The Ryan Rampage
Posted on January 11, 2017
For those of you unacquainted with creationist politics, it is a truism that you cannot usefully engage in formal debate with science denials. The “Gish gallop” is one of the reasons. Duane Gish, a professional creationist debater, could always throw out an immense number of falsehoods in a very brief period of time. Since each falsehood takes at least two or three minutes to disentangle, no scientist debating with Gish had any possibility of leaving the audience with an honest appraisal of creationism. Instead, Gish left the audience believing that evolution is “controversial,” which was his real objective all along.
Now the right wing Congress has generalized the technique to the field of legislation. They are front-loading an immense amount of mischief and even criminality on a hurry-up schedule into a short startup period before the new President has even been sworn in.
The net result is that no newspaper can cover it all, and no organization can testify in opposition to all the things they hate (because they are being considered in multiple simultaneous hearings), and no groups have time to organize effective coalitions. It is not the just the appointment hearings, but also lots of stuff being snuck into Congressional rules and budget plans. At best, public outrage will be able to head off a small percentage of the thievery. At worst, attention will be so diffuse and unfocused that all of the thievery will go through. This is yet another technique for right wingers in Congress excluding the public from participation in the public’s business.