Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cross purposes

From an undisclosed location somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, Doctor Beyond writes:

About the new tax-on-bonuses vote:

Although a number of Republicans first cast "no" votes, the political appeal of the legislation apparently won the day. In the closing moments of the roll call there was a heavy GOP migration from the "no" column to the "yes" side before the final vote was called.

The vote to tax back most of the bonuses was 328-93. Voting "yes" were 243 Democrats and 85 Republicans. It was opposed by six Democrats and 87 Republicans.

Was the first no vote an autonomic response, and then some self-preservation part of the Republican lizard brain finally kicked in and made them change their vote? Or did they just figure that the Republican whip couldn't get to them before voting closed?

I wonder about that myself.

I have a hard time believing that the change-to-yes votes came out of political self-preservation, like what would fly well in their district (and certainly not out of what would be best for their district)--first because the House GOP caucus hasn't cared about that so far, and second because whatever points this might score with Joe Sixpack back home will soon be forgotten by JS, but the Club For Growth will never, ever forgive or forget.

The most likely explanatory picture that comes to mind is Nomad (reproduced here, I'm a little embarrassed to say, mostly from memory):

Kirk: But your prime function. . . is to seek out! . . . and sterilize! . . . that which is imperfect!

Nomad: Correct.

Kirk: And there can be no! . . . exceptions!

Nomad: No exceptions.

Kirk: And I am the creator?

Nomad: You are the creator.

Kirk: You're wrong! Jackson Roykirk, your! . . . creator! . . . is dead. You have mistaken! . . . me! . . . for him. You are! . . . in error.

You did not discover your mistake--you have made! . . . two! . . . errors!

And you have not corrected by sterilization! You have made three! . . . errors! Excercise your prime function!

Nomad: Error! Error! Must sterilize! [Kirk beams Nomad off the ship seconds before it explodes.]

Spock: Faultlessly logical, Captain.

You can only operate for so long while trying to carry out two blocks of contradictory, absolutist of programming.

Or, think of it another way: F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in your head and still function is the mark of a first-rate intelligence. And these guys are not first-rate intelligences, so . . . do the math.

Faultlessly logical, Captain.

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