Friday, November 25, 2011

A key goal in politics is to prevent debate

Watch political campaigns closely and you'll see that party leaderships (and their patrons) want people to feel such hostility towards the opposition--people, party, platforms--that they won't even consider anything or anyone in the opposition.

Both party's ideologues always feel this way. The trick is getting people in the middle to feel that way too--enough to get 51% of the voters to vote reflexively.

The GOP has gotten much of the way there with President Obama. Just recently I had a Republican friend with a BA in Political Science tell me that President Obama is a Fascist, citing his "interference" in General Motors "on behalf of the unions" as proof. Another went out of his way to tell me how much he did not like Obama. "At all." I took him to mean that he disapproved of Obama not just as a president but as a person. Yet another--a devout Christian--told me that Obama is not a Christian, despite him saying so explicitly, because of Obama attending the Reverend Wright's church (the one one damned America in one of his speeches).

And then we have the recent spectacle of Michelle Obama and Joe Biden getting booed lustily when they attended a NASCAR race recently.

When President Obama debates Mitt Romney--or whoever-- next year prior to the election, none of these people are going to consider what the President says. They're already made up their minds that everything he says is either a mistake or a lie.

I plan to test my hypothesis by asking all the Republicans I know to tell me something praiseworthy about the President. If they're philosophical Republicans they should start by praising him as a family man, and laud him for his aggressive prosecution of military action against Islamofascists, including killing Bin Ladin. As well as his having appointed a few Republicans in his branch of government (former Secretary of Defense Gates, most notably)--something he's been doing since he was Editor of the Harvard Law Review. They would also laud his giving up smoking.

But if my hypothesis is correct most of them won't be able to think of a thing--despite the fact that when these people were voting for Poppy Bush against Bill Clinton, some of them were telling me that personal character was the key thing to consider, giving Clinton's hound dawg ways.

But now that we have a Democratic President who has been utterly faithful to his first and only wife and a devoted father to his two daughters, personal character has magically become irrelevant.

Which is why debates don't matter much. Not by the time both parties have a candidate at least. Remember, Al Gore won all his debates with Bush II.

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