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Would you buy a used political endorsement from this man?


For reasons unclear to anyone but the editors of the Guardian, that newspaper sought the opinion of actor, game show host, and "conservative intellectual" (*snrk!!*) Ben Stein on the 2016 presidential election. We're guessing somebody lost an especially humiliating bet.

Stein characterized the 2016 campaign as "an extremely strange year," said he finds Donald Trump's anti-free-trade rhetoric appalling, thinks Bernie Sanders is "willfully ignorant," and believes Hillary Clinton has a fairly solid grasp of economics. And yet, if you didn't read our headline right up there, you will be astonished to learn he plans to vote for the guy he says doesn't know "a goddamn thing about economics."

The Guardian asked Stein a whole lot of questions, as if he were anything but a skin-covered set of policy outlines from the Cato Institute. Someone standing behind Stein's chair hit "play," and he said things like this:

When I hear Mr Trump or Mrs Clinton or Mr Sanders talk about how they are going to stop free trade and in some way block America from being part of the world trading system, it makes my blood run cold. That’s a terrible, terrible prospect.

Second, it is very clear, extremely clear, that additional regulation on the economy at this point would be a burden on growth and whichever candidate imposes the most regulation is going to get the least growth.

Oh look, Stein also repeated one of conservatives' favorite lies about taxes:

In terms of tax policy, all of them say they are going to cut taxes on the poor, but that’s a fake because the American poor already pay no taxes. Approximately 50% of American wage earners don’t pay any tax already, so that’s a fake.

Let's tear that one apart one more time, since it's a lie every single time: About 47% of Americans pay no income tax, and a large part of that is because they receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, which means they make very little money to begin with. As we have noted before:

The right likes to pretend that income tax is the only kind of tax in the world, because then it’s a lot easier to pretend that poor people pay no taxes at all. In reality, as a terrific piece at Vox reminded us, most Americans pay more in payroll taxes than in income taxes -- yes, even those 47% slackers! And of course, middle- and lower-income people pay a hell of a lot more in state and local taxes, which conveniently enough are higher for the poor than for the rich. Imagine that.

Ben Stein is either deliberately lying or he's just fucking lazy, is what we're getting at here. Fine, he has moments of lucidity, like when he says "Mr Trump says he can both reduce taxes and reduce the deficit. That’s complete nonsense." Stein doesn't mention that it was also nonsense when it was Ronald Reagan's entire economic program, but it's nice to see he's come around.

Stein doesn't think Trump's an especially good businessman, either:

He is not a great businessman. He inherited a great deal of money. He did some successful real estate deals. Hardly anyone could miss doing successful real estate deals in New York considering the incredible boom that has taken place and the very low base point when he started out. He is not a great businessman at all -- in no way.

He does acknowledge that "everyone I know says he is an incredibly nice guy," which probably says more about the company Ben Stein keeps than about Donald Trump. He thinks Trump would be terrible on trade, that Trump might tank the economy, that Trump's promise to bring back all the jobs from China is naïve, and that he's simply dumbfounded Trump has become the nominee of the Republican Party:

I am absolutely … I am open-mouthed, gasping, unbelievable. But he has his charms. There must be something people like about him. I don’t get him but there must be something people like.

And of course, Ben Stein intends to vote for Donald Trump, because Ben Stein is a bloviating attention whore who seems to enjoy wallowing in his own cognitive dissonance:

I don’t think Trump knows a goddamn thing about economics. But I like him anyway, I might add. I think Mrs Clinton knows something about it. She is an intelligent woman, she went to Wellesley. She was a classmate of mine at Yale law school and I hope we learned something while we were there.

Nonetheless, Stein will be pulling the lever for Donald Trump (even if it's a punch-card ballot -- he's just that much of a traditionalist). Perhaps he's contractually obligated to do so after Trump was the last player standing on Win Ben Stein's Grudging Endorsement.

[Guardian / Vox]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Guys, it's been one more shit day in a shit week in the fifth shit month of another shit Trump year. Which is why I need to remind you that it's not ALL shit out there! Oh, sure, it's MOSTLY shit, but you know what isn't shit? YR WONKETTE, and the strange community of strange internet people who have made getting through all this shit a bit more tolerable, that's who and what. Which is why you should give us money, so we can keep whanging away at the walls of shit with our shovels and laughing at the shit getting all over, because one of these days we will get it all cleaned up or at least not be up to our waists in shit, and we can all laugh about what a crazy fight it was, as St. Molly Ivins always kept reminding us.

In case you're new here, let me just remind you that Wonkette literally got me, Yr Dok Zoom, out of what wasn't quite poverty, but was pretty much paycheck-to-paycheck desperation. I started reading the site shortly before Barack Obama was elected, began commenting sometime in his first term, and submitted a story tip to Rebecca a few months after she bought the site for 47 dollars and a sandwich (I now understand it was a bit more than that). It was Memorial Day 2012, and she wrote back she was busy with some "stupid thing I have to do for some muneez," but would I like to try writing a blog post myself? "I understand if you say FUCK NO. But maybe you are thinking FUCK YES?" And then she warned me she paid only in Ameros. I did, the post was forgettable but OK, and then I wrote a thing (borrowed from now long-lost comments) that went semi-viral, and suddenly I was that hottest thing in publishing, a freelancer!

In less than a year, Rebecca asked you all to buy me to be your very own pet blogger, and my life suddenly became incredibly good, like as good as an Abba song. It's as good as "Dancing Queen." Thanks to the timing of the whole thing (and to Barry Obama and Nancy Pelosi), I actually had health insurance for the first time in years, a not inconsiderable thing. And you had an Editrix who was not working 12 hour days six and a half days a week and drinking too much from stress. Your continued donations helped hire Evan full time and Robyn and Bianca part time and a whole raft of freelancers, and now Rebecca is down to eight-hour days, five and a half days a week, and drinking because there's a madman in the White House and everything's terrible.

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There is a very normal article circulating on the internet right now by a fella named Don Boys (that's not the joke, the jokes are coming), who is both an insane batshit preacher, and also an insane batshit former member of the Indiana House of Representatives. (Also sometimes he blogs at the Daily Caller about how Mike Pence really went balls deep into the gay agenda when he swore in that insane batshit gay guy Rick Grenell as America's ambassador to Germany.)

This article, of course, is about Pete Buttigieg, because what are anti-gay buffoons obsessed with right now? Pete Buttigieg. Boys (still his name) is primarily concerned not with the simple fact that Buttigieg is gay, but with how gay Buttigieg really is. IN THE SEX WAY!

Well, Don, since you asked!

Shall we dive into this thing without the proper prophylactics? We shall.

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