Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The "Lawful Stupid" Party

Confession time: I'm a nerd.  I've played Role Playing Games (real ones, where you use pencils and paper and dice and (for preference) miniatures) for as long as I can remember.  I played Red Box D&D long after it stopped being TSR's primary product.  I played 2nd Ed. AD&D.  I played Vampire: The Masquerade.  I played the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer RPG.  I played all 3 flavors of the Star Wars RPG (the best version is still the West End Games D6 version).

Through all of this, a few "archetypes" of characters became apparent across all games.

There's always that guy who's trying to be funny, but really is just incredibly annoying.  For him, my brother coined the term "Kinder-malkie," from the Dragonlance Kinder and the Vampire Malchavians (both of which were often played to this archetype).

Another was "Lawful Stupid."  This is found most often in D&D Paladins, but you'll find it across all genres.  The next most often is the Jedi in Star Wars.  The Lawful Stupid character is someone who is supposed to be pure, and just, and a bright shining light of bright shininess.  Instead they come off as naive and, well, stupid.

I'm not even sure why this popped into my head this morning, but it did, and almost immediately I thought of the Republican Party.  Sans the "pure," "just," and "bright shining light of bright shininess" parts, "Lawful Stupid" seems to fit Republicans, especially John Boehner, to a T.

The hallmark of a Lawful Stupid character is that they not only hold themselves to a strict set of standards, but they believe (or act as if they believe) that everyone else holds themselves to those same standards despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  In D&D, this results in the Paladin letting someone go when everyone at the table knows they're a bad guy "because it's in character."  In Politics, it results in last night's "Fiscal Cliff" fiasco, not to mention Romney's loss to the SCOAMT in November.

It's the only thing I can think of that would explain the Republicans' move last night.  Despite the fact Democrats always promise spending cuts "later," and despite the fact those cuts never materialize, Republicans once again took Democrats at their word that we would "address spending later."  How stupid do you have to be to believe that again?

Personally, I prefer to play the Lawful Ruthless character.  This character holds himself to a strict standard, and then punishes others for not in any way he can conceive.  A Lawful Ruthless character would have held the SCOAMT's feet to the fire over his entire failed record- and dropped the term "miserable failure"- as often as possible during the campaign.  A Lawful Ruthless character would returned to the Senate an amended bill that contained the higher, Plan B, tax rate increases and massive spending cuts.

For all his affability, Ronald Reagan was Lawful Ruthless.  He had absolutely no scruples against showing his political opponents in the worst light possible.  To some degree, it was Romney's willingness to do this against Republicans that made some people absolutely sure he'd do the same against the SCOAMT.  That never happened.  John Boenher appears not only to be unwilling to drag his opponents' names through the mud, he seems bound and determined to show them in the best light possible.

If Republicans are going to both win national elections and fix the fiscal problems that plague this country, they are going to have to stop being Lawful Stupid, and start being Lawful Ruthless.  Their opponents won't meet them in the ring with referees, so they must be willing to fight in back alleys with brass knuckles, beer bottles, and knives, politically speaking.

We want Republicans to be principled, and forthright.  We never once said anything about "nice."

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