You know, I started this blog to fix the world. It’s been a year. Why the hell ain’t the world fixed? Seriously, I feel so vindicated. Psychology really does lead to valuable insights that help us find solutions. A good diagnosis, leads to a good treatment, which leads to a good outcome. Why the fuck is it so hard? Psychology makes that answer obvious, too!
Judge people by what they do, not by what they say. A good example: the Repubes say lower premiums and greater choice an awful lot when it comes to healthcare. Sounds great. Who could oppose that? But, what does their bill do? It boots 32 million (funny how that number got bigger) off of health insurance. Is that the lowering premiums part because no health insurance means no premiums and zero is certainly lower than those 32 million health insurance havers is paying right now, amirite?
So, if we judge the Repubes not by what they say, but what they’re doing, we discover that they don’t give a rat’s ass about premiums or choice, they just wanna fund yet another needless counter-productive tax break for the wealthy by depriving hard-working middle and lower income folks of their healthcare benefits. Hooray!
Watching and listening to the Repubes struggle with healthcare — between the retching, kvetching, and pulling my hair out, that is — one thing becomes absolutely clear: they’re fucked up. If they wanted to solve the healthcare issues of the United Fucking States of Fucking Stupid, they would. So, something is getting in their way. What could it be? If only there were a science that analyzed group dynamics and decision-making and helped us come to conclusions about what works and what doesn’t! Puzzler. How could human kind have overlooked such a necessary branch of science given our wonderful creative brains and our improved performance when working together.
Psychology to the RESCUE
There are a couple of directions that psychology points us into here. One is groupthink, which I’ve written about before. Why didn’t that solve the problem, hunh? Why? How come people are still committing the fundamental sin of groupthink? I esplained it so well and so clear. Okay, I’ll esplain it all over again in just a little bit. The other is horizontal hostilities, which is the sniping that usually occurs in the Democratic Party and not in the Repube Party. Horizontal hostilities is the condition in which two groups that seem like they should be allies fight amongst themselves over seemingly trivial differences.
The Repubes have several well known problems that they have to resolve and their usual tools of resolving their problems seem to be broken. These problems are in no particular order:
The inability to allow anything that Barack Obama did to be successful no matter how many people get hurt, maimed, or killed. And by destroying the ACA either through bleeding it dry by defunding it and denying people access to Medicaid or subsidies or by repealing it and replacing it with a trickle-down tax cut, there will be healthcare disasters in which people die and suffer in misery in spite of what Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Any Lie to Weather the Storm) thinks. Thank god for cognitive dissonance so Mitch McFuckedUpTurtle can sleep at night. Promise me that if you die because of the stupid Repube antics around the ACA, you’ll haunt Mitch and Paul Ryan until their dying breath. I promise you, I will. Fuck them. Take the pledge right there in the comments!
Hey, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Twisting Truth in the Wind) is working on a hat-trick today because he represents the second problem, too. Rigid thinking and tunnel vision. He’s the lil’ fella who suggested that the bestest reason to repeal the ACA is because they promised to, just like he promised his mommy that he would take care of the stray dog that followed him home that one day. We promised so we gotta do it even if it kills half the country because, to paraphrase Horton Hears a Who, a promise is a promise no matter how big or how small. And, to make it worse, all his Repube colleagues will have to go back to their districts and in all the townhalls that they are avoiding, esplain why they LIED! and didn’t repeal the ACA. Right, Rep. Labrador because lies don’t involve intentions to deceive, they are just current actions that contradict past statements. Let’s grow up a little and acknowledge that oh, fuck it, let’s just grow up: I pwomised so now I have to kick 32 million people off of their healthcare and condemn anyone who doesn’t wanna as a big fat evil LIAR! People like Raul give democracy a bad fucking name.
I’m sure that given enough research time, I could find some more stupid that fell out of his ass, but I ain’t got that time. So, Rep. Raul won’t be getting his hat-trick of stupid today. Don’t worry, though, he’s got enough talent to achieve that goal someday.
And the third issue is that they are now pulling a Democrat and fighting amongst themselves. The worst thing that ol’ bumbling Ronnie Rayguns did to us is convince Repubes not to say anything bad about each other. That set their party on a 30 year groupthink trajectory that has caused three recessions and elected Dubya and the Ol’ Pussy Grabber, Sam Brownbrokeback, Bobbi Jindal, Rick Defrauder of Gov’t Healthcare Programs Scott, and an endless list of other governors and state and federal legislators that are driving the economy and country into the dirt. The current generation of Repube politicians have committed the cardinal sin of believing their own lies. These dumbfucks actually think that trickle down economics works! Ronnie Rayguns or Poppy Bush or any of the other sad clowns that pushed that bitter jimson weed on us ever believed it.
And while it is fun to watch Ted Cruz (R-the Punch Punch Punchiest Face) get his face repeatedly punched by his fellow Repube Senators any time he dares open his hole and spew hate and vitriol and invective on them, it ain’t helping the healthcare debacle that the the Repubes have loosed on us.
So, through the magics of blogging and memes (the most powerful force in the universe), I will save us and set the world straight.
Repubes are exhibiting the classic signs of groupthink. Groupthink is a mode of thinking in which the desire to reach unanimity overrides the motivation to adopt logical and rational decision-making procedures. Usually, groupthink occurs in cohesive groups, and the Repube caucus is anything but cohesive; however, it has several other features that help it qualify and certainly before the fractionating and spliting and sniping started, the Repubes were committed groupthinkers. The inheritors of this tendency for Repube groupthinking is the so-called “Freedom Caucus” in the House and the very conservative senators in the Senate.
Groupthink is a mode of thinking in which the desire to reach unanimity overrides the motivation to adopt logical and rational decision-making procedures.
Hogg & Vaughn, The Essentials of Social Psychology
They value cohesion and adherence to their strict interpretation of the party line to be paramount. Let’s list the antecedents of groupthink here as articulated by Janis (1972):
- Excessive emphasis on group cohesion and agreement.
- Insulation from outside information and other sources of influence.
- Biased leadership
- Flawed or improper procedural rules being followed
- Ideological homogeneity
- Extreme external stress
- Complex task
Boy howdy! Don’t that just describe the flailing mess that Mitch I ain’t no dern Turtle McConnell is leading the Senate through right now? Check, check, and check! These poor idjits are the party of “who knew healthcare could be so complicated?” It would be funny if it weren’t our fucking government!
Horizontal hostilities is a concept originally developed by Judith White is the relationship between two or more groups that seem like they should be in agreement and supporting each other but are locked into internecine fighting. This situation has been made possible by moderate Repubes growing just enough of a backbone to say maybe not to the more radical elements of the party but not enough to say, don’t be bringing that cray-cray weak shit into my house! I slap that shit outta here so fast your head and your constituents’ heads be spinnin’.
Instead, the moderate Repubes smile nervously as the radical right calls them RINOs and threatens them with being primaried. If we go back to the good old days when Mr. Punchy Face shutdown the government over the ACA, I believe he said that winning was simple, all you had to do is to refuse to compromise. And Mr. Turtle Twin saying …winners make policy; losers go home, which is great if you’re on the student council or the playground, but it starts to sound a lot like dictatorial authoritarianism when you are actually a member of the federal government of the most powerful and richest nation in the history of human kind.
The good news is that the Repubes all agree on this one thing that having a market-based solution that gives people choices in insurance policies and incentives to insurance companies to provide them with adequate affordable coverage and helps limit the inflation of healthcare costs is a policy and law that the country cannot live with. They just cannot agree on how to destroy the law and return us back to the 1880’s legislatively.
Sure, when you say it like that anything sounds stupid especially the exceptionally stupid antics of our so-called Repube-controlled Congress. If they could get over their hard-on for Obama and the ACA, they might actually find it in their stone-cold hearts to improve the ACA. If they could undo their groupthink and listen to outside experts and allow for open debate so that multiple solutions could be considered, we actually might get somewhere. If they could quit fighting over the how and tolerate some dissent in their ranks, they might be able to peal off some conservative Democratic Senators. But, that ain’t gonna happen, is it?