A bit tardy, but a similar story appeared over a month ago on fivethirtyeight.com. Newsweek recently reported that respondents voice strong opposition to Obama’s healthcare plan…until they learn about the details.
This actually is similar to a fascinating book called Why Americans Hate Welfare by Martin Gilens. In it, Gilens finds that welfare is despised by many people in this country. To be honest, that’s not too surprising – on standard “feeling thermometer” tests (“On a scale of 1-100, with 1 being cold and 100 being hot, how do you feel about xxxxxxx group/person?”), the only people who who rate below those on welfare are “illegal immigrants.” For reals.
What is surprising is that Gilens found that, when welfare was broken down into its components, it received significant support from people surveyed (e.g., people who despised welfare were the same ones who would argue in the next breath that welfare and unemployment were necessary). It was an interesting disconnect, and one that Gilens (convincingly) explained was a result of racial prejudice. In other words, when respondents felt that the poor were Black, the prevailing attitude was that these were “undeserving poor’ who were unfairly leeching off of the government and taxpayers.
So why the disconnect? It’s a combination of the Democrats not properly conveying the message of healthcare and the Republicans contributing to the disinformation campaign. I’m still baffled as to why Obama just doesn’t hammer this “31 million people without healthcare.” Seriously. Drive that home. Get a bunch of people to do testimonial commercials, sell out and put helpless children up there…do whatever you need to do. At some level, Americans have to have some sort of compassion for something like this. If not, we’re worse off than I thought.
Secondly, we have the aptly-named Republican Noise Machine (though I would have gone with the catchier “Republican Constant Bitchfest,” but whatever) throwing out a steady stream of “blah blah socialism blah blah blah death panels blah OMGEE COMMUNISMS!!!11!!1!” Back in the day (when he was relevant), Rush Limbaugh was significantly better at driving down opponents’ poll numbers than raising those in his own party. This is more of the same.
Still, the fact that these ideas are still embraced is enough to make one hopeful about the entire process.
Yesterday Jared’s in-laws sent him this video of this latest conservative malcontent in an effort to explain (and justify) to him how they feel
Since Jared’s too polite so send a response (actually, he’s probably composing one as I type), this is how I would have handled it:
Hey, I just watched your video on YouTube. I had some thoughts, if you’re interested. This is going to be lengthy, but rest assured that it won’t feel as long as that joke of a speech I just watched.
I disagreed with practically everything you said, but honestly the way you said it pissed me off the most. Was that speech written by a ninth grader? Honestly, replace “president” with “our school rivals” and it sounds like something you’d hear at a pep rally—a quickly-assembled, poorly-planned, sparsely-attended pep rally.
Let me recap your speech for you:
Something something incoherent point something something inaccurate description of the American revolution something something something failed comparison something something awkward personal anecdote something crazy-ass example something painfully awkward acknowledgement of armed forces something failed attempt to rally crowd. BEAT STATE!
It was painful. You try to compare this struggle to the Revolutionary War (did you get your information from a Mel Gibson movie?) to try to set-up your call to arms (literally) at the end. You offer what might be the vaguest, most generic critique that make Sarah Palin look like a keen political mind (lower taxes, cut spending, create jobs, change this country’s attitude!), like you were afraid of offending any one of your potential voters. Then you build your case by making a comparison to someone who “won’t be paying for gas under Obama.” Hey, I can generalize to a larger population based on one person too! Timothy McVeigh had ultra-strong right wing beliefs. That means all Republicans love blowing up children in nurseries! Wheeee, what fun!
Oh, and great timing, Allen. Way to speak out now. You know why you didn’t “go down and tell my children that I didn’t have the courage, the commitment, the conviction, or the character to fight for this country” Allen? Because you were too busy going down on George W. Bush for the last eight frickin’ years.
What has Barack Obama done to upset you so much that it prompted you to spend 13 whole minutes writing that speech? Was it the fact that he’s trying to provide healthcare for everyone? Was it when he lifted the ban on stem cell research? Tried to salvage relationships with other leaders from around the world?
You want to talk about “freedom” and “liberty,” where have you been for the last eight years, you ignorant asshole? Where were you when Bush passed the Patriot Act and made warrantless wiretaps and rendition not only legal, but also acceptable? When Bush invaded Iraq and got thousands of Americans killed for phantom WMDs? When Bush used cronyism to erode our government, causing us to be unprepared for natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina? The first bailout? The second one? Where were you, you selfish hypocritical sonofabitch? Oh, it was okay then, because politics is just like a sports game and you want your “team” to win, even if that means the downfall of this country.
Oh, and my favorite part of your speech? That “bayonet” bullshit at the end. What does that even mean? THAT was your solution??? Like so many other people in your rapidly-shrinking base, all you can do is bitch. Bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, BITCH. You don’t want universal healthcare? How about providing a viable alternative, something other than the typical Republican wet dream of building a time machine to transport back to the halcyon days of the 1950s, where it was all bobby-sox and malt shops. Actually, Allen, if you opened your history book past the 1700s, you might be disappointed to find out where you end up in that Republican paradise.
But I digress. Seriously, do something other than complain. If you’re a member of the opposition party, you have to do something other than saying “Nuh-UH!” That way lies madness and, I think, a Monty Python sketch. How about you go back to your room, get out your crayons, and come back to the grown-up table when you want to have a real conversation.
Lastly, I want to be extremely honest with you, Allen. You’re not a viable candidate. You’re an amateur pundit, leeching off the populist emotions and catering to the lowest common denominator while clinging to the fading hope of staying relevant. At least the talking heads on Fox News get paid to spew their manufactured outrage. You’re just some dupe who’s working pro bono to put the next Republican into office. And it’s not going to be you. You’re doomed to live forever in obscurity, every once in a while opening up your pathetic YouTube clip, staring at the stagnant view count, and wondering what could have been while knowing, deep down, that you never had a shot.