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Archive for November, 2008

Obama’s Election

Posted by penuruloki on November 19, 2008

I really hadn’t intended to comment on the presidential race any more. There seemed to be little to comment on until Obama takes office. After all, now that the decision has been made, there’s no point to slamming the policies that he preached on the campaign trail; might as well wait on comment on the policies he supports in office.

My election posts may have been a seemed a little harsh. Even those who disappointed me in their willingness to process political information and produce a rational decision were not what I would consider truly “ignorant” in a general sense, which is perhaps why I expected more vigor and commitment in taking a political stand. Voting for Obama (or any lefty) doesn’t make you a blather idiot. I just expect otherwise intelligent, educated people to be able to express their reasons coherently.

But the question could definitely be raised about how much Obama’s supporters really knew about him and his policies, not based on the assumption that leftists are necessarily ignorant or stupid (which really wouldn’t be a fair assumtion about anyone who forms and defends a personal political agenda left or right), but in the context of an election where policies and issues were very poorly covered by the media in general.

Well someone has asked the question. Zogby was solicited to poll Obama voters about exactly what they “knew” going into the election (the scare quotes are used for a specific reason!).

The actual press release is here, with full poll results available here. Yes I could have just linked the blogs and right-wing web sites that trumpet the results (and they are easier to wade through if you’re short on time or effort), but I consider a link to the source more trustworthy. Rumors of poll results don’t rate a post even on my personal blog. =)

Sadly, while the results are depressing, the conclusions that can be drawn are limited, not based on sample size or bad poll tactics, but by missing data. Where is our data on what _McCain_ voters knew. How accurate was their “knowledge” of the candidates and the race? Did their “knowledge” match the typical Obama voter (with different reactions) or did they “know” and entirely different set of facts? I really wish someone would commission a matching poll to find out. It would make these results a lot more interesting.

And the scare quotes?

87 percent said that Sarah Palin was the candidate who said she could see Russia from her house. Actually, it was Tina Fey who said that.

I’m not surprised that Obama voters got their information primarily from traditional media sources (the correlation between what they “knew” and media coverage seems the only solid conclusion that can be drawn from the poll), and that the notable bias in reporting for this cycle are reflected in the results. But pulling “facts” from a satirical sketch comedy show? This could be a YouTube effect, where most people that saw the clip saw it out of the context of the show and mistook it for footage of Palin. I have a hard time believing that people saw it on SNL and thought it was real. Correction, I have a hard time believing that many people _watch_ SNL anymore.

I considered the possiblily that the question might have forced people to guess, but “Not Sure” was an option on every question (one of the reasons why percentages are so low). The majority of those who picked an answer was right most of the time. The exceptions were the above question, and “Which candidate said their policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket?” Where voters put their weight behind McCain (who is more environmentally sensitive than Bush, but hardly pro-bankruptcy for our energy industry), when it was an Obama gaffe relatively late in the campaign.

At any rate, feel free to look at the poll and comment on what you think. Attack it, defend it, whatever. Maybe I’ll get my wish and someone will put up somthing more comprehensive.


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Posted by penuruloki on November 7, 2008

As usually, I can find expressions of my thoughts echoed in the writings and speeches of those more eloquent than I. The Heritage Foundation recently published an article by Wilfred M. McClay titled The Idea of Change in American Politics: Meaningful Concept or Empty Promise?

The article is long, but well worth the read. Perhaps most striking is the quoted observation of Alexis de Tocqueville:

“Men living in democratic countries, then, are apt to entertain unsettled ideas, and they require loose expressions to convey them. As they never know whether the idea they express today will be appropriate to the new position they may occupy tomorrow, they naturally acquire a liking for abstract terms. An abstract term is like a box with a false bottom; you may put in it what ideas you please, and take them out again without being observed.”

Don’t be surprised at what Obama and the liberals in Congress pull out of that false-bottomed box marked “change.”

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Election thoughts

Posted by penuruloki on November 7, 2008

I’ve been meaning to comment on the election, but I’d been hoping to wait for it to be over first. Democrats are still voting, and likely will be until they can claim victory for Franken, but I’ve waited long enough to comment at this point.

The meme being shoved down our throats by the media is that this was an election about hope. If that’s true, I have very little left for this country. It isn’t simply that Obama won and I’m a conservative. I’m old enough to have watched the ’92 and ’94 elections, where Clinton won, albeit from a greater distance. Political junkies all know that they can’t win all the time, and despite the significant irreparable damage I expect to be done by liberals over the next 2-4 years, there is an inevitability to losing elections in a country that is closely divided politically as we are.

What has sapped my hopes for the future is the human response I saw during this election cycle. I have several friends who lean democrat, and whether I could change their minds or not, I did feel obligated to make some small attempt to sway them. My failure to do so is unsurprising given my history, but their reaction is troubling. Over and over, I was basically told by most people I talked to that they didn’t want to hear about Obama’s campaign finance fraud, or his associations with those who hate this country as it exists today. Conversely, the only statement of support they could muster was some vague notion of wanting “change.” Everyone wants some changes made, and any new administration will bring change. Bush ’41 was a change from Reagan, and he was _in_ Reagan’s administration! Yet no one ever articulated what they wanted changed, or what changes they expected from Obama. For all intents and purposes, they approached the polls as willfully blind as they could possibly be. They worked as hard as possible toward their own delusion.

Is this where the Republic is at now? Integrity of law and process, and rational decisions by the electorate matter less than some grand public display of emotion? Do people care so little about their future that they cast their vote so lightly and so carelessly? That isn’t to say that _all_ Obama voters are ignorant of what Obama’s policy tendencies actually are; some are certainly for exactly the future he wants to pursue. I’m _less_ worried about those people because while we disagree, they at least cast informed votes for policies they want. I understand that. I don’t understand voting blindly on principle, and I have to admit that I’ve lost a great deal of respect for those who voted for Obama.

I also don’t understand all the talk about “unifying the country.” This is a liberal meme predicated on the idea that conservatives piss people off and are “dividers,” but somehow everyone likes liberals. It simply isn’t true. Obama hasn’t unified ideological differences in the country. All the election has done is put a different group out in the cold. Instead of liberals being left out and hating the policies of their president, it will be conservatives. Please don’t insult me by pretending that Obama stands for _anything_ that I stand for. It simply isn’t true. It’s part of the delusion. The country is still divided. It’s just a different group that will complain.

As a final note, after Obama was declared the winner, I asked Pete (who was watching the returns with me) how the stock market would respond the next day. Without hesitation, he predicted a 500 point drop. It turned out to be -486 at closing time, which is incredibly close for an off-the-cuff prediction. It went up by a similar amount on election day, so there was the possibility that the drop simply represented some profit-taking. Turning in a similar drop the next day might suggest that the election was a factor though. So far today the market hasn’t moved significantly. It will be interesting to see if the post-election drop is permanent.

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