Saturday, March 7, 2009

Obama and Know-Nothing Voters

NOTE: ON SUNDAY, MONDAY, AND TUESDAY, I'LL HAVE COLUMNS THAT I HOPE WILL BE THE SIMPLEST, MOST HELPFUL PIECES AVAILABLE ON THE CURRENT FINANCIAL CRISIS -- AND HOW TO GET OUT OF IT. PLEASE VISIT. There was an old nonsense game that college guys used to play on spring break drives to Florida. Here's one question: "On the stupidity scale, what's dumber -- a doorknob or a doorbell?" It turns out that the correct answer to that question is: Tim Geithner, the Treasury Secretary who now heads the IRS but didn't pay his taxes. Prior to his current high position, Geithner was head of the Federal Reserve's New York branch, an institution with heavy responsibile for the financial crisis.

In the 19th century in America, there was an anti-immigrant political movement whose members' motto was "I know nothing." With Obama voters, that slogan may be making a comeback.

There's abundant survey evidence that most Obama voters in 2008 were not exactly valedictorian material. It may have something to do with all those homeless types and prison convicts registered by ACORN and other worthies.

As the material below (in smaller print, scroll down) from yesterday's column illustrates, tens of millions of Americans are uninformed about some of the most basic realities of life in America. They are dumber than doorknobs. [Note: If you come here often, please sign up with other "followers" on the sidebar to your right.]

As frequent readers know, this blog is not to be confused with The Complaint Department. In fact, its purpose to come up with solutions rather than to whine about the outrages of any particular day.

As you know, I'm an optimist. I believe "Low-knowledge" voters, the kind who flocked to the polls for Obama, are a problem, but perhaps not an insoluble one. We need to figure out ways to get some basic knowledge to people whose curiosity is extremely limited. Such individuals aren't going to read books about economic declines -- and they're unlikely to tune into Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly.

In whatever way we can we must get our message across -- or they'll continue voting for Obama types until the country is totally bankrupt and devoid of individual liberties.

During the past election, I made a lot of phone calls on behalf of John McCain and Sarah Palin. Like any good caller, I didn't argue with people hell-bent on voting for Obama.

However, in one case, I violated that rule. The person I called let me know he was "totally in favor of universal health care."

I couldn't help myself. I said, "Universal health care . . . does that mean I pay for your care . . . or that you pay for mine?" The man didn't hang up, but there was an extremely long pause on his end of the line. Heretofore, he had been under the impression that he would take -- and someone else would give.

I was making a simple point, one I probably knew about age 5 or 6 The point was that nothing in life is free, NOTHING. Somebody pays for the things we receive, and usually that somebody is us. A political slogan like "universal health care" is not a solution to problem that a service -- like health care -- is costly.

In short, I may have taught the man a basic truth that he hadn't encountered in his many years on earth. Was it the beginning of wisdom for him? Probably not, but it was better than nothing, which is what he knew previously.

Most hilarious opinion survey in history: Opinion Research did a survey for FOX, and here's one of (many) thigh-slappers it produced. When asked where the government gets its money, 65% said it got it from taxes on wage-earners and businesses.

Twenty-four percent affirmed (I love this) "The government has its own money."

Eleven percent said either that it got it from some other source (aliens? payoffs from lobbyists? Christmas gifts?) or that they just didn't know. I wonder whether to worry more about the 24% that think the government has a night job or the 11% who are just plain clueless.

Just before the last election, the BBC in London had me on their early morning radio show and the subject was "low-knowledge voters." These are people who aren't knowledgeable about politics, candidates, the issues -- or, in fact, anything much of social and economic significance.

The Opinion Research survey shows us exactly what the lowest of low-knowledge voters don't know. It could -- and does -- fill all the books in the Harvard Library.How many of the 36% who think the money government spends comes from some source other than taxpayers are Obama voters?

Without more information, I'd hazard a guess that most of them are. As a famous post-election Zogby Poll demonstrated, most of what Obama voters know is true . . . isn't. A majority of Obama backers knew that Sarah Palin said, "I can see Russia from my house." In fact, Sarah never said any such thing. The remark was made by comedienne Tina Fey.

It turns out that many "Obama voters" are that only -- and not much more. That was illustrated in the early December run-off for the U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. It was supposed to be a close race between Democrat Jim Martin and incumbent Senator Saxby Chambliss, perhaps even closer than the tight November election where neither candidate won the required majority.

In fact, Chambliss in December won by a landslide -- 57% to 43%. Apparently, a great many Obama voters -- tens of thousands (and some estimates are a hundred thousand-plus) -- stayed away from the run-off. They just weren't interested if Obama wasn't on the ballot.

Will something similar happen in other states in the 2010 election, when there will be no Obama running? Could be.

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