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Welcome, one and all: tonight Rogue Rubber Chicken (RRC) Awards proudly dish out our top prize for unswerving, unrivaled National Gullibility by an American electorate. To counter threats to democracy, we at RRC recognize pivotal teaching moments when seemingly sentient fellow citizens are repeatedly suckered by bizarre campaign flimflam. And the 2015 prizewinner [drum roll] . . . that gaggle of quadrennially-gulled marks . . . Iowa's GOP primary voters. We leave it to democratic sociologists to unpack why, for Iowan Republicans, April Fool's Day strikes daily and lasts 24 hours.
No other throng matches Iowa's record to prop up a parade of defective favorites whose ideological fixations are excelled only by dismal unelectability. First Trump, now Carson? Our award identifies the heartland exceptionality marked by excess vulnerability to embrace one celebrity jester after another. What other state primary approaches Iowa's knack to plant political kisses of death? Awestruck by such buffoonery, one wit dashed off a new state motto: "Fool us Hawkeyes once, shame on you; fool us twice, the shame is all ours -- that's who we are." Is there something in the water and corn fields or only the fundamentalist church pews?
For the secular RRC, nothing better dramatizes what happens when Biblically-rutted, faith alone zealots jam enough hoaxes and conspiracies in their peculiar lock box, parsed by snake oil mountebanks whose fifteen minutes of fame looks ten minutes too long. Savvy observers note method in the madness: lucrative book sales and tours surge, even FOX TV signing bonuses. Who says Sarah Palin, the queen of cheap shots, incoherent fumbling, and intellectual fraud, doesn't leave get-rich-quick schemes in her wake?
And now the topper: despite indisputable corrections to outrageous Carson lies (plus campaign concessions), Iowa's finest minds plunge on, eager to transmogrify vacuous hustlers into sainted martyrs. And the predictable blowback to too much truth: they all yell another "media witch hunt." Palinesque witches do stalk the land, embodied by slick pretenders who lie so convincingly their deceits only confirm messianic status. Who says the midwest, prairie flatlands are boring? Collective, divinely-ordained gullibility always merits a big headline.
Inverted Learning Curve
And this year we confront a double whammy, starting with the boorish Trump, then capped off by switching loyalties to Carson, the least qualified, least coherent WH candidate since Herman Cain. So much for fundamentalist thought processes as yesterday's star becomes today's tiresome joke. Not just any congregation switches from being taken in by Trump's veneer-thin bravado to embrace something more ominous in Carson, the instantly sanctified con artist with slicker moves than any mere real estate braggart.
Who else but the sociopathic Carson detonates his own "juvenile delinquent redemption" narrative with such unforced errors, rife with self-serving fables? Why, even Trump then gets to parade his faux outrage at this "psychopath." While Trump bellows his own "I am the greatest" brassiness, he can't match the soft-spoken, true believer hustler who went after his mother with a hammer or a relative with a knife and, despite this busy mayhem, found time to reject a non-existent, non-offered West Point scholarship for which he never applied. Is there a special heavenly do-over ploy, geared for the dissembler whose popularity relies solely on personal history, then lies about the lies?
For the record, Rubber Chicken anticipated fulsome dismay at our choice. Why single out Iowa cornpone when rightwing Know-nothings stalk red state primaries? Serious competitors emerged: goofy Duck Dynasty fans, flag-waving, redneck neo-Confederates, and scary militant-secessionists bracing for tomorrow's federal incursions. The only real competition (in numbers and duration) remains the unrepentant band of pathetic deniers who distort, then defy modern science on evolution, climate change, and human reproductivity. Yet none matched the Iowa gullibility lurch from Trumpism to more ominous Carsonism. His lies and plagiarism, denied endorsements on video of medical quackery, and concocted life stories make Michelle Bachmann sound nearly normal.