Takin’ the Quiz

Apparently two bloggers over at the Detroit News Political Blog, John Needham (who is liberal), and Susanna Cornett (who is not), are having a catfight about the Bush Voters v. Voight-Kampff entry here, which has precipitated the Cornett to answer the quiz at length, along with some various snarky commentary about me and that particular entry, including the methodology of the quiz.

Well, I’m not going to try to defend the quiz on methodology; it clearly has a bias (mine) and I’m clearly trying to provoke. If I wanted to write a legitimate survey, I certainly wouldn’t toss it off in an hour on my Web site. I think the questions are not without merit, but the point for me — aside from the general ventilation of my brain it affords — is to ask whether people are voting for Bush by reflex or voting for because they’ve actually thought through their reasons for voting for him. There’s no real point being nice when you ask someone that; you might as well make them defensive about it and thereby in a mood to justify themselves (it worked on Cornett, in any event). One could just as easily create a similar quiz for Kerry voters, although that one would not be me, because I have no interest in doing so. Point is — Voting by reflex, bad. Voting from thought, good.

Cornett writes:

Please note that I understand Needham will not accept my answers as honest or true, nor will Scalzi, because they don’t want answers – they want a stupid stick to beat me with.

I don’t speak for John Needham, but personally I’m thrilled she tried to answer them honestly as possible; why wouldn’t I be? Just because I think nearly all people voting for Bush are stupid, ignorant or hypocritical doesn’t mean I can’t be wrong. Really, I’m getting sick of having to remind people constantly that I don’t think my opinion is a direct analogue to reality. People clearly need a refresher course on what the word “opinion” means.

Now, as it happens, I think some of Corbett’s rationales are a tad slapdash; it’s easy to pronounce things like “the Clinton economy was a false bubble of prosperity” and hope people don’t pay attention to the fact Bush’s tax policies went far beyond economic stimulus and became tantamount to a fire sale on my kid’s fiscal future for the benefit of the really really rich. And I think she’s living in some strange parallel universe when she says “The primary initiative was accomplished in Afghanistan before the Iraq war.” Nor am I any less convinced Bush and his administration is not in fact, monstrously incompetent, and a vote for Bush is a thumbs-up on letting the dim rule the roost.

But on the other hand, why don’t you go over and check her answers to see if she’s convinced you she’s not ignorant, stupid or hypocritical for supporting Bush. Who knows? She may, and bully for her if she does. I’d rather have you hear from someone who thinks she has good reasons for voting for Bush than just listening to me confirm yet again what you already know I think about the man. Yes, I think Bush is incompetent, and those who vote for him crazy enablers. But I don’t want you to take my word for it. I’d rather have you think for yourself.

19 Comments on “Takin’ the Quiz”

  1. John, if you’re an über-liberal, then we have really let our standards down. Or I should go join the Communist party and stop calling myself liberal, because you’re several yards to my right.

    I tried to read Susanna’s essay, but my finger involuntarily twitched and hit the Command-W (close button) when I got to the “false bubble” of the Clinton prosperity. Er, false because it didn’t last forever? Or because it was under a Democratic president? Either way, calling economic fluctations “false” is so far into the political hogwash zone that I realized I’d get absolutely nothing from anything else she said.

  2. Well, “false bubble” may be redundant and a rhetorical device, but it’s not entirely inaccurate to consider an economic bubble like that “false” prosperity. It certainly wasn’t built on much more than new, unknown technologies and naive hopes surrounding them. I do sort of agree with the sentiment that the large scale economic swings are pretty independent of the administration they happen under. Clinton can’t be credited or blamed very much with the growth of the economy centered around ultimately false expectations about teh intarweb, and nor can Bush be blamed for the bubble bursting. However, one can judge an administration on their attempts to pick up the economy. So, “Bush made our economy suck” is pretty much false, but “Bush could have done a much better job fixing it” is a realistic statement.

  3. I was also struck by the branding of John as an “uber-liberal”. Having someone go Ann Coulter on someone else doesn’t predispose me to thinking that they’re necessarily going to be rational and well-reasoned.

  4. Having read through Needham’s past posts, and comparing them to Cornett’s, I’m mildly impressed by Needham’s gumption. Cornett is much, much better at smacking people over the head with the rhetorical pen (or keyboard, as the case may be).

    And I can see how Cornett is in such a snit. I think Needham must literally have pushed Every Single One of her buttons….

  5. Hmm… After reading her answers to the “quiz” very carefully, I continue to believe the initial thesis that Bush voters are stupid, ignorant, and/or hypocritical, with Cornett sitting rather firmly in the third camp, with a dash of the first mixed in for color. Her answers were either complete bullshit (yeah, Afghanistan is a real bloody model of democracy in action), an attempt to blame prior administrations, or the standard “Yeah, but the other guy’s worse!” This is all typical for political tools, I guess, and the Dems certainly have their fair share of useless partisan hacks (e.g. Carville), but the sight of this fuckwit comparing this administration’s current habit of making people disappear without trial to Waco with a straight face is a sight to behold.

  6. John’s an uber-liberal? Man — then I must be somewhere to the far left of Michael Moore.

    Anyhow, feh. I found nothing particularly new or persuasive in her responses. “The country is in much better shape than you liberals want to believe, and anything bad that happened on Bush’s watch was really Clinton’s fault.” Alrighty, then. Guess I won’t vote for Clinton this time!

  7. Same old same old.

    “You do it, too.”

    “Liberals this, liberals that.”

    “Business beats government.”

  8. I just wish she answered the quiz. I found her responses very non-responsive.

    Hmmm…. must be something in the water.

  9. Heh, I wondered if/when this little exchange might show up on Whatever. I’ve been encouraging Bush voters to take a peek at it, and I admit to *especially* encouraging Susanna Cornett to take a look at it. Her answers struck me the way that one of the commenters in the thread predicted: challenge the questions.

    Ah, as she put it: “Fine. As Scalzi would say, “whatever”. I’m done with Needham and his dishonesty. No more answering questions, no more even reading his posts…”

    Oh, and in one of her posts, she said of me “Apparently Scalzi is his hero.” With all due respect, a hero? No, sorry. I’m just a reader, like most people here….

  10. John Needham writes:

    “With all due respect, a hero? No, sorry. I’m just a reader, like most people here….”

    Damn. I wanted to be the Wind Beneath Your Wings.

  11. “Would you settle for Dirt Beneath my Feet?”

    I’d prefer to be the Pearls Before Your Swine.

  12. “Really, I’m getting sick of having to remind people constantly that I don’t think my opinion is a direct analogue to reality.”

    Well John, I think I’ve found your problem: you’re assuming such folk are both _able_ and _willing_ to see the difference.

    Alas, all your wonderfully witty, intelligent and insightful commentary is no more than crude fuel for the rising flames of these professional victims’ full-time martyr complexes. Frankly, they wouldn’t know finest Oscar Wilde from monkey poop, and couldn’t care either as long as they can find a way to fling it at somebody.

    A minor tragedy of the commons, but them’s the breaks; prolly best to buy a hat and mind anyone with a bucket and brown hand-smears on their shirt… :p

  13. “Really, I’m getting sick of having to remind people constantly that I don’t think my opinion is a direct analogue to reality.”

    Perhaps you need a Starbucks-meets-porn-site disclaimer on the front page: “WARNING: The discussion you’re about to enjoy is extremely hot. Click [I agree] to continue.”

    Sad, isn’t it?

  14. This may already have been mentioned elsewhere, but during the last San Francisco mayorial race, The Wave magazine called each candidate under the pretense of an interview, administered the *actual* Voight-Kampf test, and printed the transcripts, along with a predictor of which candidates were really replicants. It was amusing to see which of the candidates figured out what was going on.

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