Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Naked and Apathetic Vote

Obama and his media poodles have announced that a new crisis is upon us. Voter apathy. Naturally the apathy is only a crisis because it affects Democratic voters. If voter apathy threatened to keep Republican or Independent voters home, the media would suddenly be running stories about how voting is overrated. But since voter apathy might actually cost the home team, it's the enemy.

The plans for fighting voter apathy are as varied as they are stupid. A Chicago advocacy group is unveiling "Vote Naked Illinois", a gratuitous attempt to spice up absentee ballots. Considering that this is Chicago where interesting things happen to ballot boxes and their contents, a more honest name might be "Votes Missing in Illinois".

Then there's the usual pop culture appeal. Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will trudge over to Washington D.C. to pep up the youth vote, as only two white millionaires on the cusp of turning 50 can. Depending on their musical guests their rally might draw a few thousand college kids, but will get a hundred times the coverage that Beck's Restoring Honor rally did. The timing of the Liberal Ivy League Snots rally may actually undercut the Democratic party's election program, but you can't have everything. Or anything at all.

The real problem for Democrats isn't apathy, and it can't be jumpstarted with celebrities and viral campaigns. You can try waving shiny things at an audience that is old enough to vote, but not old enough to drink, but they get bored easily. Worse yet they grow up, start looking for jobs, paying taxes and looking at their IRA's. And then unless they can get a job smirking into the camera while speaking in a bored monotone on a comedy channel aimed at viewers half their age, they're going to have to grow up. But the Democrats' liberal agenda is incapable of growing up with them.

After some time at a party with Obama, a lot of the country would like to put the adults in charge. And the portion of the country that doesn't care and is incapable of voting intelligently, call it the Meghan McCain vote, or the "Obama is Gonna Pay My Mortgage" vote, is either too distracted or too bogged down by the challenges of the real world to show up. And the Democrats are frightened like hell of facing voters who actually own property, work for a living and don't read Doonesbury. They're so frightened that they're running in the other direction, and trying to associate themselves with Bush, or at least disassociate themselves from Obama.

But why haven't the other voters shown up? Because the Obama administration doesn't have a whole lot to offer anyone who isn't an insider. The unions will come out for because they got paid. The pols will come out because they got paid. But why should the average Obama 2008 voter bother? That's the real voter apathy that Democrats are afraid of. And they should be.

To many of those voters Obama is the one who is naked. The progressives and their dimmer college counterparts who thought that voting for Obama meant ending the War in Iraq and killing all the policies they don't like, think they've seen the emperor naked. Some of them will show up, but grudgingly. They will show up to vote against the Tea Party, more than to vote for anything relating the Democrats. Which is why the media keeps tossing out the red meat, as much to motivate their own ranks, as to smear a populist opposition movement.

But relying on the countervote, only testifies to the basic weakness of the Democrats on the issues. They have nothing to sell themselves on, so they're stuck stirring up hate like junior league klansmen. Their only signature piece of legislation is ObamaCare, and it has vanishingly few fans. That means instead of running on their accomplishments, they're back to telling spooky stories about Republicans and right wing extremism. What they've forgotten though is that going negative says more about you, than it does about the other candidate. If your only campaign plank is, "My opponent is a monster who eats babies", even if you're right, it still doesn't do anything to sell your own candidacy.

And so the Democrats are stuck with no defining issue. For seven years, the Republicans had national security. Obama was supposed to have the economy, but now the economy has him. After 9/11, most Americans wanted an administration that would go after the terrorists, and that's what they got. After the onset of the recession, most Americans wanted an administration that would fix the economy. Instead they got irresponsibility and bailouts of everyone who gave the Democrats money. And a healthcare government takeover that they never asked for. If Bush had responded to 9/11 by focusing on farm subsidies and gay marriage, the Republicans would have been in for a major disaster in the midterm elections. And that's exactly what the Democrats are in for.

The ugly truth about voter apathy is that it's one sided. The voters who are apathetic are Obama supporters. And there's a reason that they're apathetic. It's because Obama, Pelosi and Reid have been apathetic to everything but a narrow agenda, that was heavy on the pork, and light on the substance. For anyone who wasn't a UAW or SEIU member, or a Wall Street banker or involved in Green Technology, there was nothing on the table.

The media wants those voters to care about burning issues like judicial appointments and the makeup of congress, but those are power issues, not policy issues. There's no policy on hand. Just about who gets to drive the car and who has to ride in the backseat. For hard core liberal policy wonks, this is their bread and butter. But most of them are already employed by D.C. or waiting till the next primaries when candidates will be bidding for their support. For the average worker, all this is a non-issue.

With the Meghan McCain vote too busy watching the Jersey Shore, the election may well be decided by the hard-working Americans who have suffered the most. And they're not going to vote in response to pop culture pressure from Saturday Night Live or famous musicians. They're going to vote based on what will help insure they can put food on the table and shoes on their kids' feet. The Ivy League may fume, but it can't compete. And the sad spectacle of Zoe Lofgren taking Colbert's snotty Harvard Lampoon material off campus and in front of congress, while ordinary hard-working Americans were waiting to hear about tax cuts, only highlighted the huge gap between the liberal elite and the rest of America.

Liberals frame apathy as the opposite of their own state of self-righteous outrage. In their worldview there is only room for the apathetic and the outraged. And those who are apathetic, they insist just haven't woken up to realize what the country will be like when it's just like one of those movies in which we all live in a totalitarian state which looks like an office park, and only has two colors, blue and blue-gray. But most voters who don't have full time jobs drawing weekly comic strips for alternative papers don't embrace such apocalyptic fantasies, and instead cut through all the chatter to the bottom line. The media successfully elevated Obama to the Man of the Hour, but they haven't been able to keep him there, because you can fool the people once by selling them a pig in a poke, but you can't fool them once the pig is out in the open.

Now the pig is out, the emperor is naked, and his base is apathetic. Why shouldn't they be. Most of them are trying to earn a living too, and only have so much time to waste on maintaining a takeover that isn't paying them any dividends.


Paul said...

What the Democrats need is another fake "third party" like the Tea Party is for the Republicans. Make the disaffected party members think they are striking out on something new.

But notice that here in California with the governor's race looming, the Tea Party is nowhere to be seen. Any attempts at fake "third parties" is bound to be eclipsed by the Decline to State voters who have really have had it with the whole "two party system" facade and really are striking out on their own.

It's a little way out of the Sultan's turf, but I'd like to know what he thinks of the Whitman versus Brown race. It looks like the Democrats have nothing to lose here and real Republicans, nothing to gain.

Anonymous said...

Paul, most of the folks that are in the Tea Party do not consider themselves to be in a fake third party. They see that the option has been between the devil and the deep blue sea for far too long and want something different.

A true American IS something different, we understand what the Tea Party is all about. We understand why men took arms on April 19th, 1775 and fought against politics as ususal in the form of Great Britain.

There are so few among us that even understand what Liberty is today, never mind to pledge our sacred honor to capture it, then establish a government to keep it. The current two party system is disgusting orgy of creating more dependence than imaginable. Promising another man's property to the 'underprivledged' is how the ruling class hope to get re-elected. Independent, sovereign, rifle shootin', rootin' tootin real men would not vote for them.

Massachusetts Born
Dangerous old man

Paul said...

I am seeing many news references to the Tea Party as being an actual political party. But it isn't anything like a political party at all.

Anon, I appreciate your cynicism, but you must see that the Tea Party is really nothing more than disenfranchised and disgusted Republicans. And if you are fed up with the Republicans and the "two party system" then why not really shake them up and pitch getting rid of the primaries? Strike a blow against both the Democrats and their siamese twin Republicans?

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

if you get rid of primaries, you end up with a political system in which all the candidates really are the same

Keli Ata said...


Give them time and even the Tea Party candidates will go sour. It's the nature of politics--power, money, and special interests hand in hand.

The only real solution is term limits. Don't let politicians become addicted to fame, power and fortune.

I'd be more enthusiatic about the Tea Party if some of the candidates weren't so out there.

And it seems that in a couple of cases the Republicans have embraced a Tea Party candidate. Only time will tell how many of them will become as dysfunctional as the Republican Party has been of late.

Sorry. I can't help it. Throwing Lazio out in the breeze and embracing Paladino was just plain wrong and irresponsible as all get out.

Paul said...

"if you get rid of primaries, you end up with a political system in which all the candidates really are the same."

The whole problem with the primaries is that it gives a political system in which all the candidates really are the same. That is the first argument AGAINST the primary system.

Another argument for getting rid of the primaries is that no longer would voter party affiliations be a part of government records. Without government records of party affiliation, gerrymandering is no longer possible.

Term limits are also another good idea. It has worked well for the presidency, except the presidency should be restricted to a single term.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Primaries create an imperfect ideological test for candidates to pass. Without that test, the current situation gets worse, not better.

Gerrymandering doesn't require voter records, a common form which involves minority residency can be done using census records, or other predictive factors, or for that matter telephone polls.

Term limits are an option, but they don't address the underlying problem, they just move the existing people through it faster.

Anonymous said...

Alas, you can't vote stupid out with stupid people voting. Exhibit A: California.

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