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November 03, 2006

Steele's Opponent Proves Stupid And Uneducated; Kerry Suggests He Enlist In The Military


Cardin just scored an own-goal by claiming the Patriot Act "predates" his election to Congress.

Cardin has served since 1987.

Now, I know sometimes dates get confusing, but I'm relatively sure the Patriot Act was passed after 9/11, which, I believe, occurred in 2001.

In other words, Cardin placed the Patriot Act in the wrong century.

This is pretty big. Maryland may be ferociously pro-Democratic, but are the also ferocious partisans for Stupid?

In related news, there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.

Do I Really Think He's This Stupid? Not exactly, but it will stick anyway, and it should.

What I'd guess he meant is that various forms of the Patriot Act had been floating around for a while. So he was trying to evade responsibility for his vote by saying, "Hey, people were workin' on this before I was even in Congress."

Well, that's not really enough for him to evade responsibility for his vote. (It's also probably not factually true, either.) So what if parts of it had been drafted and suggested before? When it's time to vote on the bill, now, what does it matter if it parts of it were drafted three weeks ago or thirty years ago?

It doesn't. So it's a stupid defense, a stupid evasion.

Either he's so stupid to think this absolves him from responsibility for his vote, or he thinks the voters are so stupid they'll buy it, or both.

So the defense to the facial stupidity of this statement is the deeper stupidity that he actually intended to say something nearly as stupid, as well as insulting to the intelligence of voters.

Tough sell.

I think he should just claim he intended it, somehow, as a joke about President Bush.

The media seems favorably inclined to that excuse.

JJ says...

Let me play devil's advocate: Most of the Patriot Act was already on the books in different sections. I believe the first bill passed - I forgot the name of it- was in Carter's administration in the late 70s.

I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean. The Patriot Act is the Patriot Act and it was passed in 2002 (I think). I don't know what he means when says "the first bill" was passed in the Carter Administration.

If he means bills with similar language were proposed, but never became law, well, okay, but so what?

People have been suggesting this or that change to, say, the capital gains tax rate since... we began taxing capital gains. How can you evade responsibility for your vote by saying, "Well, actually, the Bush Capitan Gans Tax Cuts date back to Alexander Hamilton" ?

Or maybe he means that the Patriot Act amended/changed/modified/added to a number of laws that have been around a long time? But that's true of every new law, pretty much. An act which makes the minimum sentence for murder 25 years to life, for example, doesn't actually say that. It will say "In section 115(a)(3) of the United States Criminal Code, "15 years to life" should be stricken, and "25 year to life" should be amended in its place," or something like that.

All "new laws" are just modifications of already existing laws -- adding a condiditon, subtracting a condition, increasing a sentence, decreasing a sentence, inserting a word, deleting a word, expanding a definition, narrowing a definition, etc.

Acts of Congress are hard-to-read guides of how to specifically edit previously existing laws to reflect their new intent of how the codes should read.

They're all like that. How many new laws actually are "new," in the sense they consist of a complete, self-contained new entry into the books? Very few. It's 99% editing this word or that, this number or that, in the already-published laws.

He might as well have said he is absolved of all votes on criminal justice matters because the US Code dates back to 1790 or whenever.

Or take taxes -- the tax code gets revised, what, a hundred different ways per year? And yet the code itself "predates" anyone's service in Congress. (Except, maybe, Robert Byrd, who served when the government was funded solely by tarriffs on pitch-tar for cross-burnin's.)

It's just a stupid statement, whatever way you slice it. There are ways to read it as less stupid than it at first seems, and those interpretations are, yeah, correct, but those still yield readings which are fundamentally and irredeemably stupid.

Whatever his defense, it won't work. His defense "I didn't mean that stupid shit, for the Love of Soros! I meant this stupid shit!"

Either way, it's some really stupid shit.

Again: The only thing that can save him from humiliation is Matt Lauer scolding other Democrats not to abandon him in his Hour of Cretinism.

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posted by Ace at 09:02 PM

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