Steel City Cowboy

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Let's Just Take Away Their Vote

To read and listen to many of today's pundits try to handicap the Democrat primary campaign heading into West Virginia and Kentucky, you would think that we should probably just not let those people vote. The nicest euphemism that's come up for these voters is "uneducated." I guess calling the people of these states who have inconvenient viewpoints "uneducated" is kind of like calling blacks or hispanics "voters of color," excepting the fact that it is used in a derogatory fashion. So, the more appropriate comparison would be if pundits referred to blacks voting for Obama as "those people *wink* *wink*." Of course, that would never fly, and neither should this other form of bigotry.

What's the criticism, really? I have heard one local talk show host go on for days about how Senator Clinton is courting the "stupid whites and hillbillies," suggesting that it's a shame if that's your only constituency. Far be it from me to defend Hillary as her domestic policies are about as far removed from mine as can be (although as Glenn Reynolds suggests on numerous occasions she might field a much more aggressive foreign policy than a Republican President), but I feel like I have to chip one in here for her, and for the people of Kentucky and West Virginia, both the educated and uneducated alike.

From an intellectual standpoint, choosing the President of the United States is a ridiculously complex task. Voters have to take a measure of a candidate, everything that they have said and done, decide how much of that is truthful and how much is show, then decide how any of that is relevant to the job. Then, they have to sort through the bad stories that the other side has unearthed or manufactured. The sheer amount of information available on which to base the decision is staggering. However in my opinion, there is no evidence so far that people with a superior education choose a superior candidate.

What is the job of President and how do people, even the Highly Educated (including myself: Ivy League, etc.), make that call? I think that when it comes down to it, people recognize that the job of President is in fact an Executive position. Yes, there are policy initiatives and speeches and all of that happy crap. But when it comes down to it, the President is there to act when a tough call comes across his desk. At that point he (or she) won't be going over how the different alternatives reflect on the policy paper they had on their web site during the election. They'll do what they think is the best thing to do. Exactly which forms of legislation will cross the President's desk for signature into law? We can guess, but we can't sure. It'll boil down the President's judgment.

The fact that most people understand this at a basic level means that despite any intellectual protestations to the contrary, they choose their President based to a large degree on how well they identify with that candidate. If you identify with the candidate, it means you feel there is a strong correlation between what you would do in a situation and what the candidate would do. And isn't that what all of us want in our President? Someone who would do what we would do when presented with the same set of circumstances?

That is why the pundits should just lay off the people who haven't been brainwashed at a four year institution of high indoctrination. In fact, one could make an argument that when it comes to making the Presidential decision (voting for legislators is a different thing altogether), their opinion, "uninformed" as it is, is just as valid as anyone else's. Well, it's informed, but not with the kind of information the talking heads prefer to distribute.