Michael Leppert: ‘Profiles in Ignorance’ are so common we hardly notice

When I learned about Andy Borowitz’s new book, “Profiles in Ignorance,” I knew it was moving to the top of my must-read stack. Then I found out he was reading the Audible version himself, and so I am now that guy walking down the street who spontaneously bursts into laughter at seemingly nothing.

Ask anyone who is a Borowitz fan, yes, the book is hilarious. Unless you consider yourself a “Reagan Republican,” or if you are merely willing to admit that you know Dan Quayle, that is.

The book is a discussion of the three stages of ignorance: ridicule, acceptance, and celebration. Spoiler alert! America has already progressed to the phase of “celebrating” its ignorance in the political world, and I want to share some recent examples to confirm it.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently unveiled the House GOP’s “Commitment to America” in a campaign event in Pennsylvania. Flanked by 30 members of his caucus, McCarthy was able to make this extensive list of new promises reading them from a notecard he had kept in his suit pocket. It’s hard to begrudge the skillful brevity it takes to communicate confusing policy ideas to a culture with a severe attention deficit. So, in this case, McCarthy didn’t even try.

As reported by Luke Broadwater of the New York Times, “the plan would ‘increase accountability in the election process through voter ID.’ And it hinted that Republicans would look to change the Affordable Care Act and roll back legislation allowing Medicare to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs, saying that the party wanted to ‘personalize care’ and ‘lower prices through transparency, choice, and competition.’”

Hmmm. Sounds like the House Republicans want to make it harder to vote and they don’t want the government to drive down prescription drug prices. Why not just say that?

Then there’s the Republican Study Committee’s meeting with golfer Greg Norman that happened the day before the notecard commitment was announced. Norman is a leader of LIV Golf, the new professional golf tour that is trying to displace the PGA Tour. I am a golfer, but I was only aware of the meeting because the RSC is led by Indiana Rep. Jim Banks. I don’t know if Banks plays golf, just like I don’t know why he wants to give Mohammed bin Salman an audience.

That’s right, LIV Golf is a venture of the royals in Saudi Arabia, and Norman is just one of the front men of the venture.

While Norman spent a good amount of time as the world’s number one player, he is better known in golf circles as a guy who finished second a lot. I hope he finishes second again on this venture too, though it’s hard to bet against the deep pockets of the Crown Prince, who is clearly just trying to make the world forget all of his routine awfulness with this newfound interest in sports.

After the LIV Golf team put off several members of the RSC trying to curry favor somehow, Norman went to meet with Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who leads the congressional golf caucus. That’s not a Borowitz-style joke. Apparently, there is a congressional golf caucus of which I was ignorantly unaware. Even as a golfer, I think this is dumb.

But Rep. Mace did something even dumber with her performance on “Meet the Press” this Sunday. Chuck Todd asked her if she thought the Republicans would impeach President Joe Biden if they took control of the House. She answered, “I think that’s what some folks are considering.” Neither Todd nor Mace identified for what reason this impeachment was even being discussed.

That is just in six days.

Borowitz’s book is wildly entertaining, and he is committed to pointing out some Democratic ignorance too. One thing that recent trends are showing, however, is that the ignorance coming out of today’s GOP is leading the league. I think they are counting on nobody noticing.

Michael Leppert is an author, educator and a communication consultant in Indianapolis. He writes about government, politics and culture at MichaelLeppert.com. This commentary was previously published at indianacapitalchronicle.com. Send comments to [email protected]