Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Guns, God, gays and abortion

I've been trying to think of something profound and original to say about the tendency of many low- and middle-income voters to embrace such issues as guns, God, gays and abortion, and to vote against their own best personal interests.

Having failed to come up with new thoughts of my own, I will take the liberty of quoting two extremely insightful letters-to-the-editor in the Sept. 8 issue of the New York Times.

The first one, written by Kathy Roberson of Middlesex, N.J., has this to say:

"One thing President Bush has done well has been to get so many people, often at an unconscious level, feeling that smart or educated or intellectual equals un-American.

"The result has been that the less educated you sound, the more of a patriotic American you are perceived to be.

"In this way, Mr. Bush and other wealthy elites have been able to install policies that hurt poor working- and middle-class Americans, while casting as snobbish elites those who think in nuanced ways about how to solve the real problems of ordinary Americans.

"We live in a world of staggering complexity. As the last eight years have shown, we ignore that at our own peril."

This is the other letter, which was written by David Rawson of New York City:

"The Republicans are blowing the usual smoke to get working-class people to vote against their economic interest.

"Can you imagine Americans voting for John McCain to strike a blow against the wine-drinking, brie-eating coastal elites and denying themselves a decent health care system, a better economy and competent leadership? Believe it. It could happen."

End of quotes.

Of course, what Mr. Rawson describes did happen eight years ago when George W. Bush was elected.

I fear that it is now more likely to happen again because of Sarah Palin's selection as the Republican nominee for the Vice-Presidency and the enthusiasm it has evidently stirred up in the Republicans' "conservative base."

From what we can glean about the Alaska governor, who is being sheltered from public scrutiny until she is well primed, her political and social opinions can best be described as primitive.

Once again, as in the past two Presidential elections, this election is likely to degenerate into a Republican campaign on "family values" and those old election standbys--guns, God, gays, and abortion. The Democrats will have to struggle to put the focus on the far more vital issues of the economy, health care and the war on terrorism.

The Democrats must also stress the threat that the cold war with Russia will be revived because of the Bush Administration's hard-edged foreign policies. Like Bush, McCain is provoking Russia with the campaign to gain admission of former Soviet bloc countries into NATO. (I have always felt that the Soviet Union's collapse made NATO redundant.)

But not to worry. McCain is acquiring expertise on Russian affairs from his new running mate, Alaska's Governor Palin. After all, as McCain's wife Cindy has pointed out, Palin is very knowledgeable about Russia because Alaska is so geographically close to that country, separated only by the narrow Bering Strait.

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Blogger Mari Meehan said...

"One thing President Bush has done well has been to get so many people, often at an unconscious level, feeling that smart or educated or intellectual equals un-American.

Ironic isn't it? How all his fancy parentage and education, he still has trouble stringing together words into a sentence that makes sense.

And Cindy McCain, with all her money, couldn't find a tutor that could educate her beyond thinking the location of Russia gives an Alaskan intimate knowledge of its political structure and philosophies!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008 5:40:00 PM  
Blogger Sylvia K said...

Thank heaven for you, Mort, I've been so frustrated and angry I haven't been able to put three sentences together regarding what I see as a landslide that seems more and more possible to carry McCain into the White House and our country downhill into the garbage dump! I want to say, what are people thinking? when it's obvious they're not. As you and my friend 'Dogwalkmusings" comments, the word has gotten out that smart or educated equals un-American. What has happened to this country?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008 6:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, people who went to college and graduate school do tend to be more foolish and have less understanding of the world than someone who hasn't. After all, if you went to college, you're more likely to believe that men and women are basically the same, that all war is bad, and that higher taxes are better for the individual taxpayer.

College educated liberals themselves don't realize how snobbish and elitist they sound when they talk about common folks being too "stupid" or foolish to vote for their "interest"...as if they know better than the man on the street what's better for him.

I find it ludicrous that you state that Palin has been "sheltered from public scrutiny" when her whole family has been embarrassed in the media because her teenage daughter is pregnant. And she is pro-life, so of course her social opinions are primitive, right?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008 6:54:00 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

That was as ever, an excellent read. Thanks Mort.

When are you going to do an article on the separation of church and state. It seems as though in the past eight years, that is a fundamental principle that is at greatest risk.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 12:31:00 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Has anyone else noticed how often the word 'elitist' appears in slurs against Obama supporters? That seems to be Karl Rove's word for this election. Of course it's a code word for uppity. Elitist doesn't mean wealthy obviously, so it must mean we liberals thing we're so smart. I have news for them; we are smart and we look at facts not ideology.

If the lower and middle class don't know by now that George Bush's economic polities have hurt them (and it's going to get worse) by now I guess it's hopeless to point reality out to them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 9:35:00 AM  
Blogger Chancy said...

Abortion, Gay Marriage,and the like are smoke screens intended to divert the attention of voters who do not chose to think for themselves while the important issues of the day are ignored.

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Great column, Mort. This election has already degenerated into a soap opera. Very few of the real issues are being discussed. I think a lot of people's minds are so adulterated from watching silly television shows that they have no idea how to evaluate a political candidate. As long as the candidate is attractive and somewhat sexy, they seem to be able to get away with being ignorant.

Friday, September 12, 2008 4:49:00 PM  
Blogger Kay Dennison said...

Well said, Mort! I am an college educated, under-employed former soccer mom and I understand every single issue in this campaign. I have no patience with the many "one
issue voters" who swallow the tripe
being spread by the candidates. I make my decisions based on what will be best for the country -- not my personal agenda.

I think both candidates have their flaws and don't remember the last time I was so disappointed in what is available to me for presidential

These are desperate times and they call for desperate measures. Neither Obama nor McCain are providing any common sense answers.

What's the answer? If I knew I'd be running for president.

Sunday, September 14, 2008 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger ~Kathi said...

Hopping over from Ronni's weekly summary, I am pleased and comforted by your well-spoken analysis and those of most of your commentors. I'll share them widely.

Elizabeth may have it right, sadly: most of tv indoctrinates 'truth and values' via shallow stories and surface solutions, and the rank and file are falling for McCain's lying political ads like dogs for a bone. The politicos KNOW this and consciously manipulate us for their own greedy, craven ends.

"Uppity=elitist" also speaks to this cynical pandering of the lowest sort. But it just boggles me how folks can/will really vote against their own dwindling pocketbooks and obviously dreadful healthcare realities, not to mention an illegal despicable war! If McCain and his liars prevail, we're in a sorry sorry soup; let's work hard to speak the truth....thanks for your cogency! ~Kathi

Sunday, September 14, 2008 1:34:00 PM  
Blogger Jerry550 said...


Shana-Tova to you and your family.

Another great column. I suppose it's all part of the dumbing down of America. Let's not forget 2000, where Al Gore was mocked as a "policy wonk." As if that's supposed to be bad. I want a policy wonk in the White House instead of somebody who doesn't read the newspaper and who belives gawd is authorizing his foreign policy.

As for the comment that Palin has been embarrassed in the media because her teenage daughter is pregnant. If she kept a closer watch on her daughter and told her that there was another way other than "abstinence only," then she's have no reason to be embarrassed. And let's face it, if were Obama or Biden who had a teenage daughter who was pregnant, the election would be over.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 6:31:00 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Once again you've explained it beautifully. What is wrong with the American voters that they can so easily be fooled?
My favorite McCain/Palin ad is where they call each other mavericks and say "John McCain took on the Republicans and reformed Washington and Sarah Palin took on the Republicans and reformed Alaska." REALLY ????
Couldn't prove it by me or anyone else....just words and more words.
Oh, yes, and I love the speech where she mentioned the Palin/McCain ticket...I'll bet John M. was thrilled about that !

Friday, September 19, 2008 5:38:00 PM  
Blogger newwine said...

Just to briefly address Corpsman's striking generalization:
"After all, if you went to college, you're more likely to believe that men and women are basically the same, that all war is bad, and that higher taxes are better for the individual taxpayer."

I have 4 college degrees and I don't believe any of those statements. I have numerous friends who went to college who would not believe any of those statements. You need to get out more and listen to less propaganda, perhaps even drink beer with a few college-educated people. You might even KNOW some, and not know it, because they seem so sensible to you! Have a happy day.

Sunday, October 26, 2008 12:13:00 PM  

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