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The 5 Stupidest Things GOP Presidential Candidates Said...In Just One Day

We expect the climate denial and the race-baiting. But what was surprising was the sheer stupidity of some of the candidates' assertions at CPAC.
 
 
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It’s not every day that one gets to hear the Republican Party’s top three presidential candidates deliver speeches to the same audience on the same day. The second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington offered a unique opportunity to compare and contrast the rhetoric trotted out to the most far-right wing of what is already a right-wing party.

We expected the race-baiting, as when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich reprised his reference to President Barack Obama as the prime purveyor of food stamps. And it came as no surprise to hear former U.S. senator Rick Santorum bash the science of climate change. Nor were we shocked to hear former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney promise to fire federal workers, given the Koch-led attack on public employees that has characterized the Republican agenda since 2010. But what was surprising was the sheer stupidity of some of the candidates’ assertions.

Now, you may say, well, denying climate change: Isn’t that stupid? Well, yes, but it’s also the smart advancement of a false claim that is cleverly designed to appeal to the ignorant -- especially ignorant people who resent any suggestion that the health of the planet may require some change or sacrifice on their part. Basically, a clever move on the part of the candidate.

No, what we’re talking about here is sheer, unmitigated stupidity -- stupid claims that, while advanced with the intention of moving a voter into the candidate’s column, are so ham-handedly formulated that the net effect is just stupid-stupid, as opposed to smartly stupid.

Herewith the five stupidest things the candidates uttered on Friday.

1. Rick Santorum: Wasting energy makes a nation great. At CPAC, Santorum suggested that in order to have a high standard of living, a nation should consume as much energy as possible. Now poised to become the Republican Party’s frontrunner in the presidential nomination contest, according to several new polls, including this one from the Pew Research Center Santorum proved to conservatives that he’s no effete intellectual, and he’s not just another regular guy, either. He’s a regular, stupid guy who’s not afraid to say out loud what other regular, stupid guys are quite certain of: that when you see two things happening at the same, then one must have caused the other. Here, Santorum makes the case against energy conservation:

One of the favorite tricks of the left is to use your sentimentality, is to use your proper understanding that we are stewards of this earth, and that we have a responsibility to hand off a beautiful Earth to the next generation. And so they use that, and they’ve used it in the past to try to scare you into supporting radical ideas on the environment. They tried it with this idea, this politicization of science called manmade global warming.

You look at any country in the world...the higher the energy consumption, the higher their standard of living.

Ergo, if you want a higher standard of living, drive a gas-guzzler, and burn those Edison-era incandescent light bulbs with abandon.

2. Rick Santorum: Health insurance shouldn’t pay for things that are inexpensive. Santorum addressed CPAC just as news was breaking of the Obama administration’s revised rules regarding the mandatory provision of contraception under employer-provided health insurance plans that is part of the new healthcare law. The former Pennsylvania senator is known for his opposition to contraception of any kind, but to the CPAC audience, which probably comprised a number of birth control users, Santorum argued not against the morality of contraception, choosing instead to complain that it didn’t come at a high enough price to warrant coverage by insurance.

 
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