Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
NewsOpinionOp-Eds

Will Obama's brain initiative unlock the mysteries of the Republican mind?

Medical ResearchSarah PalinAlzheimer's DiseaseBarack ObamaTea Party MovementLouie GohmertDavid Horsey

President Barack Obama wants to invest an initial $110 billion in a study of the human brain that could have benefits as great as those achieved by the Human Genome Project. Maybe the first study should be done on the one-track minds of tea party Republicans who will undoubtedly oppose funding for the study because their brains are fixated on the single idea that government can do nothing right.

After that, researchers could move on to figuring out Sarah Palin's brain. Perhaps they could answer this question: How can a person with so little knowledge and so little interest in acquiring knowledge imagine she has what it takes to be president of the United States? Is it an example of the George W. Bush Effect? ("Hey, if he can be president, anybody can.") Inquiring minds want to know.

Even more fascinating would be an analysis of the brain activity among certain Republican congressmen who suffer from a sort of political Tourette's syndrome. These are the guys who, despite warnings about making their party look like a cabal of white male Neanderthals, cannot refrain from saying crazy stuff -- everything from how rape is God's will to calling Latino laborers "wetbacks."

In this regard, the fellow whose brain needs thorough study is U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas. In a conference call with tea party activists in February, Mr. Gohmert made the following comment in reference to proposed legal limits on the number of bullets in a gun clip:

"Well, once you make it 10, then why would you draw the line at 10? What's wrong with nine? Or eleven? And the problem is, once you draw that limit, it's kind of like marriage when you say it's not a man and a woman anymore. Then why not have three men and one woman? Or four women and one man? Or why not, somebody who has a love for an animal? There is no clear place to draw the line once you eliminate the traditional marriage, and it's the same once you start putting limits on what guns can be used; then it's just really easy to have laws that make them all illegal."

Wouldn't it be great to know how a person's brain can make a stunning leap from limiting ammunition to legalizing sex with animals? Or why someone who is a lawmaker lacks the mental capacity to understand that every law draws a line somewhere and, just because you shift the line toward fewer rounds in a clip or marriage equality for same sex couples, that does not invariably lead to all guns being confiscated or allowing anyone to marry their favorite sheep?

Sure, it will be nice if better funding for brain research comes up with a cure for Alzheimers Disease or strokes, but we would also benefit from a deeper understanding of how people with fully functioning brains can still be so incredibly dumb -- and how they, nevertheless, manage to get elected to high office.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Horsey is a political commentator for the Los Angeles Times. Go to latimes.com/news/politics/topoftheticket/ to see more of his work.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
Medical ResearchSarah PalinAlzheimer's DiseaseBarack ObamaTea Party MovementLouie GohmertDavid Horsey
  • Maryland delegation should petition for release of Cuban Five
    Maryland delegation should petition for release of Cuban Five

    In 1999, I accompanied the Baltimore Orioles on their historic trip to Havana, Cuba. This marked the first time since 1959 that a Major League Baseball team played in Cuba. Many of us hoped that a baseball game involving teams from the United States and Cuba might be a precursor to normalized...

  • Kids ID cards cross a line
    Kids ID cards cross a line

    "The Hunger Games." "The Giver." "Divergent."

  • Calling women to action for a stronger democracy
    Calling women to action for a stronger democracy

    There was a time that Maryland's congressional delegation included as many women as men. Remarkably, in 1984, Maryland voters elected women to half of the state's seats in Congress: Reps. Helen Bentley, Beverly Byron, Marjorie Holt and Barbara Mikulski. In the election of 2014, exactly 30 years...

  • Media message unfair to missing child
    Media message unfair to missing child

    I was relieved to hear that the missing 12-year-old Baltimore County girl was found and returned to her worried parents. Yet I still remain perplexed at the way her disappearance was reported. Seemingly in the same breath that news outlets reported that the child was missing, they also reported...

  • NSA scandals caused rift with U.S. allies
    NSA scandals caused rift with U.S. allies

    No single issue has caused greater damage to the trust between the United States and its allies than the sweeping revelations of the National Security Agency's global surveillance programs. This story continues to fuel the perception that we no longer care to uphold our values at home or...

  • The growing wealth and clout of the richest .01 percent
    The growing wealth and clout of the richest .01 percent

    Political spending of the nations wealthiest has been growing faster than their spending on anything else

Comments
Loading