Iowa Gulls Set World Record for Getting Conned


Welcome, one and all: tonight Rogue Rubber Chicken (RRC) Awards proudly dish out our top prize for unswerving, unrivaled National Gullibility by an American electorate. To counter threats to democracy, we at RRC recognize pivotal teaching moments when seemingly sentient fellow citizens are repeatedly suckered by bizarre campaign flimflam. And the 2015 prizewinner [drum roll] . . . that gaggle of quadrennially-gulled marks . . . Iowa’s GOP primary voters. We leave it to democratic sociologists to unpack why, for Iowan Republicans, April Fool’s Day strikes daily and lasts 24 hours.

No other throng matches Iowa’s record to prop up a parade of defective favorites whose ideological fixations are excelled only by dismal unelectability. First Trump, now Carson? Our award identifies core heartland exceptionality marked by high vulnerability to embrace one celebrity jester after another. What other state primary approaches Iowa’s knack to plant political kisses of death? Awestruck by such seasonal buffoonery, one wit dashed off a new state motto: “Fool us Hawkeyes once, shame on you; fool us twice, the shame is all ours — that’s who we are.” Is there something in the water and corn fields or only the fundamentalist church pews?

For the secular RRC, nothing better dramatizes what happens when Biblically-rutted, faith alone zealots jam enough hoaxes and conspiracies in their peculiar lock box, parsed by snake oil mountebanks whose fifteen minutes of fame looks ten minutes too long. It’s not hard to find method in the madness: lucrative book sales and tours surge, even FOX TV signing bonuses. Who says Sarah Palin, the queen of cheap shots, mumbled fumbling, and intellectual fraud, doesn’t leave get-rich-quick schemes in her wake?

And now the topper: despite indisputable corrections to outrageous Carson lies (plus campaign concessions), Iowa’s finest minds plunge on, eager to transmogrify vacuous hustlers into sainted martyrs. And the reflexive blowback against too much truth: rushing to their roofs and yelling, “another media witch hunt.” Palinesque witches do stalk the land, embodied by slick pretenders who lie so convincingly their deceits only confirm a messianic status. Who says the mid-west, prairie flatlands are boring? Collective, divinely-ordained gullibility invites nothing less than national headlines.

Inverted Learning Curve

And this year we confront a double whammy, starting with the boorish Trump, then topped by switching loyalties to Carson, the least qualified, least coherent candidate since Herman Cain. So much for fundamentalist loyalties as yesterday’s brittle star becomes today’s tiresome joke. It takes quite a special village to lurch from being taken in by Trump’s veneer-thin bravado to embrace something as noxious as Carson, the sanctified con artist with slicker moves than any mere real estate braggart.

Who else but the sociopathic Carson detonates his own “juvenile delinquent redemption” narrative with such unforced errors, rife with self-serving fables? Why open the gates for Trump to parade faux outrage at this “psychopath.” While Trump bellows his own “I am the greatest” brassiness, he can’t match the soft-spoken, true believer hustler who went after his mother with a hammer, plus a relative with a knife and, despite this busy youthful mayhem, found time to reject a non-existent, non-offered West Point scholarship for which he never applied. Is there a special heavenly do-over ploy, geared for dissemblers whose popularity relies solely on personal character, then who lies about the lies?

For the record, Rubber Chicken anticipated open dismay at our choice. Why single out Iowa cornpone when rightwing Know-nothings stalk red state primaries? Serious competitors emerged: goofy Duck Dynasty fans, flag-waving, redneck neo-Confederates, and scary militant-secessionists bracing for tomorrow’s federal incursions. The only real competition (in numbers and duration) remains the unrepentant band of pathetic reality deniers who distort, then defy modern science on evolution, climate change, and human reproduction. Yet none matched the Iowa gullibility leap of faith from Trumpism to diabolical Carsonism. His lies and plagiarism, denied endorsements on video of medical quackery, and concocted life stories make Michelle Bachmann sound nearly normal.

Congratulations to GOP Iowa voters for displaying to skeptics, already bemused the Republican Party didn’t laugh Trump off the stage, they could find new depths of unhinged religiosity. Kudos to Iowa true believers, snookered by “outsiders” (but not to this faithful!) who bring zero electoral experience, zero insight into D.C., swamplands, and zero Congressional constituency. Hats off to small-minded Christians so enamored with celebrity reality shows they want to remake politics in that image. Gross mendacity aside, here’s nothing less than Carson farce on the Mideast “problem” — pure Palinesque word salad disguised as English. That one disturbance to the force merits dismissal from the campaign media island.

Carson Fixes World History

And these marvels aren’t all as Carson’s history of the world puts him in class by himself: this black conservative not only denies structural racism, judges homosexuality an immoral “choice,” compares Obamacare and abortion with slavery, and scoffs at hoaxes on both global warming and the big bang thesis. The dubious ex-doctor concocted Medicare and Medicaid fraud is “huge — half a trillion dollars,” and that ancient Egyptians stored grain in pyramids, not dead pharaohs.

“Half a trillion dollars” in fraud is more than half of all annual Medicare payments — and Tutenkamun we hear considered resurrection to refute the pyramid delusion. Over the weekend, Carson stunned the White House “speechless” by insisting real Chinese military are fighting in Syria. Time to echo Einstein: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” And still not one primary vote has been tallied. Will media success spoil Carson, spurring him to greater sociopathic heights? You betcha. Our prize lasts a year.

Historic background note: if Carson takes Iowa, he joins a select, matchless gang of losers: Bachmann, Perry, Huckabee, Howard Cain, and Sanctorum, plus earlier failed chumps like Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson, and Steve Forbes. To invoke Gov. Jindal’s warning against the GOP “stupid party,” what speaks rightwing “stupid” more than the three-ring Iowa primary circus?  I’ll get back to you on that quest.


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.