September 06, 2008
Dumb (2000), Dumber (2004), Dumbest (2008?)

As much as it pains me to say it, I think Obama will lose this election. The American public really is far, far more stupid than we tend to give them credit for. A majority of people eagerly buy into whatever Republican meme is being peddled, facts be damned.

As a rather personal example, I have my own father. He loathes George Bush with every fiber of his being. Yet, not two weeks ago my father was telling me how Obama is really a secret Muslim — he knew this because Obama’s campaign symbol is an “O” and that could only mean something Muslim.

I asked him what he thought of John McCain’s campaign symbol — a red star — which happens to be the communist party symbol, and whether there might be some connection to McCain’s five years of being held by communists. No, the red star doesn’t mean anything at all — it’s just McCain’s symbol, see?

Back in 2004, some of us were excoriated for saying the public was stupid enough to buy into all the Swift Boat lies. Yet, as we now know, those lies helped give Bush a second disastrous term.

So you will have McCain running his campaign on the theme that he represents true change in Washington because he will continue all the policies that you hate — and he’ll add a few more that you despise as well.

Joe Sixpack has no clue — none at all — what Bush’s policies have been. All Joe knows is that Bush did great against those Muslims, and that maybe the economy needs a little perking up. He doesn’t much like Bush, but he probably can’t tell you why he doesn’t like Bush.

Enter McCain, who will promise to perk up the economy by cutting taxes — and everyone knows that works because they’ve been told for 30 years by Republicans that cutting taxes ALWAYS boosts the economy. McCain will talk tough, tough, tough — and Joe Sixpack likes the idea that we’ll be killing more Muslims. McCain will promise to begin drilling off Miami on Jan. 21, and Joe knows gas has been expensive lately.

McCain will present every existing Bush policy as though it is his very own, and he’ll tell Joe Sixpack that the existing policy is change. And because Joe doesn’t really pay any attention to these things, Joe will think McCain is actually promising change from Bush’s policies.

And Joe will be constantly reminded that John McCain — who owns four (or six, or nine) houses, flies in private jets he personally owns, has held exactly one private-sector job in his life (and that for just a few months), wears $500 shoes and $2000 slacks — is just a regular guy. Obama, however, is a rich fat-cat elitist who eats funny-sounding vegetables and is just so out of touch with Joe.

And a majority of voters will joyfully pull the lever for McCain.


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Posted by Moe Blues at September 06, 2008 01:08 PM
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For those who weren't readers of Bad Attitudes in our early days, a note on the return of Moe Blues. He's an editor, outdoors writer and political consultant headquartered in Vermont. Welcome back, Moe, and I hope to God Chuck's right and you're wrong about the coming election. But hey, what do I know about politics? I wrote for Mondale in 1984, the year he creamed Reagan in Minnesota and the District of Columbia.

Posted by: Jerry Doolittle on September 6, 2008 3:48 PM

Welcome back Moe. I've missed your good economics lessons. So what are we in store for? How bad is it?

If McCain gets reelected I realize that we're doomed, not that we might be already. But let's say you're wrong and Obama wins. Is it even possible to fix this economic mess. What are we going to do to pay the national debt? Inflate the currency?

The future doesn't look bright on the economic front no matter who wins. But I sure do hope you're wrong. But if even 40% of this country votes for McCain, India and China may turn us all into rickshaw pullers no matter what happens. Any educated working person should not be voting against himself and if that many of us are that uneducated, we are doomed. And I might just have to get out while the getting is good and go find a good corner in Beijing, buy a rickshaw, and offer up my services.

Hopefully we'll here more from you and get the answers to some of these questions.

Posted by: Buck on September 6, 2008 5:30 PM

I STILL can't believe that Bush was re-elected in 2004. My white neighbor was still sending me stuff like "look at Obama making fun of the Bible" until I cut him off at the balls. WTF was he thinking sending this to a Black women? Well, he said, maybe you'll listen to Thomas Sowell. Yeah. Imagine that.

I am so angry that this post is so right-on-the-money.

Posted by: Bendra on September 6, 2008 5:52 PM

I hope I'm wrong about McCain's chances, but the overwhelming stupidity of my fellow citizens does not give me hope. As George Carlin pointed out, we need to consider how stupid the average person is, then remember that half the people you see are even dumber than that.

The economy is a whole other kettle of fish--one I hope to get to in the next couple of days.

Bendra--I know the emails of which you speak, and there are many, many more frothing out of the right-wing noise machine not that Obama is the nominee and not just an ascending star as he was back then. The closer we get to the election, the more likely it is that some Republican or right-wing supporter will call Obama a n*****r in public. Having spent far too much time mixing with Republicans over the last 8 years, I'd put the probability of this at about 90%. Yes, they are racist boneheads, and their numbers are legion.

Posted by: Moe Blues on September 6, 2008 6:06 PM

They don't think Barack Obama is a Muslim. They just say that in order to avoid using the N-word.

Posted by: Mahakal on September 7, 2008 2:19 AM

"Community Organizer" is the new code word for black activists. Just like any time they want to take away civil rights, the code word is state's rights.

Posted by: myth on September 7, 2008 4:37 AM

I fear that you may be right. My hope, though, lies in voter registration. Here in Monroe County, PA, and around the country, we are out registering the White Party by ten to one. On the ground we are way, way ahead of the White Party on phones and door to door. The race factor remains central. I tell the young, paid workers and volunteers that they must not never underestimate the power of racism in this country. The White Party has been dwelling in those ideological precincts for decades, and winning. Also I don't tell them that life will always break your heart. They'll learn that soon enough.

Posted by: Bill Doolittle on September 7, 2008 7:17 AM

As a former public defender from the rural south, I stay in contact with many of my former neighbors from back home. One guy I know, who is a funeral director who has been a Democrat all his life, had "never vote for Republicans" no matter what how much you dislike the candidate drilled into him by his dad who remembered the Great Depression in detail. And he has followed that precept all his life. And yet, he won't vote for Obama this cycle. I challenged him on why and I told him that I knew it was because Obama was black, which he wouldn't deny at first, and finally admitted. And in Central Pennsylvania we have the same types of people (which was quite a surprise to me when I moved here). I see Confederate flag license plates on the fronts of cars here all the time. Go figure.

The state my funeral director neighbor is in is red as can be so I'm not going to bother trying to turn him around. But racism is a real problem in this country and we really haven't made much progress in too many areas since the late 60's when Johnson's policies were a great help to many African Americans.

I can only hope that Obama can turn this thing around. But the polls are not looking good at the moment, but McCain was able to take away Obama's election bounce by announcing Palin just a day or two after the Democratic convention was over. And there are millions of rednecks in this country, who Joe Bageant says inhabit almost every state in this country. And they do not vote for their best interests and have no understanding of politics and the importance of policies. They typically vote for someone because "I like" the candidate.

I can only hope the pollsters are not polling the right people. The young people who are internet savvy are quite enthusiastic and do understand how they're being screwed. I can't do too much knocking this cycle because of a bad back (three epidural shots in the last 6 months) but I'm going to do what I can to talk my neighbors into voting for Obama. But I think Bill has it right. Of course, if Obama does win, the Republicans will be crying voter registration fraud and will use that in the next election cycle. But I'm somewhat cynical about the economic situation. Obama is going to be constrained in what he can do if he wins. If anything, a new Justice Department will be able to go after some of the crooks who have tried to steal the country lock stock and barrel. But I am reminded of Ross Perot's warning of the "giant sucking sound" Nafta would create. With our huge debt and the nationalization of the mortgage debt, the current World Free Trade agreement will now cause that huge sucking sound to resonate worlwide rather than in just North America. Not that it isn't happening already.

But I still think Obama can turn this around. But we've got to follow the Gahndi model and quit insulting the uneducated redneck element. I know these people and that just fires them up even more. They're certainly aware that things are bad and that the Republicans have been in power all these years. But why isn't anyone saying that the Republicans had 6 full years to drill, and did nothing about the oil problem, and now want to blame their failure to do so on Democrats, even though they had complete control of Washington from 2000-2006.

And as you know, the oil is running out and we have paltry amounts left. And renewables are here and now and could almost or completely eliminate our dependence on foreign oil in twenty years, maybe much faster, if we act now. But George Bush has wasted 8 years with his fealty to the oil barons. We can't stand any more of it.

And Moe, you and I had a bet a while back and I said if that whatever we disagreed on came true I'd go to Beijing and pull a rickshaw. I can't remember what the bet was, but if I lost, Moe, don't hold me to it if Obama wins.

I plan on staying around to help get the renewable energy infrastructure built. And when that happens, it will be an exciting time, although we're all going to be working our asses off to get it done. I just hope we don't have to wait too long. It's something we need to do now.

There's a lot of pessimism all around and we can't let it stop us from trying to turn this thing around. Because the polls are still very close.

Posted by: Buck on September 8, 2008 9:18 PM

I live in proudly, suicidally redneck Daytona Beach, Florida, surrounded by Joe Sixpacks. Moe summed up that worldview quite well, and the genuine threat it presents. The thing is, Joe Sixpack seldom bothers to vote. You'd be amazed at how many Joe Sixpacks also have a felony or two, and in Florida, you have to really work at it to get your voting rights restored. That's the frayed thread of hope I'm clinging to, personally.

Posted by: Jennie Smith on September 12, 2008 3:25 PM
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