Paul Krugman just wrote a column on “Fighting the Derp” in economics. I had never heard the word before and was surprised to find out, “’Derp’ is a term borrowed from the cartoon “South Park” that has achieved wide currency among people I talk to, because it’s useful shorthand for an all-too-obvious feature of the modern intellectual landscape: people who keep saying the same thing no matter how much evidence accumulates that it’s completely wrong.”
We have become a nation of “Derps”. Once upon a time the privilege of derping was relegated to pundits, columnists, and a few talk show hosts. Now everyone can derp. (Is it a coincidence that it rhymes with twerp?) Social media has instantly connected millions of derps to us all.
Krugman states, “True, the peddlers of politically inspired derp are quick to accuse others of the same sin. “ So I should probably add a disclaimer.
(Disclaimer: I am sure some of you consider me a derp as well. You however, are wrong as usual.)
Nary a day goes by without evidence of derping, especially in discussing politics, race, and education. These three topics are symbiotic these days.
How often have we seen “predictions that just keep being repeated no matter how wrong they’ve been in the past,” or “the never-changing policy prescription.”?
So who are the derps sending those denigrating messages about teachers and their unions? Why does someone like Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and other derps like him exist? Patrick Healy and Monica Davey of the New York Times tell us in their article, “Behind Scott Walker, a Longstanding Conservative Alliance Against Unions”.
There is a cadre of conservative businessmen and foundations who have paid for the rise of Walker and other derps to serve their interests. Michael.W. Grebe and the Bradley Foundation support the initiatives, ideas, and financing conservative public intellectuals, bankers and industrialists want implemented.
For example, “While the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation could not endorse candidates outright, it provided more than $2 million in grants to think tanks that implicitly championed Mr. Walker’s small-government platform, and $520,000 to Americans for Prosperity, a national group that held Tea Party rallies at which Mr. Walker spoke. In the months that followed, he would deliver on that promise, breaking Wisconsin’s public employee unions in a bitter battle, surviving a recall effort led by angry Democrats and making his fight the centerpiece of an as-yet-unannounced presidential campaign.”
Here is why Walker scares me more than any other Republican Candidate at the moment. He has put the conservative “less government is better at any cost” agenda into effect and is being rewarded for it. He is being “revered as a leader brave enough to face down unions and their liberal supporters.” In fact, “Scott Walker didn’t have the stature, influence or money to become governor on his own or to end collective bargaining on his own,” said Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin A.F.L.-C.I.O. “All of that flowed from Mike Grebe, the Bradley Foundation and a network of influential conservatives, including the Kochs.”
Mr. Neuenfeldt added: “He wouldn’t be running for president without these people. He would be their guy in Washington.”
He is the derp’s front man much as the character Bob Roberts was in the 1992 movie of the same name. Although Roberts was supported by some vague “Broken Dove” foundation, Walkers support is there for all to see. “The Bradley Foundation gave to Americans for Prosperity but was more integral to generating policy ideas and talking points that were picked up by Wisconsin’s powerful bench of right-wing talk radio hosts. In 2009, the foundation gave a $1 million grant to one of the think tanks, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, to recommend policy ideas for the next governor. It also backed the MacIver Institute, providing one-third of its budget.
Both think tanks proposed dozens of small-government policies, and at the top of their lists was curbing the power of the public employee unions.” “Koch Industries donated $43,000 to Mr. Walker’s 2010 bid.” He also received their support to defeat a 2012 recall and then get reelected in 2014. No surprise that, “David Koch offered an opinion at a recent private gathering that Mr. Walker was the favorite for the Republican nomination. And Mr. Walker’s old allies are hungry once more for a leader who will go to extremes, this time as president.” Or, as Grebe said in a recent video, “We believe that through that collaboration, together we can help change the world.”
I would translate that to mean, “conspire to make the US less equitable” one derp at a time. Mr. Walker is their Republican “candiderp” for President.