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The So-Called Cuckoo's Nest

By David Harsanyi

Any impartial national media type will tell you as much: A bunch of half-baked zealot nut jobs have emerged from the Republican primary field. Folks like Nevada's Sharron Angle and California's Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman are throwing around frighteningly out-of-step opinions.

Let's start with Angle, who believes it would be prudent -- get this -- to start defunding the Department of Education. The Department of Education!

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You must be aware that the vast majority of Americans were unable to write or use basic arithmetic before the prestigious bureaucracy began operating, in 1980. Over its 30 years of sure-footed guidance, in fact, edumacation standards have improved dramatically and graduation rates have skyrocketed.

Only a wing nut would question the prudence of sinking $50 billion a year into an organization that has taken control incrementally of local education matters and that boasts as its biggest success this time around an erroneously named, stimulus-funded contest: Race to the Top.

The consensus on this matter is clear: N-U-T-S.

Then we have Fiorina, who was once the CEO of Hewlett-Packard -- and thus clearly unprepared for political office. Progressive Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson points out that during a recent debate, this radical supported "the right of suspected terrorists on no-fly lists to buy guns."

The woman is clearly one round short of a full clip, right? No one ever gets on that no-fly list by accident. If you're in the mainstream, you understand how loony it would be to permit an American citizen who hasn't committed a crime -- or is even accused of a crime, much less suspected of terrorism -- to have access to his or her constitutional rights. The folks in Gitmo? That's another story. And not radical.

Then there's Meg Whitman. She ran eBay for a while, and now she's running for governor. Meyerson says she's out of step with California, as well.

Fortunately, rational Californians have a choice this November. They can keep the state's economy humming by choosing the more sensible Jerry Brown, a man who once said that "the conventional viewpoint says we need a jobs program and we need to cut welfare. Just the opposite! We need more welfare and fewer jobs."

"More welfare and fewer jobs!" is a great campaign slogan and unequivocally not crazy.

You see, people need more time to relax. People work too hard. And that's probably why Brown legalized public employee unions in California when he was governor in the magical '70s. Look at how great that's been for the economic health of the state.

Just to recap: Meg Whitman, radical. Jerry Brown, awesome.

It's been quite an education watching the evolution of what are acceptable positions in this country. Also confusing.

If you believe Americans should have some limited ability to make choices -- say, in Social Security or the purchase of government-sanctioned health insurance -- you are, at best, a latent racist and probably listen to Rush Limbaugh.

If you add $5 billion of debt every day of your presidency -- as Barack Obama has done with the help of Congress since he entered office -- you are a contemplative moderate.

If you believe in drilling for more oil, you are at best a wretched boob, at worst a tool of corporate interests.

But if you support the corporate interest of creating a fabricated market for the non-commodity of carbon dioxide so it can be "traded" and taxed to deliberately make energy expensive for citizens ... well, you've got some serious smarts.

Or, in other words, sanity is liberal orthodoxy, and the Cuckoo's Nest is everything else.

Reach columnist David Harsanyi at

Copyright 2010, Creators Syndicate Inc.

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