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July 31, 2013

Are House Republicans Just Dumb?

Noam Scheiber considers whether the threat by House Republicans to shut the government down over Obamacare is rational, albeit with perverse incentives.

"But there's another alternative worth considering: What if House members are trying to act in their self-interest; they're just exceptionally bad at figuring out what that is? What if they're, you know, kinda dumb? For example, if you're a House Republican, presumably you have some policy preferences: You'd like to massively cut taxes for the wealthy, you'd like to slash spending for the poor, you'd like to privatize Social Security and voucherize Medicare. In short, you'd like to enact the Ryan plan in its full, Randian glory. But, of course, there's no way to do that as long as there's a Democrat in the White House. And, unfortunately, as long as you're committed to acting crazy--threatening needless government shutdowns; insisting that Obamacare is the greatest assault on freedom since the Nazi march across Europe; failing to fix massive electoral liabilities, like your perceived hostility to Latinos--you may preserve your House majority. But it's going to be damn-near impossible for a Republican to win the presidency."


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