American Elephants

We Really Have to Start Paying Attention! by The Elephant's Child

I don’t believe it. President Obama assured us (angrily) today that he did too have a mandate from the voters, and they want his tax plan with a big tax increase on the rich and the Republicans just better get with the program. Republicans, said Mitch McConnell, have a mandate not to raise taxes.

Hispanic voters oppose amnesty, favor amnesty, vote for Democrats because Romney opposed the Dream act, are Catholic and conservative, are Catholic but not conservative, and have very high unemployment, but favor the Obama administration which has caused so much unemployment. As I said, I don’t believe it.

I believe a very high percentage of the electorate are low-information voters. By that term, I refer only to people who don’t pay much attention to politics. I do not insinuate that they are uneducated, unintelligent, or anything beyond the fact that they just don’t pay attention to politics until an election comes along, and don’t know much about the participants.

I have heard it said many times that there are large numbers of people who do not make up their minds as to how to vote until they get into the voting booth. I have listened to ardent Obama supporters who clearly have no idea what he stands for, and endured diatribes from Lefties who are happy to enumerate all the reasons that right-wingers are despicable, none of which are true.

As far as that goes, high-information voters don’t necessarily agree on much of anything either. Interviews with American college kids indicate a vast unfamiliarity with the Constitution, the Declaration (and the difference between the two) current events, history, and what each of the major political parties stand for.

Republicans, in general, are absolutely opposed to Big Government, but what precisely is meant by Big Government? And what is wrong with being big? Amity Schlaes, author of The Forgotten Man: a new history of the Great Depression, says Americans have forgotten the disaster of big government.

Do Americans suddenly like tax increases and bigger government? Or did they simply forget what happens when you raise taxes and make government larger?…

The conventional wisdom before election night was that ballot initiatives were separate. Voters may not mind voting for a man or woman who might permit higher taxes down the road. But the same citizens, we told ourselves, would hesitate to vote yes when confronted directly with the prospect of a precise rate increase on the page before them. …

My own analysis is that this is a sea change, though not quite the kind Democrats will advertise. It has been a long time since Californians exploded with rage over property taxes and since the economy struggled under the egregious interventions of the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations. Voters don’t really recall the 1970s, or what a mess price controls and strange tax regimes yielded.

So they aren’t really aware of the strong possibility that the new mandate for tax increases and bigger government is likely to yield similar economic challenges. It looks as if we have to repeat history if we are going to remember it.

Understanding what is going on in the economy demands a steady attention to politics and the news.  But the mainstream media (as they like to call themselves) have been throughout the campaign merely the press arm of the Obama administration, covering that which will favor Obama and simply not mentioning that which does not.
Benghazi, the worst scandal ever to threaten to bring down an administration, has gone unmentioned, unless you happen to listen to Fox News. Four Americans were murdered by administration refusal to act.
How is this possible? The House is holding hearings, but General Petraeus is resigning and won’t be available for testimony, and Hillary is off to Australia, so she’s not available either. So there’s hardly anyone to testify, and nobody will pay attention anyway because we’re all tired of politics, and soon nobody will remember that there was ever a place called Benghazi. What country did you say that’s in?
The campaign experts tell us what each small sector of the various voting groups thought and what their votes mean, and their opposites in the other party describe the outcome differently, and it is all largely hooey. When people find out that their taxes are going up by $3,800 or so in January, and learn that their kids are each in debt to the tune of over $200,000 as their share of the future, and we are deep in another recession, maybe they will start paying attention to politics, because only informed citizens can change things, and without some change there’s not going to be much hope.

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