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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Question (why do people settle so easily for the “new norm”) Gas prices were under two dollars they go up to five dollars then settle at four dollars the “new norm” The economy running at a nice clip of four to five percent drops down to below two percent then settles at two percent the “new norm” Unemployment was below five percent goes up to nine percent settles at eight percent the “new norm” and the scariest of all a yearly debt of a trillion dollars a year is the “new norm” this seems to go along with what your talking about, people have lost their concept of long term memory which in reality isn’t that long at all. The government has gotten so big people feel totally helpless, and settle for the “new norm”


Comment by hey_sherm

We have a major mystery here, and it is the reason so many Conservatives are thrashing around, trying to understand why we lost an election we should have won. Mitt Romney is a unusually good man, caring and remarkably capable, yet he was successfully demonized by the Obama campaign. He promptly took responsibility for his loss, and went to work trying to find good jobs for his 400 campaign workers. When Sandy hit, he ordered all his campaign buses (at least 2, maybe 3)to New York, loaded up with disaster supplies. Obama, with Christie, flew over the damage with full attention from the press, and was considered to “care” while Romney was not. See this chart.( But I add that I don’t know who Dan McLaughlin is though it was a sample of 10,798 respondents).

Also see this article from Investors Apparently although the electorate is conservative, concerned about the same thing the rest of us are, there was “a glaring disconnect between voters’ ideology and the person they picked to run the country.” 51% say government is too big, 52% say the country is seriously off track, 63% say taxes should not be raised to help cut the deficit, and half want ObamaCare repealed. The Obama campaign was relentlessly negative, entirely about attacking Romney, offered no clue as to what Obama wants to do in a second term.

So apparently Obama convinced voters that he cared about people like them, and that Romney was too rich to relate to ordinary people. Voters thought Obama’s policies favored the middle class because he told them so over and over. Obama was according to reports, an unusually successful student of Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” Republicans apparently don’t need to change their principles, they just need to learn how to communicate them better. And voters believe that Obama is especially bright, and are unaware that he does not understand economics, and from that lack flows most of his policies.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

I tried to debunk the idea that Obama had anything vaguely resembling a mandate yesterday at American Thinker ( . Ignore the nonsense about an electoral college landslide. Focus on the fact that he only won by about 2%. That level hardly constitutes a mandate!

The Elephant is correct in stating that it is low information voters that made the difference. Further evidence of the fine job our teacher’s unions are doing to bring out the best in our kids.


Comment by Jim Yardley

I have a lot of sympathy for low-information voters, but do not excuse them. There was fairly extensive vote-fraud, and the extent to which our deployed military were deprived of their votes is a disgrace. We need some real penalties for election officials who do not get the ballots to and from the military on time, otherwise they will continue to mysteriously disappear. {by the way, nice column, Jim) Whatever happened to that plane that supposedly crashed with all the military ballots? Crash site? Lives lost? Location?

Obama simply repeated his standard campaign boilerplate, which was mostly baloney. He has not cut the budget by a trillion, though he claims a trillion over ten years. Big whoop. Taxing “the rich”is not going to get him the revenue he has been promised. “The rich” have lots of options, and a lot of those businesses who have been filing as individuals are laying off employees and switching employees to part-time (now defined as 28 hrs. since Obama redefined full time as 30 hrs. last year).

Obama does not understand economics, and refuses to listen to those who do. (Alan Reynolds emphasized this point) He does not change his mind. He has figured out his intellectual theories, and sees no reason to revisit them ever. We have to learn how to do a better job of communicating. How we get rid of the teachers’ unions and the schools of education is another question, but the education bubble may be coming apart.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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