May 2011

Political analysts love labels – think ‘soccer mom’ or ‘NASCAR dad’. The Pew Research group, for one, has identified many groups –  a new one is the ‘disaffecteds’ who are best described as ‘pro-entitlement, anti-government voters’. They are distrustful of the leftist parties associated with ‘big government’ and vote Republican.

They tend to be social conservatives, isolationist and nativist. Poorer and less educated than average citizens, they are more likely to cite religion as very important to them. They love their guns. They are more likely to have suffered unemployment. They are drawn to ‘populist’ movements like the ‘Tea Party’. And they are very scared.

A review of the 'disaffecteds' position on the issues

Conservatives misread this Republican voting bloc as being in favor of smaller government. The ‘disaffected’ say they are. But they are actually against the ‘faceless bureaucrat’ – the federal boogieman – who wants to take away their guns, tell them what to eat, turn a blind eye to ‘illegals’, put sodomites in their schools and take away their ‘freedoms’.

But don’t touch their Medicare. They want the reach of government to be narrow but the social net to be wide.

This dichotomy was starkly illuminated by the results of a special election in a deeply Republican district in Western New York. The focal issue was the Republican plan to replace traditional Medicare with a voucher plan. The district (where once Conservative stalwart, Jack Kemp was a representative) fell to the Democrats, who improved their share of the vote by 21%. (The seat was open because the previous Republican incumbent, Chris Lee, had resigned, after using his shirtless image to solicit women on Craigslist without telling his wife).

It is interesting that the importance the ‘disaffected’ give religion doesn’t translate to a greater equanimity. Fear and religiosity exist together. But whether fear drives people to religion or religion makes people scared or religiosity and fear are symptoms of the same psychology, I do not know.

Liberals will be quick to point the finger, but religion should not be reduced to simplicities. Even evangelicals are not as doctrinaire as portrayed – a majority believe that there is more than one way to salvation. (Even 15% of atheists are fairly sure that god exists).

Americans are not well educated on the political issues. Why should they be – most politicians aren’t either. Nobel laureate economists disagree with each other, but lawyers, small businessmen, ex-military, doctors and the children of saloon keepers are certain they know the cure for what ails us and when voted to office weigh in on a $14 trillion economy without even the benefit of Economics 101. On reflection I am surprised that more people aren’t on their knees beseeching God for deliverance.

Politicians used to tell people what they wanted to hear and then travel a more moderate path (Reagan and Clinton were especially good at this) but now the ‘new-right’ has forced the ‘old-right’ to do what it said it was going to do – which has really caught the ‘disaffected’ off-guard.



Life as a tennis tournament.

May 29, 2011

Imagine that life in a country is a tennis tournament – say Wimbledon. Everyone in a country gets to play in the first round but as the tournament progresses there are fewer players until only one is left. Prize money is awarded. How far you get depends on many factors; some inherent – skill, application, […]

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The biggest lie

May 28, 2011

It is hard to decide which Republican lie is the biggest. But here are some of the candidates. ‘The Ryan plan balances the budget’ – ‘Cutting taxes increases tax revenue’ –  ‘Cutting Government spending stimulates the economy’ – ‘America’s energy problem  can be solved by more drilling’ – ‘Business can regulate itself’ – ‘Climate change […]

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Random thoughts

May 26, 2011

Undefeated A documentary on Sarah Palin’s political life – “The Undefeated”- is being released in Iowa (site of the first Presidential caucus) this summer. The title is accurate as you can’t be beaten if you chose not to fight, if you chose not to debate anyone who disagrees with you and you hide behind Facebook […]

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May 24, 2011

Harold Camping and the supply-siders Harold Camping predicted the Rapture 1n 1994. He was wrong. He predicted it for 5/21/11. He was wrong. He is now predicting it for 10/21/11. Do you think he is right this time? Ronald Reagan predicted that tax cuts for the rich would ‘trickle down”. He was wrong. George W. […]

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Why fear is very expensive

May 23, 2011

An over-sexed French troll attacks a house keeper and for five minutes the media is full of stories about the dangers of hotel jobs. A shark attack kills a surfer and nobody wants to go in the water. A congresswoman is shot at a community meeting and for two weeks the gun debate flares, burns […]

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Really? 5/22/11

May 22, 2011

Aphrodisiac Men would love to know what would make them irresistible to women. Money, power, sense of humor, good looks. bad boy persona? How about an alligator? Dewayne Yarbrough, 43 of Chicago told the police, who came to remove his illegal alligator, that he had one – “because chicks dig it”. What Atheists know The […]

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Really? 5/21/11

May 21, 2011

Americans realistic about weight – fat chance A recent survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation shows that only 8 percent of Americans believe they’re obese, even though 34 percent of us actually are. You are what you eat. Fields of watermelons have been exploding in China after been treated with forchlorfenuron, a chemical […]

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Exactly who does power corrupt?

May 20, 2011

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” So says P.J. O’Rourke, in his inimitable style. But O’Rourke is a humorist and not an economist. It is his job to be funny – not to tell the truth. After all, he might equally well have said that […]

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