The voters know squat, thanks to us: Greg Sargent quotes a voter who favors Obama’s policies, but says he would vote for Romney because Obama hasn’t made things happen. Here are Sargent’s perfectly sensible thoughts:
SARGENT (10/21/11): This voter agrees with Obama’s policies, but blames the failure to get them enacted on generalized partisanship and Obama’s inability to roll over the GOP—and is prepared to vote against him as a result."Voters either don’t understand, or they don’t care, that the GOP has employed an unprecedented level of filibustering?” People! Of course they don’t understand! This is from Hacker and Pierson’s Winner-Take-All Politics. The book appeared early this year:
I don’t know if this voter is representative of broader sentiment or not, but I suspect he is, and his reaction to what’s happening is important to flag as a clue to a dynamic we should be watching. Voters either don’t understand, or they don’t care, that the GOP has employed an unprecedented level of filibustering in order to block all of Obama’s policies, even ones that have majority public support from Dems, independents and Republicans alike.
Their reaction, in a nutshell, seems to be: The Obama-led government isn’t acting on the economy? Obama can’t get his policies passed? Well, he must be weak.
HACKER AND PIERSON (page 108): Crucial and basic matters of political process are equally opaque to most voters. In early 2011, as Republicans brought Washington to a halt as effectively as the unexpected winter snowstorms, most Americans had no idea that not a single Republican senator had voted for health-care reform (two-thirds either put the number at between five and twenty or said they didn’t know), and less than a third could correctly identify the number of votes needed to overcome a filibuster (sixty). Well over half of Americans said fifty-one votes were sufficient, or confessed they had no idea.People! Voters don’t know anything! They don’t know how the Senate works. They don’t know what’s in the federal budget. They don’t know how the tax code works. For more examples from Hacker and Pierson, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/31/11.
News flash: This is nothing new!
Why are voters so clueless? In large part, thanks to us! They have been aggressively disinformed for decades by very skillful right-wing machines. During that time, the “liberal world” has sat around diddling its own ying-yangs. When we speak, it's normally to tell everyone else that they’re a gang of slobbering racists. Then we wonder why they won’t do the various things we suggest!
We liberals are a large part of the problem! We aren’t very smart and we aren’t very honest. Over the course of the past three decades, we have been amazingly lazy. Worst of all, we've brainwashed ourselves into thinking we’re exceptionally moral and just remarkably smart.
We are neither. It’s not even close. In many ways (not all), Rachel Maddow is a train wreck—and we’re so dumb that we’re convinced that Maddow is the bees’ knees! By way of contrast, Norquist and Luntz really are good at what they do. Until we get over ourselves and learn how to talk to the public, we are doomed to many more years of gruesome pathetic defeat.
Look in the mirror. The problem is us—although we’re much too dumb to see it. The voters don’t understand? People! Of course they don’t!