Radio chips bad; tortilla chips good.)

On the economy, the Texans proudly quote at great length from the GOP’s national platform—from 1932. I kid you not. These folks pine for the policies of Herbert Hoover. They want to repeal the minimum wage, abolish the Federal Reserve, and return to the gold standard. By next year they’ll be calling for a return to wampum and barter.

We can always count on Larry Klayman to bring The Crazy.


In fact, those who favor Obama (or who consider him the least stinky of the two stinkers) should encourage the madmen of the right to keep doing their Renfield-in-the-asylum impressions in public places. The widespread perception that Klaymanesque kooks have taken over the GOP may be the only reason why Romney isn’t clobbering Obama.

“This lady” is Randi Shannon, a “Republican state Senate candidate in Iowa [who] has decided to bow out of the race and become a U.S. senator of an alternative form of government.”

I will concede that Larry Klayman is a kook, but he holds no official position in the Republican Party. In 2003 he tried running for the Senate in Florida but lost in the primary.

As for the Texas state Republican party platform, if you actually read the document you will discover it’s not quite as crazy as Paul Begala would like you to believe. There is stuff in there I don’t agree with, like their positions on abortion and gay marriage, but it’s mostly mainstream conservative dogma.

Cannon’s post is a classic example of “nutpicking“, which has nothing to do with scratching your genitals:

NUTPICKING….Last night I held a contest to create a name for the moronic practice of trawling through open comment threads in order to find a few wackjobs who can be held up as evidence that liberals are nuts. It’s both lazy and self-refuting, since if the best evidence of wackjobism you can find is a few anonymous nutballs commenting on a blog, then the particular brand of wackjobism you’re complaining about must not be very widespread after all.

So Cannon takes a couple ostensible Republicans who hold no elective office or official positions in the GOP and he holds them up as typical Republicans. Then he adds in an article by Paul Begala that basically nutpicks the Texas state Republican party platform, which I doubt few Texas Republicans have even read.

Just like that he has what superficially appears to be a logical, reasoned argument proving that the Republicans are batshit insane. The problem is his argument is based on the logical fallacy of incomplete evidence, also known as confirmation bias.

We see this nutpicking pattern a lot. The purpose is always the same – to delegitimize the opposition. As Cannon himself puts it:

Oh, hell, there’s no point arguing with this nonsense. You can’t talk a madman out of his madness.

A few crazies = they’re all crazy = there is no point in even talking to them.

To be fair, Republicans do the same thing. Ironically, they have been known to use Joe Cannon as an example of left-wing craziness.

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27 Responses to Nutpicking

  1. Oswald says:

    If we got rid of all the crazies there wouldn’t be a blogosphere.

  2. carol haka says:

    My Brain Hurts!


  3. Oswald says:

    BTW – Whatever happened to that big project Cannon was supposed to working on?

    Did his investors ever get what they were promised?

  4. yttik says:

    “Texans proudly quote at great length from the GOP’s national platform—from 1932.”

    Kind of funny, but uh, 1932 was just about the time when the R’s were pro civil rights and the D’s were still holding Klan Klambakes!

    R’s used to actually be for women’s right to vote and they actually sponsored the Equal Right’s Amendment. They also sent the first woman to congress. So, in truth an R agenda from 1932 wouldn’t be so bad.

    It’s also kind of funny, R’s of the olden days, were pretty much antiwar and calling for a reduction of armament, stating that, “…the financial burdens of military preparation have been shamefully increased throughout the world.”

  5. DeniseVB says:

    Meanwhile, another nutpicker’s in the news:

    I think Mayor Weiner has a nice ring to it 😉

  6. elliesmom says:

    I think Joseph Cannon is a wonderful example of a left-wing crazy. He never fails to deliver. I wonder if he buys tin foil in bulk?

    • Mary says:

      Agree. Cannon is in the left-wing crazy category for me, too.

      So is RD. So is DAK.

      They’ve all “evolved,” like their shallow leader.

  7. jeffhas says:

    Anyone who has had to work in the real world (not left-wing academia or right wing think-tankeria) knows that the majority of the world is a fairly large range of normal, ’cause you basically gotta work together.

    I’ve met plenty of RW Repubs and plenty of Lefty Dems, but they don’t go off the deep end because they know they have to get up and go to work with other people who may not agree with them – and THIS is how people share ideas and change their minds and evolve to different conclusions… not by the bellowing from hysterical yappers (from either side).

    • myiq2xu says:

      I believe the internet encourages polarization. I’ve had RL arguments over politics all my life. It never resulted in any violence or lost friendships.

      In college we would start an argument in class then finish it over beers afterwards.

    • wmcb says:

      Great point, jeffhas.

  8. Oswald says:

  9. HELENK says:

    at one time political debates were a good thing. Both sides learned from them. Debating was even taught in high school. You had to have facts and good reasons for your beliefs on whatever subject you were debating. example lowering the voting age to 18 and you could not use the argument, if I am old enough to fight , i am old enough to vote.

    That has gotten lost today. Schools do not teach the art of the debate. That you have to have facts and good reasons for your argument. Now it is but that is what was on tv so there is no way you could know better, We do not care if you investigated and read the facts if it was not on tv it does not count.

    there are no journalists today, they have become stenographers and print and say what ever they are told without fact checking so much of the public really does not know who or what they are voting for

    • HELENK says:

      and you had to be able to debate pro and con on the subject

    • myiq2xu says:

      In law school they have moot court where you have to argue both sides of a legal issue.

    • yttik says:

      Something that has really changed Helen, debate today is all about what you “believe” in rather than facts. Do you “believe” in global warming, do you “believe” in aliens, do you “believe” raising taxes will stimulate the economy? This is so irrational because whether or not you believe in something doesn’t make it real. Some people “believed” in President Obama and look how that turned out.

      We still have debate clubs in schools, they just go something like this, “I believe in recycling because I’m a good person and people who don’t believe in recycling are slobs who hate the Earth.”

      And the girl who put all that effort into her “debate” essay probably got an A.

      • HELENK says:

        that is just sad. It is cheating kids of a good education and learning to think critically. making someone search and investigate for facts and be able to debate on them is part of a good education for life

      • myiq2xu says:

        I think it started to go bad when people mistook “Jane you ignorant slut” for a training video.

      • elliesmom says:

        In MA as part of our state testing problem, 8th graders have to write a “persuasive” essay. It’s graded on style, spelling, and grammar, but not on content. Typical topics are laws requiring bicycle helmets, lengthening the school year, and other things that kids would have an opinion about. Some of the kids do the “I’m a good person and I think” kind of essays, but other kids make up facts and figures to support their argument. I never knew quite how I felt about that when I was grading them. While it drove me nuts that the kids just made shit up, I was glad to see that they knew they should have “facts” to back up what they were saying. In any event, if the essays were 4 or 5 paragraphs long, had four or five sentences per paragraph, and the grammar and spelling (the kids could use a dictionary) were OK, they passed.

  10. HELENK says:

    When you do not educate and have kids learn, they grow up to do things like this

    1 how to spell
    2 illegality of holding a political speech in a house of worship

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