Republicans Are Idiots: Benghazi Hearing, Debt Ceiling, and Student Loan Editions

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Originally published at The Ancient & Noble Order of the Gormogons.

 

‘Puter hasn’t written much lately. He’s been awfully busy at work. But ‘Puter’s always thinking. It’s what he does best. Or, at least, what he does least poorly.

Hillary, Benghazi, and Republican Idiocy

Hillary “won” the Benghazi Committee hearing by (1) not choking on her own tongue and (2) not reprising her “Angry Hillary” persona featured in the past hearing.

Hell, Hillary could’ve walked in, got buck nekkid, had three-way sex with Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin on top of a pile of previously undisclosed classified emails to Ayatollah Khamenei from her homebrew server and Republicans still would’ve lost.

Here’s how a successful hearing would’ve gone:

  • Every single Republican on the committee cedes his or her time to Rep. Trey Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor.
  • Gowdy proceeds to cross-examine Hillary Clinton for the next ten hours, with permitted interruptions from each of the Democratic committee members in turn.
  • Gowdy reads the 100 or so emails to and from Sidney Blumenthal. Gowdy introduces documents showing Blumenthal’s business clients got favorable deals from the Libyan government, in all likelihood because of his relationship with Mrs. Clinton’s State Department.
  • Gowdy walks through each of the 600 separate requests from Ambassador Stevens for improved security at the diplomatic compounds in Libya. “Let me read you this email, Mrs. Clinton. *reads email* Did you receive this email from Ambassador Stevens? No? Why not? Who did?” Repeat this with each of the 600 emails. Finish with a version of “So you were responsible for everything that happens in the State Department, including security, and none of these 600 requests rose to your level of review? I find that difficult to believe.”
  • Gowdy reads Mrs. Clinton the email to Chelsea from September 12, 2011 stating Mrs. Clinton believed the attack on Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Gowdy then rolls a montage of every single Obama administration official blaming the attack on YouTube video. “Mrs. Clinton, were you lying to your daughter in this email, or were you lying to America afterwards?” After Mrs. Clinton answers, finish up by rolling the tape of Mrs. Clinton standing in front of the four coffins at Dover Air Force Base blaming the Benghazi attacks on a YouTube video.
  • Gowdy sums up. “Mrs. Clinton, our review of evidence shows the following. You lied repeatedly about having provided all relevant emails to this committee. You lied to the American people about the cause of the Benghazi attack. You recklessly disregarded or presided over people who recklessly disregarded the safety of an American diplomat. You utterly failed in your job as Secretary of State.”

Republicans didn’t have a chance yesterday. They’re playing by the old rules, and refuse to adapt to the current battlefield. Here are the facts.

  • Democrats will lie, cheat, and steal to retain the presidency, even if it means installing a lying, untrustworthy, vindictive Hillary Clinton.
  • Media is a synonym for Democrat. Treat every media member as a hostile witness. You should be asking them the questions, not the other way around. Ignore their questions if you must, and talk about what you want to talk about. Call them out publicly on their bias. “Mr. Gowdy, people say …” “Wait a minute, Andrea Mitchell. Which people? I won’t answer questions posed by hypothetical people. If you think that, say so, and I’ll answer your question.”
  • Americans don’t want a long, drawn out story about Hillary Clinton lying. We’re dumb and have short attention spans. If you can’t summarize a scandal in a sound bite (true or false), don’t bother holding hearing. Try, “Hillary lied, Americans died.” Or how about, “No American blood for a Clinton presidency.”
  • Americans trust emotion over logic. You need to still be logical, but couch it in emotional terms.
  • Most Congressmen aren’t nearly as smart or telegenic as they believe themselves to be. Leadership should’ve chosen carefully who they wanted to be the face of this work. I’d’ve had more women on the panel. There are plenty of great women Republicans (like Rep. Roby who was on the panel) who would’ve loved the job. It would’ve had the added advantage of defanging the “poor Hillary, ganged up on by the White Male Patriarchy” angle I’ve heard.

In short, Republicans lost yesterday because they’re playing a different game than the Democrats, and even were the Democrats playing the Republicans’ game, the Republicans are playing by outdated rules.

Debt Ceiling

Here’s the dirty little secret on the debt ceiling. The Republicans have to vote to raise the debt ceiling since they keep passing continuing resolutions, funding the government at current levels where borrowing is necessary to meet the approved expenditures.

If Republicans want to get serious about the national debt, fine. Here’s how to do it:

  • Pass a gosh-darned budget. Make Obama veto it repeatedly, if necessary. Refuse to pass any more continuing resolutions.
  • Insist any budget be balanced. A balanced budget amendment would be nice. If you must raise taxes, do so. But do so across the board. No sticking it to “the rich,” who now apparently include couples making $200,000.00 or so. Make everyone pay something.
  • Require all government agencies to adopt zero baseline budgeting. Justify all your activities and all your employees each year. If you can’t, you get less money. Just because the State Department got eleventy gajillion dollars in last year’s Seventh Floor Plastic Surgery and Homebrew Server budget doesn’t mean it should be automatically funded again this year.
  • Require all government agencies to attribute to households the value of government aid programs (food, shelter, medical) as income in calculating poverty statistics, evaluating need. Explain to Americans that individuals receiving $30,000 to $50,000 per year in government aid without working aren’t poor. They have hard lives, but they’re not poor.
  • Pass permanent legislation permitting the Treasury Department to issue debt sufficient to roll over maturing debt previously issued. Require all new debt issues to be authorized by act of Congress.

The national debt is so high because Democrats and Republicans both have spent beyond America’s means for years. Worse, Congress borrowed for current year expenditures like entitlements, not long term capital items such as highways, bridges, utility upgrades and hardening, etc.

Democrats certainly aren’t going to fix the problem. Handing out “free” crap to everyone and sticking our kids with the bill is their bread and butter. It’s up to Republicans, but ‘Puter has little hope.

Student Loans

If you take out student loans, you are a moron. College right now, especially if you’re going for a degree in Undecided or Fill-in-the-Blank Studies, is a fraud. The odds are low of you getting a salary bump large enough to cover the years of indentured servitude you’ll endure in service of your debt.

The federal government now holds or guarantees about $800 billion in student loan debt out of the $1.3 trillion outstanding. The average student now owes $28,400 in student loan debt. Effectively, none of this debt can be forgiven in bankruptcy. The current default rate on student debt is now 11.8% officially, but that’s light. Over 30% of student loans are either in deferral or forbearance, meaning the loans are due, but the debtors are currently excused from paying, usually because of an Obama administration program used to game the true default rate by treating nonpayments as “in forbearance.”

Yet people keep telling their kids, “Son, take out $80,000 in non-dischargeable student loans to get a philosophy degree. Your employment prospects after graduation will be bleak, you’ve got a 40% chance of being unable to repay them, and you can’t ever get rid of the debt. But hey, college, amirite?”

Parents ought to be boycotting colleges, or at least bargaining with them to get tuition down to an affordable rate for them. Better, students should consider their alternatives. Get a job for a few years, save your money, then head back to school. Think about community college alternatives, or even night school while working. Join the military and attend college on the GI Bill afterwards. Learn a skilled trade. The country can use more skilled carpenters, plumbers, and electricians.

If you want to be a writer, skip college. Go write. Find a mentor. If you want to be an actor, skip college. Go act. Find a mentor. If you want to start a business, skip college. Go work for a business of the type you want to start. Learn everything you can about the business, then make the jump.

‘Puter doesn’t hate colleges. Colleges are great when they hew closely to their mission of education. It’s the high cost (fiscal and life) and the political indoctrination that give ‘Puter pause these days.

Anyway, that’s enough of ‘Puter ranting for now.

‘Puter’ll be back when the day is new, and he’ll have new ideas for you. You’ll have things you’ll want to talk about. ‘Puter will too.

Goodbye.


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