Why do politicians hate smart people?

By Phil Plait | May 6, 2008 1:15 pm

I pointed out recently about the anti-intellectual gasbag that is Tennessee Republican John Duncan, saying that using experts to help make policy decision is "elitist", like that’s a bad thing.

But now Hillary Clinton has jumped on this make-us-all-dumber bandwagon. Sean basically nails it.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign has been going increasingly off-the-rails lately, between her lying, her pandering (such as on this ridiculous gas holiday issue), and her attacks on Obama that are undeserved and unwarranted. It’s really become obvious to me that she is still in this race due to ego, and hardly anything else. I think the Hillary Clinton of several months ago would have made a good President — and I think that if push came to shove she’d still do pretty well, and certainly better than McCain (but then, I think a ficus would do better than McCain) — but it’s nonsensical garbage like this that pushes me toward Obama.

Let me make this clear: people are generally experts in a field for a reason. They’ve studied it. They’ve experienced it. They’ve done research, published papers, looked at the results, tried to interpret them, made predictions, done further experiments. They learn from what they experience.

That’s why they’re experts.

So when she uses the (oft-cited by Republicans) "elitist" card, then what she’s saying to me is "experience counts for nothing". Which is pretty darned funny and ironic, given that’s that how she terms the struggle between her and Obama for the Democratic nod.

Plus, it’s just stupid. Experience should count, and it must count. The last thing we need is yet another know-nothing Administration that ignores all the advice being given and all the reality taking place around it.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Piece of mind, Politics

Comments (81)

  1. Haate
  2. Are you kidding? She’s even fallen for that vaccines-cause-autism junk!

    As far as Hillary vs. McCain, they both register about the same on my evilosity-meter. As for Obama, I just don’t know: What’s that guy going to actually DO as President? Has he EVER said? And I mean specific policies here.

  3. Quiet_Desperation

    It’s really become obvious to me that she is still in this race due to ego

    Time for a QD Truth Bomb:

    THEY ARE *ALL* IN THE RACE DUE TO EGO!

    I hope this helps. :-)

    The tax thing is dumb, though. I’m generally as anti-tax as you can get, but even I see that the market would just bop the price right back up.

  4. Quiet_Desperation

    As for Obama, I just don’t know: What’s that guy going to actually DO as President? Has he EVER said? And I mean specific policies here.

    He’s made a lot of promises to people, and if you combine that with his record (such as it is) in Congress, well, we will have about a 92% top tax rate for anyone making over $50,000. Or thereabouts. ;-)

    “Tax the rich” may sound good to the ignorant and the infantile, but it doesn’t actually pay for much in the end, and that’s when the middle class needs to start buying lubrication.

    Oh, but it’s for the children, so that’s just tickety-boo.

  5. Quiet_Desperation

    Jon Stewart pegged it here.

    I just can’t get into Stewart. I actually agree with him on a lot of stuff, but there’s just something grating about how he does The Daily Show. He hams it up too much, and I get the feeling he’s tageting a demographic a few branches down the evolutionary tree from me.

    I do like the segments with “PC” from the Apple commercials. That guy’s funny, even though I’m a Mac head. :)

  6. Will. M

    BA:
    This is an example of the standard (and very effective) rhetorical techniques the R’s have been using for decades when describing anyone whom they want to paint as “different” than themselves but especially as antipathetic to their perceived “everyman” base of voters: usually any DemocratIC (another techinque is to try to redefine the opposition into something slightly or wholly unsavory) candidate. The “flag lapel pin” becomes a litmus test for “patriotism;” linking an unsavory action, activity or person to the candidate in question is another highly effective technique – hence the repetitious association of Senator Obama with the actions of the Rev. Wright, or the Regan “welfare Queen,” or the “Willie Horton” smear. One of the most successful of these techniques as applied to any attempts to get a sensible health care program adopted is the decades-old canard of “socialized medicine.” Most voters by now know that this must be a “bad” thing – look at the huge taxes Canada and Sweden pay for their “free medicine.”
    Why these work is that they’re repeated ad infinitum to a public which has little interest in doing any background checking on either the charges or the speakers. It is one of the principal failings of our schools: we don’t teach students how to recognize crapola when it comes from the mouths of these politicians.

  7. Keith

    It’s too bad Obama doesn’t have a website where he outlines all his policy initiatives. Something like that would go a long way to ending all this hand wringing and fretting. I suppose it’s better to just wonder around asking, “But what will he do?!” til you’re blue in the face though.

  8. With all do respect, I do not think any of the candidates will be a good candidate as far as science is concerned. They all are more involved with pandering for votes than actually supporting the sciences. Hillary in her original statements had the most pro-science stance, but she has proven that she is willing to give it all up in order to get more votes and I never was able to trust anything she said. McCain has bowed to the ultra-conservatives who have the worst track record, and Obama seems eager to limit NASA’s funding. Plus they all have jumped into the bed with the Mercury Militia. So as Penn Jillette said, the only way to waist your vote is to vote. Unfortunately my state is not a “battleground” state, so my vote won’t even matter that much, but I won’t vote for any of them.

  9. Doc

    QD,

    With the US economy tanking, with no real industrial base remaining, with our country hemorrhaging money into Iraq for war and the middle-East for oil, do you really expect lower or even the same amount of taxes in the future? I suspect that even if the people elected mannequins into congress and a rubber stamp that said “VETO” into the presidency, we’d still be in debt up to our eyeballs and paying for it for decades to come.

    In terms of the short-term economy, we’re pretty much hosed. So we’re left with trying to figure out which one’s policies will be most beneficial in the long term.

  10. justcorbly

    It’s all just so much insulting nonsense. Here we have the wife of a former president, a current senator, with a net worth of more than $100 million, and she’s yapping about elites?

    Sorry, Hillary. If you campaign like a Republican, I have to assume you would govern like a Republican.

  11. Quiet_Desperation

    With the US economy tanking, with no real industrial base remaining, with our country hemorrhaging money into Iraq for war and the middle-East for oil, do you really expect lower or even the same amount of taxes in the future?

    No. Please point out where I said I did. Hillary promises just as much crap. One of her ads even depicts her placing Christmas gifts under a tree like Santa Claus. Unfortunately, she doesn;t have a magical workshop full of elves to fulfill those promises. *I* get to do that and push off my retirement until I’m 113.

    Remember, kids, if someone criticizes one candidate, it does not automatically mean they support any other to any greater extent.

    Both major parties can collectively jump off a cliff for all I care.

    I suspect that even if the people elected mannequins into congress and a rubber stamp that said “VETO” into the presidency, we’d still be in debt up to our eyeballs and paying for it for decades to come.

    That’s a really odd thing to say.

    Can make a rabbit Pope, too? :-)

    http://www.worth1000.com/entries/231500/231847FlNK_w.jpg

    In terms of the short-term economy, we’re pretty much hosed. So we’re left with trying to figure out which one’s policies will be most beneficial in the long term.

    No argument from me here, other than to redefine “most beneficial” to “least utterly destructive”. Take your pick: Godzilla, Cloverfield or Monster Zero.

  12. David D

    BA–

    but it’s nonsensical garbage like this that pushes me toward Obama.

    You know, you don’t HAVE to vote for Obama. I mean, I would hope that a logical, no-nonsense, pro-science guy like yourself would be able to see the murkiness underlying the Obama persona; after all, he has given “aid and comfort” to some pretty strong anti-science stuff (perhaps he is no different than the other two).

    So what else can you do?

    1. Support someone else. This site (http://www.votesmart.org/election_president_search.php?type=alpha) lists literally HUNDREDS of “other” candidates that you could research and support if they grabbed your fancy.

    OR

    2. Don’t vote. See the Penn quote above about wasting your vote (not “waisting”).

    It is hard to see you supporting Obama, esp. given your stance on science, anti-science, and rationality. I, for one, would worry about
    your credibility if you fell squarely into the Obama camp.

    Just my two cents.

  13. Keith: Don’t treat me like I’m stupid. I’ve READ his website. I’ve READ his Issues page. Either you’re just a blind apologist or you don’t know what the word “policy” actually means.

    Example: “Simplify tax filings” is NOT a policy. Simplify it HOW? Most of the time I spend doing taxes is figuring out my deductions. Will he eliminate deductions? That might simplify things, but how would it make it BETTER?

    Or, “fight for a trade policy that opens up foreign markets to support good American jobs.” Uh-huh. HOW??? What KIND of policy? What will it do to tariffs?

    It goes on. “Fix NAFTA.” Fix it HOW? “Invest in U.S. Manufacturing.” What does THAT mean? More corporate welfare? And if so, why would that work any better under his administration than it did any time in the last century? Come on–SPECIFICS!!!

    No one did it better than the late Harry Browne. He had a whole list of specific actions he would take as President, finishing up with breaking for lunch (they would all be done on his first morning in office). His campaign book, The Great Libertarian Offer, gave specifics on his policies, with details, specific actions, timetables, the works.

    THAT is the kind of thing I want to see. NOT vague promises.

  14. Matthew J. Barlow

    I suppose the next inevitable step in the ‘war on expertise’ would be to dismantle all those ‘elitist’ military units. The SEALs, the Rangers, the Green Berets, any organisation that involves those weird hand signals where you point at your eyes, then at a building, then do the Black Power sign. Any group whose members feel comfortable saying things like ‘sitrep’, ‘delta’, ‘zulu time’ and ‘Go Go Go!’.
    To replace them: The United States Mundane Forces! Doing the jobs quite a lot of other people could do! Protecting America’s interests from anything interesting! Think of the savings to your tax bill. No expensive training required, no specialist equipment needed.
    Remember, only the very average of the average need apply!
    The USMF, be some of what you could be.

  15. Heck, I gave a LOT more information and specifics than Obama on the jobs issue when I ran for County Commissioner:

    http://www.shanekillian.com/issues/economy.php

  16. Eighthman

    I heard some of Clinton on Sunday and couldn’t believe she said that she disagreed with “elite economists.” There’s a difference between being “elite” and being “elitist.” Does she know the difference? (I wish someone would ask her.) She either doesn’t, or does and chooses to obfuscate matters. Either way, respect for her is declining.

  17. Sili

    Does your wife know you’re calling Clinton “mrs” rather than “senator”?

    Not that I have any argument with the substance of the post. If experience is so bad, why do you have to elect politicians to office?

  18. Will

    I agree with Hillary and Duncan. When my faucet is leaking, I call a carpenter rather than some elite plumber.

  19. Tensor

    I would say it’s not so much they hate smart people, but those who actually think things through. That’s simply because those that actually think about it, see through the LCD type of sound bites politicians like to use.

  20. Robbie

    That Cosmic Variance blog post is terrible.

    CV: “(If you actually wanted to save people $40 over the course of the summer, you would just give them $40.)”

    Letting someone keep their own $40 is not the same taking it from them and then giving it back (after it’s passed through various hands of course).

    I have no doubt that this is a political gimmick, but what’s the big deal with that? It’s an election year, you should be expecting all kinds of political gimmick BS.

    CV: “The gas tax holiday doesn’t help “ordinary Americans.” The supply of petroleum during the summer months is essentially fixed, and the oil companies will charge what traffic will bear. If taxes are lower, they will simply charge the same amount and pocket the difference.”

    How do they know this? I thought big companies just jacked up prices to cover the taxes. If there were less taxes why raise the prices to cover the taxes? I know the oil companies are evil, since they make money, but why would they do something so blatant?

    From the economists’ blog itself: “First, research shows that waiving the gas tax would generate major profits for oil companies rather than significantly lowering prices for consumers.”

    So they admit it would lower the prices for consumers a little, and increase profits. Where’s the negative here? Oil companies average something like an 8% profit margin anyway, which isn’t very high.

    “Second, it would encourage people to keep buying costly imported oil and do nothing to encourage conservation.”

    It would encourage people to go about their daily lives and things they normally do during the summer, like visit their extended families and take vacations. The horror.

    “Third, a tax holiday would provide very little relief to families feeling squeezed.”

    It would provide some. How much would it help truckers if they eliminated the $0.24 per gallon diesel tax? They drive a lot, by definition.

    “Fourth, the gas tax suspension would threaten to increase the already record deficit in the coming year and reduce the amount of money going into the highway trust fund that maintains our infrastructure.”

    This one actually makes some sense except for the fact that it doesn’t affect state and local governments and their roads and bridges. And just how good of a job are they doing at maintaining our infrastructure anyway?

  21. davidlpf

    Well Canadian politicians do not seem as bad now.

  22. Synonymous

    No, I don’t agree with Clinton on this issue, but I have more confidence in her, given her other policy decisions, than I do in Obama, whose campaign seems run purely on emotion – a cult of personality and misogyny, namely. I mean, look at those campaign posters – it’s totalitarian imagery used without a shred of irony. If we’re talking about deferring to logic and expertise rather than one’s gut, then I think Obama’s camp is lagging far behind Clinton’s.

    Y’know, I love astronomy, and I love Phil’s perspective on the latest developments in the field. I don’t, however, need another site screaming how Clinton’s EVIL or a c*** or a b****, or I’m evil or a c*** or etc. for voting for her, or how anyone who fails to fall at Obama’s feet in adulation is a pox upon humanity. Yeah, I know BA’s not there yet – but I’ve seen the pattern unravel several times at some of my other favorite sites, and we’ve already got the decrying of vague “unwarranted attacks” and the “EVIL” in the comments already. This post, frankly, seems like an excuse to announce an ongoing open advocacy of Obama, and such exhortations as welcome as doorbell missionaries – less so, in fact, since at least missionaries are in general polite. I’ve seen polite and rational Obama endorsements (the second link above, for example), but most turn into hate-fests.

  23. Cory

    Hypocrisy rules again. She’s convinced she’s “elite” enough to run the country. I totally dis-trust anyone who WANTS to be president…it should be decided like a military draft.

  24. David D

    Speaking of the gas tax holiday, Obama voted for one in Illinois–not once, not twice, but THREE times, and gas was only $2/gallon at the time. He now claims that

    I voted for it, and then six months later we took a look, and consumers had not benefited at all

    . Which is not exactly the case.

    See this article at Salon: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/05/06/gas_tax/index.html. There was only one study that looked at the effects of the gas tax holiday, and it showed “the suspension of the 5% sales tax led to decreases in retail prices of 3% compared to neighboring states. And when the tax was reinstated, retail prices rose by roughly 4%.”

    This suggests that the tax holiday delivered at least 60 percent of the tax savings to motorists.” (quoting from the Salon article)

    Where does Obama get his facts?

  25. I think you might be confusing political posturing with policy. The media has latched on the idea the Obama is not in touch with the people, Clinton is doing whatever she can to bolster that perception.

  26. viggen

    The last thing we need is yet another know-nothing Administration that ignores all the advice being given and all the reality taking place around it.

    I think this really kind of describes common Americans, and not just the government.

    That’s the sad thing about representative government: it isn’t any better than what it represents. Seems to me that the current administration is perfectly representative of a majority of Americans (both Democrat and Republican). The problem with being an expert and/or an Elite is that such a person is in the minority, and therefore will receive less representation. In order to get elected, an official must prove that they will represent the majority, or the interests of the majority.

    The US system contains the innate flaw that it can be no better than the people who elect the government.

  27. Doc

    Synonymous,

    You do realize that neither of those posters were designed by the Obama campaign?

  28. DennyMo

    Sili – “Does your wife know you’re calling Clinton “mrs” rather than “senator”?”

    Umm, yeah, and the media uses “President” and “Mr.” interchangeably when referring to George Bush. Your point?

    Matthew J. Barlow – Hilarious! Nicely “Swiftian” of you.

    As for the gas tax: price drops overnight by $.18, demand goes up, price goes back up, no improvement to my bottom line. Meanwhile, our bridges and roads decay a little bit longer because a few billion dollars that would have paid for their repair was instead “spent” getting someone elected. Brilliant…

  29. Robbie:

    “CV: “The gas tax holiday doesn’t help “ordinary Americans.” The supply of petroleum during the summer months is essentially fixed, and the oil companies will charge what traffic will bear. If taxes are lower, they will simply charge the same amount and pocket the difference.”

    “How do they know this? I thought big companies just jacked up prices to cover the taxes. If there were less taxes why raise the prices to cover the taxes?”

    You’re more right than CV, Robbie. What’s happening is that they’re ignoring the supply side of the equation. While it’s true that demand doesn’t change (and that’s what they REALLY meant by “supply”), the supply curve DOES change because now costs are lower. That means that producers can deliver more product at each price level, which shifts the supply curve to the right, decreasing the price and increasing the quantity.

    Good news for our pocketbooks, not so much for the environment. But then, that’d be the same quantity at that price level no matter what the reason (assuming a stable demand curve again).

  30. Robbie

    DennyMo: “As for the gas tax: price drops overnight by $.18, demand goes up, price goes back up, no improvement to my bottom line.”

    Why would the demand go up? Do you have facts stating that the demand has gone down as the price has gone up? If so, please show us. I thought demand has been steadily increasing despite the rapidly increasing prices. As I said, please correct me if I’m wrong about this.

  31. Robbie

    I just realized an error in my previous post. The demand is going up anyway, as I said. But my point was that it is going up independent of the increase in price. So I think I was still right there, but it didn’t make a lot of sense the way I said it.

    Just to clarify: Why would the demand go up as a result of a reduction in price? Has the demand been shown to slow in increase because of the increase in prices?

  32. davidlpf

    Robbie, more people can afford the gas price, also people are probably filling their tanks before the price went up again.

  33. David Matteson

    There sure is a lot of stupidity in this thread.

    I love Penn but his quote about wasting your vote is pure nonsense. Libertarianism is for the naive and the lazy. Penn falls into the latter category (when it comes right down to questioning his views, he will beg off of the issue, and he admits himself he hasn’t researched in detail many issues that he has strong opinions about.) You’ll be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of Penn, but that’s the truth regarding his political opinions.

    Now as for voting for a “third party” or small party candidate, that really is wasting your vote. It’s a luxury that is great if McCain was guaranteed to lose in a landslide, but he’s not, so you’re a fool if you waste your vote on someone who can’t win this year.

    And if you say that Obama is no better than McCain you are an ignorant fool. You’re the same kind of ignorant fool who said there was no difference between Gore and Bush. Willful ignorance of that type is a big contributor to why the neocons have been able to do so much damage to this country over the last 7 years.

    Educate yourselves.

  34. Mark

    What a shame that this blog and the comments are turning into just anther left-wing rant.

    Not all smart people are lefties. Not all dumb people are righties.

    But *most* politicians (yep, even Obama) hate smart people because they aren’t as easy to manipulate.

    Though some smart people seem to check their brains at the door when it comes to politics. Heck, BA, what Obama’s policies that you like?

  35. David Matteson

    @Mark: Not all lefties are smart, but right now in this country I will stand by the statement that you have to be willfully ignorant to continue to support the GOP after the last 7 years. You can be a smart person and do stupid things, and supporting McCain offering 4 more years of the same is a stupid thing. Unless you’re one of the richest 2% of the country, in which case, congratulations on acting in your own self interest.

  36. OtherRob

    @David Matteson: “Now as for voting for a “third party” or small party candidate, that really is wasting your vote. It’s a luxury that is great if McCain was guaranteed to lose in a landslide, but he’s not, so you’re a fool if you waste your vote on someone who can’t win this year.”

    So it is your contention that it is wasting a vote to vote for a candidate that can’t win? If so, do you consider anyone voting for Obama/Hillary in the general election in Georgia to be wasting their vote? McCain is going to win this state.

    I don’t, btw, agree with your sentiments. :-)

  37. Mark

    @David: Ah, the “richest x%” line. Good soundbite, bad policy.

    Why would you trust any party? I said nothing about the GOP. Look at an individual’s policies, not his party affiliation. Obama is an empty suit. He talks about hope but avoids anything specific as much as possible.

    Hillary, McCain and Obama pander equally. Why anyone would claim one of them to hate smart people more than another is beyond me.

  38. aiabx

    Politicians hate smart people because stupid people hate smart people, and it’s easy to get the votes of stupid people by sharing their hatred for latte-sipping elitists. Easier and more profitable than trying to convince smart people that something as stupid as a gas-tax holiday is a good idea, anyway.

  39. Mark

    And how do lefties feel about Obama’s friendliness with terrorists? (You *do* know he launched his campaign at Bill Ayers’ house, right? And that Ayers wished only that he’d done more bombing with the Weather Underground?)

  40. davidlpf

    The only person who will benefit from Clinton and Obama fighting it out is McCain. No matter who gets in Whitehouse the troops will not just come home overnight, and if they do the middle east will become even more unstable. Whoever gets the into the Whitehouse will just being doing damage control from Bush.

  41. RawheaD

    Politicians don’t hate smart people; they just love to pander to the majority of our country who do more.

    @Synonymous

    “but I have more confidence in her, given her other policy decisions”

    So you’re pro-war in Iraq. Vote for McCain, then, he’s more fitting. Also, both those posters…. oh, wait; what Doc said.

  42. Greg E

    I’m voting for Obama myself in November. Out of the 3 major candidates still left, he’s the only decent one who seems to think outside his comfort zone and considers other people and groups besides the ones he belongs to. I don’t believe in hope and goody-goody feelings, but I do believe that electing a man like Obama will demonstrate the need and capability for change and movement. I think the USA has been static and inert since the early 1990s if you look at the Clinton and Bush years combined. I just want something totally different.

    McCain = way too old and a man who advocates us staying in that hellhole called the Middle East for decades to come in necessary

    Hillary = Machiavelli would be proud of the pant-suit queen. Sorry, but I can’t deal with 4 more years of either Bush-policy or Clinton-esque policy.

  43. Mark

    @Greg: So what policy of Obama’s do you like? Or, name the top 3 that make you want to have him as pres?

  44. it’s for the children

    Whenever you hear or read that line, you know that some kind of personal freedom is going to be relegated to the annals of history, or that some new taxing initiative is about to happen that will take money out of your pocket for no benefit to you. Worst of all, it’s so rarely for the children; it’s usually about cranky adults.

    Every time I see or hear that phrase, my BS detector hands me a tube of KY.

  45. @ GregE

    Thanks for your opinion. I obviously disagree with you, but I respect what you have to say.

    And it was refreshing that you expressed your ideas without calling any one “stupid” or “an ignorant fool,” a la David Matteson. His are the kind of comments that absolutely detract from this blog.

    Perhaps Mr. Matteson should read the comment policy.

  46. Tom

    OK, BA, you’re ready to make the next evolutionary leap. Let’s work through it. Republicans lie. Democrats lie. I generalize that into “politicians lie” and I’m no longer surprised when I see it.

    Each side has apologists that gloss over their (fill in the blank here: president, congressperson, candidate, party, etc.)’s failings, while going out of the way to point out the other side’s failings.

    When an opinion held by an expert agrees with said politician, that opinion is trumpeted. If an expert opinion disagrees with said politician, that opinion (and usually the expert holding the opinion) is cut down. If the ‘in’ thing is to say you won’t listen to experts, said politician says that.

    When you can see all this, and not get worked up over it (echoing Synonymous’ concerns) you’ll have taken the first step into a larger world.

    Hope you’re up to the journey!

  47. CV: “The gas tax holiday doesn’t help “ordinary Americans.” The supply of petroleum during the summer months is essentially fixed, and the oil companies will charge what traffic will bear.”

    that would be true if the gasoline/petrol market was competitive at the consumer level… it isn’t because realistically, people can’t just stop buying gas or oil. Sure some hippies and tree-huggers would like to think that we can all give up cars and trucks and factories tomorrow, but we can’t.

    if the price of gas doubled tomorrow, people will still pay it, at least for the short term because they have no choice. In the long term, the increased price would motivate people to find other energy sources, but in the short term, people would pay it.

    Similarly, if gas dropped to 1 cent per gallon, demand would start to climb, but it wouldn’t shoot up massively in a few days (after the first wave of people fill up jerry cans to horde it against a future increase). Demand would climb in the long term, but demand can’t just shoot up… it’s not like people would suddenly burn swimming pools full of the stuff for fun.

    in essence, people will pay whatever price the oil companies set. Oil companies know this. The big driver in setting their price is to set it high enough to make money, but not so high as to anger enough people to cause them to complain to the government and demand regulation.

  48. Chip

    The “all Republicans and Democrats are all equally bad” election year ploy, (favored by Karl Rove in past years) is a simplistic stance leveraged to discourage and sway young idealistic voters toward fear ridden conservatism. Bush shills, – i.e. the up-and-coming McCain shills – will very likely employ it more and more and there are examples of it in responses here.

    Greg E –
    I just got home today from a week in New Orleans where I met a lot of folks who agree with your sentiments. I wore an Obama badge all the time there and it was wonderful to discover that people from a wide variety of backgrounds are for him, (and don’t expect him to be perfect – unlike the divination expected by Republicans.) A lot of people wanted an Obama badge. So take heart and don’t be discouraged by the Bush-Hillary-McCain Inc shills.

  49. Daffy

    Well said, Chip.

    In my experience, while it is true both parties lie, the Republicans are far more blatant about it. They get away with that because of the intense loyalty among their hardcore faithful; Democrats as a group seem much more willing to abandon their party if the candidate(s) get caught with their (literal and figurative) pants down.

    It has been many, many years since I heard any Democrat claim that God wants you to vote for their party (although I am sure it still happens). But I hear it from Republicans all the time.

  50. Mark

    @Daffy: Really? I see Dems campaigning in churches all the time. I never see that from Repubs.

  51. @Daffy—

    LOL.

    Oh wait–you are serious . . .

  52. Utakata

    …unfortunately mainy people are starting to buy Clinton’s arguement(s)…as Indiana count is currently showing. Say it enough times…and the media there to help inflate it, people seem to give in to it without questioning.

    I believe she’s in this race for one thing: that is, she feel’s entitled to be the next President. No questions asked. And Obama was supposed to quielty loose like Edwards…that didn’t happen. So she is pulling all the stops out to get that point home…despite, that she is technically loosing the race.

    And of coarse, I don’t have to spell out what the attitude of entitlement did for the current sitting administration….which gave the world an unqualified presidency.

    My big concern now is that the Democrat powers that be might buy into her arguements as well…if they have not already done so. Bumping inturn, the person who is winning in favor of the person who thinks she’s should be there.

  53. Daffy

    Mark and david, please read what I wrote more carefully.

  54. Daffy

    From the Texas Republican Party platform:

    “2. We believe that human life is sacred, created in the image of God. Life begins at the moment of fertilization and ends at the point of natural death. All innocent human life must be protected.”

    http://www.texasgop.org/site/PageServer?pagename=library_platform

  55. Daffy

    North Carolina RP:

    “Homosexual behavior is not normal and should not be taught as acceptable in public education or in public policy.Public schools should not be used to teach children that homosexual behavior is normal.Taxpayers should not fund benefit plans for unmarried partners.We support federal and state constitutional amendments to ensure that marriage is limited to the union of one man and one woman.We oppose the adoption or foster parenting of children by same sex couples…

    “We oppose using public dollars to fund liberal attempts at social engineering contrary to the foundations on which our nation rests.We support daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools. Every classroom should display an American flag and a copy of our national motto — “In God We Trust.” …

    We support teaching abstinence until marriage as required by state law, and as the expected norm for sexual behavior.Abstinence until marriage is the most effective way to prevent teenage pregnancies, absentee fathers, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases.It is the most effective way to create healthy relationships and self-esteem among young people.”

    http://www.ncgop.org/gopinformation/platform.asp

  56. Okay–I read your post, carefully I might add.

    Then I read your 2 following posts–the two state party platforms.

    What does that have to do with your original post? I guess you are trying (but failing) to make your point about ” . . .God wants you to vote for their party . . . I hear it from Republicans all the time.”

  57. Abstinence until marriage is the most effective way to prevent teenage pregnancies, absentee fathers, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases.

    It’s true, abstinence is the absolute best prevention for these things. Unfortunately, telling teenagers to abstain, has been demonstrated to be one of the worst methods. It is probably superior only to giving them no information or advice whatsoever.

  58. Daffy

    david,

    I am sorry it offends you…but in my personal and professional (I worked for 5 years in religious broadcasting—and, no, I am not proud of that) experience many Republicans do indeed claim that God wants us to vote Republican.

    I have heard the same claim made by Democrats…maybe twice in my life. Republicans say it to me all the time.

    If it makes you feel any better I am not a Democrat and never have been.

  59. our national motto — “In God We Trust.” …

    I thought the national motto of the USA was

    E Pluribus Unum

  60. @Daffy

    I am sorry it offends you…

    Where did I say I was offended?

    many Republicans do indeed claim that God wants us to vote Republican.

    Just because you say it doesn’t make it so. You should back up your statement with facts. If it is just your opinion that many Republicans feel this way, or your perception, then state it as such.

    But don’t make me go looking for “facts” in your post that are not there.

    And are you really unaware of any similar religious overtones in the Democratic party? Have you ever heard of Reverend Wright?

  61. Daffy

    david,

    I wrote a very simple, declarative sentence that had the phrase “in my personal and professional experience.” How much more clear could I be?

    And Reverend Wright is a fool. OTH, I haven’t heard him claim God wants you to vote Democratic. Maybe I missed it.

    Btw, why isn’t McCain being asked to distance himself from the wacky posturings of Pat Robertson?

    “We have insulted God” with legal abortion and restrictions on religion in public places. “Then we say ‘why does this happen?’ Well, why it’s happening is that God Almighty is lifting his protection from us.”—Pat Robertson on 9/11

    Hmmm? Pat is a major player in the Republican party (unlike Wright who has no direct connection with the Democrats’ platform). Why isn’t McCain being required to repudiate such nonsense?

  62. Tyler Durden

    EvolvingSquid:”if the price of gas doubled tomorrow, people will still pay it, at least for the short term because they have no choice. In the long term, the increased price would motivate people to find other energy sources, but in the short term, people would pay it.”

    I think that’s unrealistic. If you can * afford * to continue buying gas, then yes, you’ll pay whatever price they set. But there are many people who live paycheck-to-paycheck, and even a slight increase means that they are unable to pay for the same amount of gas.

    I’ve already seen a lot more people taking the bus, bicycling to work, and carpooling. Avoiding high gas prices doesn’t require an alternative energy source, just choosing not to drive.

    And while the bus companies are still paying for gas, the buses will run regardless of whether there’s 1, 10, or 50 people on board.

  63. Daffy

    Tyler, I work free-lance and simply have to drive everywhere. The cost of gas (and food) is killing me. They keep raising it, and I have no choice but to buy it.

  64. Troy

    The problem with the gas tax holiday is that it is just election year pandering, essentially buying votes. It helps the Hummer driver and the poor slob who goes around collecting bottle returns to get enough to go 5 miles equally. I’d say make it a progressive tax. Some how make it for people with fuel efficient vehicles and welfare cases. In order to collect the rebate you’d have to verify your car was tuned up etc. Otherwise it is just subsidizing excess.

  65. @Daffy

    Okay, so I guess you are saying it is your opinion. Your “personal and professional experience” may be valuable to you, but it doesn’t translate into facts.

    In what, 5 posts, you still have not come up with anything to back up your statement about Republicans saying “all the time” that God wants you to vote for their party.

    Wright is a fool, no less a fool than Robertson or Hagee or Parsley. The differences between McCain and Obama in this arena are many and significant. At the very least, McCain didn’t spend 20 years sitting in a pew in Robertson’s church. Obama’s involvement with Wright and his church is much more deep and involved and longterm than McCain’s with Robertson (or the other two). There are statements that Robertson has apologized for over the years; I don’t recall any contrition on the part of Rev. Wright.

    I’m not so sure that Robertson is a major player in the Republican party anymore; is that your opinion/personal/professional experience, or do you have some factual basis to make that statement?

    While Wright may have no “direct connection” to the Democratic platform, he most certainly has a “direct connection” to the (probable) Democratic presidential candidate. Oh, by the way–you are correct: Wright does not claim that God wants us to vote Democratic. Wright claims instead that God damns America (and no, I didn’t take that out of context).

  66. tussock

    Heh. You USians are funny with your thinking you’ve got two political parties.

    Still, ‘d be nice if you did all vote for the /lesser/ of two Evils this time around.

  67. Tom

    @tussock

    Not all of us think we have two political parties. They’re separate wings of the industrial party. The points where they disagree are spotlighted (providing interesting and distracting political theater), while the brass tacks of running things (and spending the people’s money) quietly continue.

  68. Daffy

    david,

    “‘I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen… I know it won’t be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.'”—George W. Bush

    Make all the excuses you want.

    Tom, I agree with you 100%.

  69. Quiet Desperation

    Heh. You USians are funny with your thinking you’ve got two political parties.

    Oh, geez, are you one of those EUians who thinks adding a hyper-Left party to the USA would somehow *help* matters?

    And all these skeptics and no one answered Phil’s original question, so I’ll do it.

    Politicians hate smart people because smart people are harder to control.

    Note I did *not* say *impossible* to control.

  70. David D

    @Daffy

    W claiming divine inspiration is NOT the same as saying God wants you to vote Republican. Do you really NOT see the difference between the two statements? I’m not making any excuses.

    The Republican party is not the only party in this country that is influenced by religion.

    Why don’t you check out the following:

    1. http://www.faithfuldemocrats.com

    2. From “How the Democrats Got Religion,” Time magazine July 12, 2007:

    Clinton has hired Burns Strider, a Congressional staffer (and evangelical Baptist from Mississippi) who is assembling a faith steering group from major denominations and sends out a weekly wrap-up, Faith, Family and Values. Edwards has been organizing conference calls with progressive religious leaders and is about to embark on a 12-city poverty tour. In the past month alone, Obama’s campaign has run six faith forums in New Hampshire, where local clergy and laypeople discuss religious engagement in politics.

    3. Check out some of these excerpts from “Democrats get religion” (sfgate.com, November 5, 2006):

    In Tennessee, Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. — known to shout “I love Jesus, I can’t help it!” at a campaign rally — appears in one ad strolling past the pews of a sunlit sanctuary.

    . . . the chief of staff of the Democratic National Committee, Leah Daughtry, also happens to be a Pentecostal pastor

    I could go on and on. But you would probably think I was making excuses.

  71. Spiv

    So does anyone want to point out to Clinton that she would have to win everything 70/30 for the rest of the primary to get the nomination?

    And while I have no doubt clinton will be claiming the rest of the states as her “home,” that’s more than home-turf landslide.

  72. I think that’s unrealistic.

    You can think it’s unrealistic all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that gas costs about double what it did 5 years ago, and people are still driving, cars are still being sold, yadda yadda. Does the increase in price force some people to make other transportation arrangements? Sure it does… absolutely. But it doesn’t rapidly drive demand down in a way that would affect any kind of supply/demand curve.

    Everyone can’t just take the bus – the transit systems in place couldn’t handle the load.

    Everyone can’t just take the bus – I live IN A CITY, and taking the bus is so unreliable that I cannot depend on it to get me where I need to be when I need to be there.

    Everyone can’t ride a bike – not every climate allows for 365-day cycling season.

    A lot of people will eat less food to continue driving to work or wherever they need to go. North Americans have an addiction to gasoline that rivals any drug addiction.

  73. abb3w

    Experience counts for nothing; the experiences you’ve learned from are what counts.

  74. Todd W.

    For those interested in the religion in politics side of things, here’s an interesting article that was in the Boston Metro newspaper today:

    http://www.metrobostonnews.com/us/article/2008/05/07/03/0542-66/index.xml

    An interesting read, I think.

  75. Daffy

    david, if you want to maintain your belief that the religious right does not hold sway over the Republican party you go right on ahead with that.

    The Democrats have their own set of nonsensical things that drive me batty…just not that one.

    As an independent, I don’t have to wear blinders.

  76. @Daffy–

    There is no question that the Republicans have a significant religious input in their party. Did I say otherwise? I certainly never claimed that the religious right does not hold sway over the Republican party.

    Dood—facts, okay? Stick to the facts.

    I don’t have to wear blinders.

    Yeah, right.

  77. Jeffersonian

    +I agree with Synonymous that Obama’s campaign is a cult of emotion and personality
    +That’s enough to get him the party nomination
    +Come e-day, it’s not enough to win the election. American voters have a multi-generational history of collapsing into the old fail-safe guy at even the last second.
    +I fear that all that personalty and emotion isn’t as solid as Clinton’s background and if the DEMS run Obama, they’ll lose the coasts. Conversely, if they run Clinton, they’ll lose the red states whose voters have a vague notion that they’re supposed to hate Clinton but don’t have an explanation as for why, other than to be a proud member of groupthink.

    You basically vote Libertarian or you vote Lesser of Evils. Since the media routinely blackballs the LIBS, look what we have. The media have run a steady anti-Clinton campaign yet she overcame all of that just to break even; pretty amazing. Imagine if the media had behind her where she’d stand today. She wouldn’t have to pander about hating smart people because she wouldn’t have had the battle the media have depicted. Politicians hate smart people because their CAMPAIGNING to the redneck populace that turns the vote. It’s a pose.

    I’m not a fan of either Republicrats.
    Lesser of Evils, people. Which would make this a country you’d be happy to live the future in? I don’t think Obama can get the red states. Not in the end. Clinton has a 50/50.

    I don’t know how to respond to those who say “I can’t take 4 more years of Clinton”. Are they saying they’d rather have the conservative right than the center? Are they saying they think Obama would succeed somewhere left of center? There’s nothing to indicate that would be true. Are they saying that Bill=Hillary and Bill was such a bad president that Hillary will be exactly the same? What is this based on? Aren’t all 3 candiaites equal unknowns given that they are all distinct individuals? If so, you can only base on policy regarding issues. I agree with Hillary on more issues than I do Obama. Do you?

  78. Gimel

    And you, Americans, wonder, why we in Europe don’t like you. Well, we had more than a fair share of ruling idiots and/or psychopats, but at least we understand that the guy on the top should be the best one. Or pretend to be the best one. Or have the best advisors available.

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