Gerald Hastings of Harvard University says House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said the stupidest things yesterday at a hearing his committee held jointly with the House Oversight Committee to look at political bias by FBI Russia investigator Peter Strzok. But Yale Political Science Professor Alfred Knowlings said House Oversight Committee Chair Trey Gowdy (R-Okla.) said the stupidest things by far and in fact came across as an idiot based on the stupid things he said.
“Trey Gowdy is supposed to be one of the smarter members of the House Republican majority but based on the embarrassingly stupid things he said at the hearing yesterday, it’s hard to see him as any better than the dumbest, most moronic member of the House,” Knowlings said.
Knowlings joined Hastings and other panelists yesterday at a Brown University symposium to measure the amount of stupidity coming out of GOP lawmakers’ mouths at yesterday’s hearing, but the panel adjourned without coming to a consensus on how much stupidity was expressed at the hearing.
Nancy Dresser, distinguished professor of political science at Stanford University, said the tools political scientists use today to measure congressional stupidity are insufficient to accurately assess how much stupidity came out of GOP lawmakers’ mouths at the Strzok hearing. “The one positive to come out of yesterday’s hearing was that we know we cannot continue to rely on our standard methodologies for measuring stupidity in Congress,” Dresser said. “Thanks to what we learned yesterday, we know we must rethink how we measure stupidity. To draw an analogy, yesterday’s hearing exposed that we’re trying to measure the distance to the sun with a wooden yardstick. There’s obviously a mismatch between what we’re trying to do and the tools we use.”
Hastings said the refusal of Rep. Goodlatte to let Strzok consult FBI counsel at the beginning of the hearing makes it undeniable that Goodlatte was by far the stupidest of all members at the hearing. “He was making up rules as he went along,” Hastings said. “And they were stupid rules at that.” Strzok wanted to consult counsel because he was concerned about disclosing operational details of an active FBI investigation.
But Knowlings said Rep. Gowdy was much more stupid because he kept alluding to Strzok’s bias even though Strzok made it clear the issue wasn’t his bias but whether it impacted his work in the Russia investigation. “That was really stupid on Gowdy’s part,” Knowlings said.
Dresser agreed that Gowdy was really stupid, but she raised the possibility that the things coming out of Gowdy’s mouth weren’t as stupid as the things coming out of the mouth of Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas), who made an ad hominem attack on Strzok by calling him a smirking liar who lied to his wife about an affair he had with an FBI lawyer. “That might have been the stupidest thing to ever come out of the mouth of a human being acting in his official capacity as a lawmaker,” Dresser said.
Knowlings agreed that was just about one of the stupidest things he’s ever heard, but given Gohmert’s relative unimportance on the committee, it paled in comparison to the stupid things said by Goodlatte and Gowdy.
Next week, Brown University will be holding a symposium on how much stupidity Congress will be able to withstand until November, when the United States goes to the polls. Dresser, who will be moderating that symposium, said it should be a good one, because Congress has generated more than three million pages of stupid things House majority members have said in the past 18 months. “There’s a lot of material to get through, but we feel we must do it to really understand just how stupid the people are who are elected by the people to represent them,” she said. “There will be a lot of stupid things to read, and that’s really kind of stupid if you think about it.”
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