Book Review: The Stupidparty, Math vs Myth by Patrick M. Andendall

I have long believed that the Republican Party is an unholy alliance between the greedy and the stupid. The author of Stupidparty, Math vs Myth, has the same concept, only he terms the greedy “benefactors” or “asset strippers,” and the stupid “disciples of the Stupidparty.” Stupidparty is Mr. Andendall’s term for today’s Republican Party.
Mr. Andendall considers himself to be a conservative. “By any rational interpretation, I am a conservative. I was a determined advocate for Margaret Thatcher; I gleefully crossed picket lines. I wanted to conserve rural lifestyles, raged against urbanites campaigning to infringe on rural pastimes. I would of course like to pay less income tax and I have a libertarian streak in me that revolts when the government tells me how to run my life or expects me to spend time filling out complex forms with cumbersome nuisance taxes that hinder my ability to run my business efficiently.”
That said, Mr. Andendall has become alarmed at the direction that the Republican Party has taken. He believes that the Republican leadership has abandoned any semblance of rationality. He quotes Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein of the Washington Post:
“The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier. It has become ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition, all but declaring war on the government. The Democratic Party, while no paragon of virtue, is more ideologically centered and diverse, protective of the government’s role as it developed over the course of the last century, open to incremental changes in policy fashioned through bargaining with the Republicans, and less disposed to or adept at take-no-prisoners conflict between the parties. This asymmetry between the parties, which journalists and scholars often brush aside or whitewash in a quest for “balance,” constitutes a huge obstacle to effective governance.”
In Mr. Andendall’s estimation, 66.6% of Republican voters are beyond hope-they have fallen for the “Stupidparty” line, as expounded by Fox News and “hate radio,” hook, line and sinker. He believes, however, that there is a third of Republican voters who have not lost their capacity for critical thinking, who, say, believe in evolution, do not believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, who are open to some sort of gun control, who are concerned about global warming and other environmental concerns, etc. It is this third of Republican voters that Mr. Andendall desperately hopes to reach with this book.
Stupidparty, Math vs Myth is prodigious in its attempt to cover all aspects and issues of the American political scene where “Stupidparty” dogma conflicts with common sense. The economy, the environment, gun culture, racism, plunder (asset stripping) by the very wealthy, religion, racism, money controlling politics, the effect of biased media, election shenanigans and gerrymandering. The blatant dishonesty of the Republican leadership is a major concern. It is well to remember that in a conflict with the unscrupulous, the very unscrupulousness of your adversary give him a great advantage. While you are restrained by scruples, he is not.
Mr. Andendall gets careless in places. For example he cites a startling statistic when discussing “trickle-down theory.” “According to Forbes: average annual compound return on the stock market has been 18 times greater under Democratic presidents.” This statistic is misleading because it includes an extreme outlier-the Hoover Administration. One should not include extreme outliers in a statistical study, and, also, after the Hoover Administration there was a sea change in the way the U.S. Government handled economic institutions. Despite the best efforts of the Republicans to destroy them, a number of these reforms are still in effect. You can make a very powerful case against trickle-down economics without resorting to any misleading statistics. Since 1961 Republican presidents have added 2.5 times more debt to the U.S. budget deficit than Democratic presidents, and have created only 24 million jobs while Democratic presidents have created 42 million.
Mr. Andendall believes that the ideology and actions of the “Stupidparty” constitute nothing less than an existential threat to our species. “If the end of the world happens in the short term, the facts tell us that it will likely happen as a result of war, disease, climate—because we now have the capacity of destroying ourselves, and actually it will not be the end of the world, but it will be the end of us, of you, your children. . .you and I can only be concerned about what we can control, our odds of maintaining a civilized, livable planet over the next hundred years. To do this we must get a grip; we must renounce Stupid—and revive Party.
I consider Mr. Andendall’s message to be crucial and compelling and would urge all Americans to read this book. I fear, however, that Mr. Andendall has tried to cover too much and that has made the book a bit unwieldy. I think that this book would benefit from a thorough editing, proofreading and pruning. It would be more effective if it were about half its present length.

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