Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Welcome to the wonderful world of "change"

Where the likely November face-off will be the Democrat's establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, against the Republican's establishment candidate, John McCain (don't let the squabbling fool you, he's completely acceptable to the money-boys).

A triumph of name-recognition, establishment press support, and money. We should all be proud.

And kudos to all those low-information independent voters that made the previous year of near-endless debates and campaigning absolutely worthless, since policy doesn't matter a whit. You voted for "straight-talk" McCain, since he's such an authentic person, and for Hillary, because of fond memories of Bill. That's using your noggin!

November is looking like a race where the Washington Post will be happy with either as a winner. And we'll be in Iraq for 10 more years.

UPDATE2: Yes, the Washington Post loves McCain and Hillary Clinton. From Wednesday's editorial:
Mr. McCain offers a ... clearheaded approach to the threat of Islamic extremism and unwillingness to abandon his support for the war in Iraq, even when it threatened to cost him his bid for the presidency, are admirable ...

... Ms. Clinton ... has .. a sophisticated understanding of the dangers and opportunities the United States faces in the world. [...] ... Ms. Clinton has had the more sophisticated approach [than Obama] to how to deal with Iraq
UPDATE: And explanation of sorts for this voter behavior from Tapped:
... I saw up close just how uninformed the average voter is when it comes to policy. (And remember, an Iowa caucus-goer is part of an elite group of just 11 percent of eligible voters!) I heard that John Edwards seemed to really love his wife. That Hillary Clinton would bring Bill back to the White House, where he belonged. That Barack Obama was charismatic. I would press voters to tell me what policy proposals they were drawn to. This question was often met by a reassertion of just how honest, hard-working, or attractive Candidate X was. Other times, people told me they liked Candidate X's "health care" plan. What about it did they like? Well, it was a plan. And health care in America is messed up.
I simply do not understand this. Do people care if they "like" their accountant or opthamologist? Or do they care is said person is capable and can lay out a plan (i.e. policy) that is best suited to accomplishing a goal? Make no mistake about it, we are still in a period where likeability rules (i.e. personal attractiveness). It helped Bush Jr. tremendously, and we can all see how well that worked out.

Things will have to get a lot worse before people sit up straight and understand the basic issues of the day, but that will take a long while, especially with a press willing to misinform.


Do people care if they "like" their accountant or opthamologist?

Yes. Absolutely.

I have gone to doctors with credentials out the yin-yang proudly displayed all over their walls who were horrendous. I have gone to a registered nurse at a Minute Clinic, whose command of English was not great, who I trusted and "liked" more, and who did better by me.

People don't care about policy. They vote on gut and "like." They are low information voters and far outnumber those of us who might look into policy differences of candidates. This is American democracy, enabled by our horse-race press coverage.

I don't "like" Hillary. Some of it is substantive, but if I am honest, much of it is "gut." Maybe my gut is informed by deep-seated mysogyny, something as nebulous as Clinton-fatigue, or aversion to the cackle. Maybe I've been played by the press or the Great Orange Satan. But I am not sitting here with a sheet comparing policy on the three candidates. And I am a political junkie, for jeebus sake.

By Anonymous Tinfoil Hat Boy, at 1/09/2008 9:50 AM  

I should have phrased that differently. Should people make "likability" the determing factor in making a choice (e.g. accountant, et al).

And while you may have had good results with people you liked, there are many other instances where the likeable person was a con-man. I'd put Bush in that category.

P.S. Checking my spelling I learned that "likable" and "likeable" are both considered correct.

By Blogger Quiddity, at 1/09/2008 11:41 AM  

Boy I feel your pain on this. But it's not just likability, it's a whole array of grade-school-drama-critic assessments like "authenticity" (as the old joke goes: if you can fake that, you've got it made), "toughness," "humanity (amazing, but I've heard that HRC showed humanity when she misted up), "toughness," etc. etc. etc.

I realize that people want to have some idea of the person they're voting for, but 1) they don't internalize that TV lies about that all the time 2) If you don't know the policies, then the little info you get from TV about these things is pretty much useless.

Reminds me of a quote from Larry David when he was stumping for Obama in New Hampshre:

When a young woman said that she was trying to decide whether to vote for Obama or John McCain, Larry took a beat, and pursed his lips. "Let's see," he said, "one was against the war in Iraq from the beginning, and one wants to keep the troops there for another hundred years. I can see your dilemma."

Curbing New Hampshire: Larry David Stumps for Obama

I realize having a celeb stump for a candidate is a bit of the problem, but at least Larry David was talking about policy in that answer.

By Blogger riffle, at 1/09/2008 7:29 PM  

Quiddity wrote, "And while you may have had good results with people you liked, there are many other instances where the likeable person was a con-man. I'd put Bush in that category."

Huh. In the 2000 election, Bush came across to me as completely phony. Not that I thought Gore seemed that sincere, but at least he didn't have Bush's snarkiness.

Of course, it didn't matter to me because I'm an issues voter.

One exception, though---I do have a serious vibe that John McCain has mental health issues, and I don't want him near the nuclear football.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/11/2008 1:42 AM  

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