Stupid, Ignorant or Hypocritical Update

Documentary evidence for my point of view:

As the nation prepares to watch the presidential candidates debate foreign policy issues, a new PIPA-Knowledge Networks poll finds that Americans who plan to vote for President Bush have many incorrect assumptions about his foreign policy positions. Kerry supporters, on the other hand, are largely accurate in their assessments. The uncommitted also tend to misperceive Bush’s positions, though to a smaller extent than Bush supporters, and to perceive Kerry’s positions correctly. Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments: “What is striking is that even after nearly four years President Bush’s foreign policy positions are so widely misread, while Senator Kerry, who is relatively new to the public and reputed to be unclear about his positions, is read correctly.” (emphasis mine)

Stupid, Ignorant or Hypocritical. You heard it here first.

(On an unrelated note: This is the 600th entry since I switched over to Movable Type. Yay, me.)

9 thoughts on “Stupid, Ignorant or Hypocritical Update

  1. What I find hard to believe is that any majority of Bush supporters believe that he supports the “US being part of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (69%), the International Criminal Court (66%), the treaty banning land mines (72%), and the Kyoto Treaty on global warming (51%).” Especially since his positions have been ably broadcast by the media, opponents and supporters.

    Their description of their polling methodology is somewhat hazy – random selection can mean a lot of things, and polls can be skewed by any number of factors, intentional or not.

    But it doesn’t read right – I get the feeling that PIPA managed to tap into that vast, non-voting segment of the population who are sure where they stand, but do little about it at the polls – like students and the elderly.

    What I’m saying is that you’ve found confirmation of your thesis, John. But that you could probably find another study that would contradict it just as easily.

  2. I think it’s less about policy knowledge and more about image. There’s no way all the pollees, on either side, knew about the issues. A good portion of this country is ignorant of the Pacific Ocean’s whereabouts.

    Dems think Bush is a lot more conservative than the Republicans do. Everyone thinks Kerry is liberal. Which is why “the uncommitted also tend to misperceive Bush’s positions”, but “perceive Kerry’s positions correctly.”

  3. My faith in democracy is at an all-time low. The general public is really not qualified to make a decision. Even those of us who would like to be better informed about the candidates only receive screened news fed out by the parties or fringe-element ramblings on the Internet.

    The fact is that we have really 2 viable choices that are determined within their respective parties and outside of any constitutional process. How much better is this than the old Soviet Union where you voted by got only one candidate? We get 2. Big deal. All I think we are accomplishing is to give a rubber stamp empty mandate to one candidate when in fact the real power is in the hands of lobbyists and corporations and always has been.

    I think the final straw was finding out Bush’s strategy for the upcoming debates. He plans to “stay on topic” regardless of the questions asked. In other words, he will ignore the questions, refuse to actually debate, and simply spout out talking points to his network audience.

    You’ve really got to have faith to believe that your vote counts for something since the evidence is not there. To me it all feels like going through the motions so that we can proclaim our love of democracy and liberty without actually having to do anything.

  4. Hey, it all seems to boil down to faith, doesn’t it?

    The wingers with their Alternate Reality Fields have blind faith in their candidate…or blind faith that the alternate is abominable.

    And in the skeptical middle, I’m still clinging to faith in America’s horse sense. That the other folks in the middle will make the wise choice come November.

    Yes, sometimes I deplore the lack of interest voters have in politics, and worry about how easily people might be getting manipulated. I’m Jeffersonian all the way — education is the best medicine for informed participation is the best medicine for a democracy. But end of the day, this godawful mess of a system *works*, and has worked for a while. I’d rather tweak it than scrap it, yes indeed.

  5. KenL says:
    “And in the skeptical middle, I’m still clinging to faith in America’s horse sense. That the other folks in the middle will make the wise choice come November.”

    I really believe that making a wise choice in November is a null concept. You really aren’t making that much of a choice. The possibilities are narrowed down to 2 people who each have to represent the opinions of half of the country. That’s 150 million people.

    To get to the top of a political party you have to show that you will serve the will of the party and not use your own judgement. Some overly “intellectual” elitists would write off as ignorant those who vote straight party. They’re not stupid, they really get the underlying truth. You are choosing between two mammoth organizations, not individual candidates. “Plain folks” may not be sophisticated, but they have a knack for seeing through complicated arguments to the simple functional truth.

    Anyway, I am still unconvinced that participating in a system that is so fundamentally flawed, not to mention hypocritical, can do anything but validate the system itself. Changing the system from within is really not possible.

    I guess the bottom line for me is I hope that I have as little interaction with government on a personal level as possible. Give me roads and police and I will pay for them (within reason). Don’t give me wars in Iraq and huge social programs that pad the pockets of defense contractors and money swallowing bureaucracies.

  6. Steven says: Anyway, I am still unconvinced that participating in a system that is so fundamentally flawed, not to mention hypocritical, can do anything but validate the system itself. _Changing_the_system_from_within_is_really_not_possible.
    [Emphasis mine]

    So… basically… you believe that American Democracy fails in the goal of peacefully exchanging power from one set of hands to another. Either because democracy is a failure outright, or it’s been corrupted/abused/dominated by outside influences.

    I disagree on historical grounds. Power has been handed over from people who work towards one set of goals into the hands of people who work for a different set of goals several times in American history (a history, which I must add, has always been primarily dominated by a two-party system). The difference is, that right now the groups who have alternate goals from the people already in power are a very small minority. The Libertarians and the Greens represent goals and ideologies different from the Dempublicans (Republocrats?) but the country mostly doesn’t agree with their goals, so they remain powerless minority ideologies.

  7. Good point on peaceful exchange of power. That’s always desirable. Democracy is good on peace (or at least stable government) but not always good on liberty.

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