Weekly Links for 2/6/10 — New and Imporved

Yes, “new and imporved” was a joke.  But I have decided to add fewer links in these posts, but more explanation/analysis of each one.

Conservative Voters’ Opinions;  The most amazing little-known event this week may have been a new poll that shows what rank and file Republicans believe about the Obama Administration and other matters.  The results are…amazing, and give one a sense of the pressure GOP Congressmembers are under not to cooperate with the Democrats on anything at all.

Here’s a simple table that summarizes the poll results, and here is the poll itself.  It’s unbelievable, as this short analysis shows.  Almost 40% of Republicans think Obama should be impeached and that he was not born in the United States!  One-quarter think he “wants the terrorists to win” and one-third are “not sure.”  Only 8% think openly gay people should be allowed to teach in public schools, and a majority [correction: one-third] want contraception outlawed.

Now, some conservatives are deriding this poll, because it was done for the very Liberal Daily Kos website.  But, Kos just commissioned it; a reputable polling firm conducted it.  The questions are straigthforward. not worded to get a particular response, as sometimes happens.  Also, why would these results be surprising in any way?  These opinions mirror what is repeated on talk radio, Fox News, and conservative websites all day, every day.

Of course, not all Republicans believe this stuff.  And, BTW, only about 30% of voters self identify as Republicans (25% Democrats, 40% independent).  But, politicians have to accomodate their party’s base, especially in an off-year election like the one coming up in 10 months when the most ideological voters vote in greater proportion.  This is a real problem for anyone who has the “bipartisan” fetish.

Obstructionism:  Besides keeping the base happy, why else does it work so well?  Read this.  Short answer:  Voters don’t follow procedural stuff, so when government is paralyzed they blame who is “in charge” even if they’re really not.

A Pox On All Voters, Too:  I think this rant against voters’ ignorance is misplaced a little.  We should not expect voters to know a lot about public policy, just like I don’t know much about how my appliances work.  Still, I can’t dispute this, either:

“I don’t mean to suggest that honesty is what separates the two parties. Increasingly, the crucial distinction is between the minority of serious politicians in either party who are prepared to speak directly about our choices, on the one hand, and the majority who indulge the public’s delusions, on the other.”

Upcoming posts: Links on the Federal Reserve (this week’s topic), and more on paralyzed government.

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One response

  1. These are truly appalling figures.
    There is a polarization happening, a rush
    to extremism and emotionalism, which does
    not bode well for democracy.

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