Since every other blog in the universe has posted on it, I thought I should as well. Maybe I’ll take a different tack than others.
Anything pertaining to cycling lifestyle is of interest around here and we, like other cyclists, took umbrage last week as this video circulated. McHenry’s speech is ugly and insulting, but it’s also incredibly lame and that’s what offended me most deeply. When a motorist runs down a cyclist because “bikes are stupid,” he may be using violence in place of argument, but at least there’s violence. McHenry’s got nothing. Bear with me while I expound.
First, let us take note of Rep. McHenry’s intellectual method of critiquing the Democrats’ provision in the energy bill.
There may well be lots of things wrong with the Democrats’ energy bill or their specific proposal to offer tax incentives to bicycle commuters, but rather than point any of them out, use logic, or offer an argument, McHenry substitutes a sarcastic tone. It’s Argumentum ad Muntziam. He’s not actually criticizing the Dems, he’s just pointing and sneering.
Note also, that he has his facts grossly wrong. The Democrats aren’t offering a 19th Century solution to a 21st Century problem–they’re offering a 19th Century solution to an 18th Century problem. The phenomenon of Supply and Demand was well know by the time Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations, as was international trade. McHenry seems to believe that he has uncovered a new and unprecedented problem: a resource sought by the American public located somewhere other than here. God help us, how will we untangle such a Gordian Knot?
Of course McHenry and the Republicans are at a loss in the face of this problem. Over the last 60 years the party has assiduously worked to lobotomize and emasculate itself, laying down tools like trade and all-out war that could solve such a dilemma.
Barry Goldwater was the last gasp of intellectual solvency and self esteem in the party, which were finally abandoned as part of his throwing in the towel. After his failures in 1964, the religious conservative wing of the party heaved a sigh of relief, knowing they would never again have to offer evidence or argument to support their positions. Not long after, the party castrated itself rather than suffer any longer the label “Hawk”–a vicious aspersion which they have since spent the last 50 year attempting to disprove through one incompetent military action after another.
Patrick McHenry of course is the ultimate payoff for the Republicans’ hard work: empty political bluster, lamely delivered, proudly proclaiming a total absence of ideas without even mindless, reactionary war mongering as a redeeming virtue.
Plus, bikes are cool and he’s short and his hair looks funny.
Try the veal, I’m here all week!