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Republican Craziness and Hubris Explained

by Rabbi John Rosove

September 22, 2013 | 9:03 am

Paul Krugman and Marty Kaplan did not talk to each other last week nor coordinate their op-ed pieces in different newspapers, but they well could have.

Marty writes in “The Most Depressing Brain Finding Ever” (The Los Angeles Jewish Journal, and The Huffington Post, September 16) that recent studies show partisanship undermining reasoning skills:

…say goodnight to the dream that education, journalism, scientific evidence, media literacy or reason can provide the tools and information that people need in order to make good decisions. It turns out that in the public realm, a lack of information isn’t the real problem. The hurdle is how our minds work, no matter how smart we think we are. We want to believe we’re rational, but reason turns out to be the ex post facto way we rationalize what our emotions already want to believe.”

http://www.jewishjournal.com/marty_kaplan/article/most_depressing_brain_finding_ever or http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marty-kaplan/most-depressing-brain-fin_b_3932273.html

Krugman picks up where Marty left off (“The Crazy Party” - New York Times op-ed, September 19):

"Republicans are coming off an election in which they failed to retake the presidency despite a weak economy, failed to retake the Senate even though far more Democratic than Republican seats were at risk, and held the House only through a combination of gerrymandering and the vagaries of districting. Democrats actually won the popular ballot for the House by 1.4 million votes. This [i.e. Republicans] is not a party that, by any conceivable standard of legitimacy, has the right to make extreme demands on the president. [My emphasis]"

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/opinion/krugman-the-crazy-party.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130920

We now have brain science to explain the bizarre and destructive impulses and positions taken by the Republican Party and their irrational and extremist base vis a vis The Affordable Care Act, the United States budget and the US debt ceiling.

If the researchers are correct, then the more real facts, information and logic that bonafide experts in various fields (e.g. economics, health care, science, climate change, etc.) present, the more convinced will be the extremist ideologues and their followers of whatever nonsense they started out with in the first place, and they will stick to what Stephen Colbert once called "Truthiness!"

I asked Marty what he thought was an effective game plan against the purveyors of such craziness given the Republican Congressional leadership, Fox “News” and Cable right-wing syndicated television and radio, and he said, “We have to fight stories with stories, and not let their bubbameises destroy our dreams!”

Note: Definition of bubbameises – a type of urban legend, or "tale" based in superstition or folklore; filled with unverified claims, exaggerated and/or inaccurate details – i.e. nonsense!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Rabbi John L. Rosove assumed his duties as Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood in November 1988. A native of Los Angeles, he earned a BA in Art History from UC Berkeley...

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