We’re getting pretty badly LaMalfa’d up here in this rural corner of California. If you don’t know what it means to be LaMalfa’d, then you may not be from around these parts; you may not be represented in Congress by people like our own Dougie LaMalfa, a none-too-bright wealthy heir to a big rice farm out in Richvale. Congressman LaMalfa, who assures people that he’s “one of us,” gets big bucks from the government in ag subsidies, a big government salary, and gold-plated medical benefits, all while wearing his cowboy hat around D.C., hobnobbing with the rich folks and the yahoos who think government should only serve a few people like themselves—the corporate farmers, the big-energy moguls, and the lobbyists for privileged special interests. These are people willing to shut down the government rather than see affordable health care offered to millions of Americans who couldn’t afford coverage, or who’d been thrown off coverage, or jacked around by ever-increasing insurance and medical costs. How dumb is Doug? He seems to have graduated from high school without learning how a democracy is supposed to function. He thinks that if a minority throws a tantrum, the majority ought to simply give the whiners what they want.
To be LaMalfa’d is to live in a congressional district so prejudicially drawn that a hard-right Tea Party politician can’t lose, no matter how irresponsibly he behaves. In fact, in the Yahooland of such districts, the crazier their representatives act, the more money rolls in from outfits like Freedom Works. In the Senate, this results in the election of guys like Ted Cruz, a whack job who appeals to people even dumber and crazier than he is by Cruziating the hardcore right-wing base: people who find stupidity and governmental dysfunction quite appealing, apparently. That’s down in Texas, of course, where the voters not only get Cruzified, but get Perrydiddled too: being governed by Rick Perry, one of the dimmer-bulbed governors of all 50 states. You remember, Perry, don’t you? He’s the Republican presidential candidate who wanted to close down a bunch of governmental departments, though he couldn’t remember which ones. Even before Perry, the state of Texas had a reputation for really dumb pols. They gave us George W. Bush, the guy who so memorably wondered: “Is our children learning?” Shortly after that, he took us to war with a country that had done us no harm and posed no threat, draining the U.S. Treasury in the process. Texas is also the home state of a LaMalfa-style dimwit by the name of Louie Gohmert, a guy whose name sounds like Gomer, but who isn’t half as smart as that old TV character. If you want a taste of what it’s like to be Gohmertified, just remember the time a flusticated li’l Louie Gohmert rebuked Eric Holder by saying, “the Attorney General will not cast aspersions on my asparagus.”
Other states have tried to challenge Texas’ supremacy in the stupidity sweepstakes. Alaskans are routinely Sarahnaded by their half-a-term halfwit former governor, Sarah Palin. (“Obviously,” she once told Glenn Beck, “we have to stand by our North Korean allies.”) Minnesotans have been repeatedly Bachmannized by the historically- and geographically-challenged Michele Bachmann, a dingaling who once praised the state of New Hampshire for being the place “where the shot was heard around the world at Lexington and Concord.” And Iowans have been Kingadinged by Representative Steve King, who bruits his stupidity almost every time he opens his mouth. King’s crowning moment in the annals of stupidity was when he failed to find a distinction between Mexicans and cattle. Arguing for an electric fence along the U.S./Mexican border, he said: “We could also electrify this wire with the kind of current that would not kill somebody, but it would simply be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time.”
Those of us who live in Chico and environs reside in a congressional district drawn to favor any Republican, no matter how dumb, corrupt, or incompetent. For a quarter of a century, the representative we sent to Washington was a guy named Wally Herger, a Republican Party hack who never once made a memorable utterance, or did a single thing that wasn’t in line with what he was told to do by higher-up party hacks. He sought to privatize Social Security, lent his support to repealing the Glass-Steagall Act (which had protected us from banking collapses since the dark days of the Great Depression), voted against veterans’ benefits, and fought to keep subsidies flowing to Big Oil companies. Wally retired very well off, thank you very much, but most of his constituents didn’t fare nearly so well. Most of them got Hergered, which is what always happens when guys like Herger get elected.
But just because these LaMalfacated and Hergerized politicians are stupid, doesn’t mean they ain’t wily. They are quite cunning in their ability to tip the poker table so all the chips roll toward their laps. And, because they are all given their talking points by outfits like Freedom Works and other Koch brothers’ front organizations, they never run out of dumb things to say, even on the rare occasions when they are speaking off the cuff.
Fascism arises when the border between government and corporations gets erased. With rulings from the Supreme Court that define corporations as people, and that take away all limitations on corporate influence over our elections, we have moved inexorably closer to fascism. We are being LaMalfacated, Palinated, Bachmannized, Gohmertated, Cruzillized and Randied by a bunch of rich guys herding up a bigger bunch of yahoos to take our country ever closer to fascist rule by global corporations who hold no real allegiance to any country, but only to their bottom lines. But unlike the way fascism rose to power in Italy, or Nazism in Germany, our brand is coming to us wearing cowboy hats, waving the flag, and spouting stupidity masquerading as patriotism.
In the early weeks of this month, we saw a thuggish band of radicals try to hijack the U.S. Government in an attempt to resist the rule of law and the enactment of legislation passed by both houses of Congress, ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, and ratified by a presidential election in which repeal of the Affordable Care Act was the central issue of the losing candidate. Unwilling to play by the rules, Republicans are making lots of people pay for the fact that they didn’t get their way. Our guy, little Dougie LaMalfa, voted with those petulant children to put hundred of thousands of people on furlough, to stall many government services, to foul the engine that runs our economy, and to create a rolling wave of uncertainty that is beginning to reach every household in the nation. We’ve been LaMalfa’d by a guy who ain’t “one of us,” as he claims. He, unlike lots of us, is still drawing his congressional salary and getting his Big Rice subsidy checks. Those are the government services he considers essential. In the world these guys live in, if it doesn’t affect them personally, it just doesn’t count for much.
LaMalfatism or LaMalfacation. Whatever you want to call it, it’s just another word for stupidity, and for getting screwed.