by Morgan Freeberg | April 23, 2010 9:52 pm
Actually, no. It’s more like Clark Kent accidentally left a piece of red cape sticking out where his shirt was supposed to be tucked in. A colleague and I were working over a piece of code…and I don’t know who brought it up, but somehow the birth certificate thing surfaced. That’s a year and a half on the job, now, nobody knowing if I’m conservative or liberal. As of yesterday it’s pretty well settled: The other guy is in the twenty-seven percent who think things are going in the right direction (hat tip to FrankJ), and Yours Truly is decidedly not.
I should add I’m not really that good at keeping a secret. Folks in the cubicles around me know I’m not a tree-hugging lefty loser. But as of now there’s one guy in the group in which I actually work who has an idea of my political leanings. It isn’t the guy who has been trying like the dickens to find out — the guy who does know, I swore him to secrecy.
My colleague is a truly gregarious gentlemanly sort of guy…not like Joe America who represents the more brutal sort of lefty who pretends to be sociable but just wants to win-win-win. So I think my job over the long term is safe, and my secret is too over the shorter one. Once the opportunity was costless, I had to take it. It’s very rare I have the chance to talk to an Obamaton who is capable of some independent thought. In this case, though, the trouble is that the operative words are “capable of.” There was no independent thought here, other than when Obama was elected, the guy was hugely upside-down in his house and worried sick about what to do. Now things are evened out and he just thinks Holy Man should get the credit. As far as evidence, that is the full extent of everything I heard. Conclusions to be reached? Way, way, way out of the ballpark of what could be supported. Fantastic job, His plans are all working, Joe Biden is really smart, Palin is stupid, and so on and so forth you know the drill.
It’s interesting that a lot of these ideas were what I would call “bumptious,” arriving with subtle micro-broadcasts that challenges to these ideas were not going to be tolerated. What is also interesting, is that while the Obama/Biden ideas were sacred cows, the Palin-is-stupid idea turned out not to be. I cited a couple of examples where Palin outsmarted Obama — I think it was the death panel thing, and the nuclear thing — and that was enough to crumble the rotten floorboards. He said the same thing…word for word…that Hillary-supporting former-colleague of mine said at dinner, at our New Year thing: Something to the effect of “I guess I don’t really know that much about her, I’ll have to go check up on some of this stuff.”
Yes, there is a feeling in the air, at least among Obama’s supporters, that He’s super-qualified for the job and Palin never will be. But those are among Obama’s supporters, the ones who think the country is headed in the right direction, one-out-of-four. And even among them the feeling that Palin is a thick-headed dolt, is really a feeling and nothing more. They feel there are just layers and layers of evidence that she’s a dumb*ss. Once we go into details they realize there’s not a lot there…just that Couric interview…and I think they realize they’ve been snookered.
The Reagan/Carter thing scared him, I think. I’m not like most of the guys on my team when it comes to this time period; I was still underage, but politically aware. Humiliated, actually — I was really gung-ho for Carter in 1976, and by four years later it was just undeniable that everything that could possibly suck, did. Trust me on this: When you’re fourteen years old, you do not want to admit your parents were right about something.
Well, the other guys I work with…the older ones were in diapers during this time. Most of them weren’t even around yet. The time period is worth studying if you really want to get passionate about this stuff, because as a person, Jimmy Carter was & is a reasonably smart guy. His integrity and character are up for debate at this point; the “at least he’s a decent human being” ship has sailed now, since he can’t keep his big anti-capitalist anti-semitist mouth shut. And while his sense of judgment can be assailed legitimately, he has yet to say something like “This is a big f*cking deal” at a Presidential signing ceremony, and nobody is challenging his I.Q.
There was an extraordinarily thick layer of feeling, all around, that Ronald Reagan was a likable dumb*ss.
Also, that the election of 1980 would be a photo-finish. I remember it right up until the Election Day, the one in which I was still too young to partake. Well, it wasn’t a photo finish. The lesson to be learned is that when one contender is saddled with the reputation of being a dimwit, it really doesn’t matter very much, especially if he’s the challenger. The dimwit is probably not doomed; in fact, the dimwit’s chances probably aren’t even significantly degraded. People have to be unhappy with the way things are going, if he’s the incumbent, or pleased with the way things are going if he’s the challenger. If those aren’t happening then the dimwit will end up on top of things when the time comes. It’s pretty much guaranteed.
What’s lost is this: In American electoral history, it’s actually pretty rare for a constituency to support a candidate out of a consensus that he’s perfect. That is the exception to the rule. The norm, is that the voter is forced to make compromises…and he feels pretty damn sore about it, but votes for the lesser-of-evils anyway.
Back to our conversation: My gut tells me that when my colleague insists he’s been “keeping up on the issues” (and then admits he doesn’t know a lot about this issue or that issue), what he’s really talking about is reading democrat party propaganda. I’ve had registered democrats give me these hints before, it’s usually a buzzword that real people don’t use in real conversations, or perhaps a catchphrase. “Pretext for war,” for example. This time, it was the denial that Obama is a socialist. He thinks it’s really sad that the discourse has deteriorated in this country to the point that Obama can’t do something people disagree with, without being called a socialist. To which my response was simply…”‘I just think, when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.’ What other ideas does He need to have, before He is one?” This is the way people are programmed. Even smart people. You make it clear it’s ridickerous to conclude X, stigmatize it in other words, and then when evidence pops up suggesting X people filter it out every time. Heck, they filter out the evidence that proves X. It’s like it was never there, even though they were looking right at it.
I should add that this is Item #11 (and #2, the distinction is a fine one) on my list of ways to motivate large numbers of people to do a dumb thing, without anyone associating the dumb thing with your name later on. There is a lobe in the brain that is built for cognitive thought, and then there is another lobe that isn’t. The latter, for good reason, possesses superiority in the command hierarchy over the former. Stigmatization effectively bypasses reasoned discourse, by activating that second lobe. When stigmatization is deployed in this way, as a political weapon, it works extraordinarily well. Extraordinarily well. Words fail to express.
This guy, in 2012, I think is going to vote for Obama. But I’m not entirely sure about that; I would characterize his support as somewhat shaky, although he doesn’t know it. I think he represents the spectrum that is strongly biased toward Him, but in the end is really just voting for the household pocketbook. My vision is that, although the suffering may be limited (just because I’m an optimist, and don’t like to see people get hurt), the prevailing viewpoint will be that our current President is an experiment, the experiment has not panned out, and it’s a mistake to give it any more time. We can’t afford it.
The dimwit who leaves the letter “g” off the ends of her words? Or the experiment we can no longer afford? Given that choice, Americans have always voted for the dimwit. They may, from time to time, give an experiment with lackluster results four more years of time to pan out…although in the moment, I fail to recall any examples of this…but once the failing experiment has crossed a decision point, they always vote for the other guy no matter how much of a reputation he may have for being a big ol’ dummy.
One thing I did not mention, is that people like me outnumber people like him 73 to 27. In my world, it doesn’t matter; if up is up, wet is wet, and two and two are four, it really is irrelevant how many people agree or disagree. But it’s an interesting question to ponder, what kind of persuasive power this would have on the other fellow if it was brought up. Obama’s slide in the polls is certainly one for the history books. It shatters all records. Truly breathtaking, perhaps the appropriate term is “ear popping,” and it certainly does mean something. It doesn’t mean the electorate is ready to run him out of DC on a rail, tarred & feathered. But it does mean a lot of points-of-view have changed since November of 2008, and that cannot be at all reassuring to those who are tasked with getting Him re-elected.
Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.
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