Sunday, November 2, 2008

They Went There

For those of you that had any lingering doubts about whether or not Republicans would resort to the lowest, sleaziest swiftboat ads to derail Obama in the waning days of their miserable lie-filled campaign:

In fairness (and it's hard to be fair to such lowlifes) John McCain did not officially "approve" this ad, as it was released by a GOP political action group. But it does highlight the stunning desperation of the Republicans as McCain's so-called path to the White House becomes increasingly difficult.

On a related topic, who precisely are the "undecided voters"? Have these people not received enough information in the course of this seemingly interminable race to make up their damn minds? There are ONLY TWO CANDIDATES, for Christ's sake! How hard can this possibly be?? CHOOSE!


WesternGrit said...

This is why a lot of people have a "different name" for a vast number of the "undecided". Most of these folks are from the "tune out" column, choosing NOT to care about politics - even though it has a daily effect on their lives.

To really get people involved, we need to have mandatory civics classes in each grade. We need to create a citizenship conscience. I don't care who they vote for, just get informed, make a choice that fits your life, and VOTE! Complacency is the biggest enemy of democracy.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that a lot of people say "don't know/undecided", when they are really a "won't say". I've seen this in many years of door-knocking. If even if you are a supposedly "unbiased/unaffiliated" pollster, most people answering that phone are still wary that you may be commissioned by one of the parties. They want to keep their decision secret. There are also those who don't want to say because their ideas are so caustic, they know opening their mouths may label them as someone further right than conservative, etc. Libertarians tend to be much more secretive about their thoughts/feelings on voting than others.

The "other" undecideds are truly the "tuned out" people. They are more concerned about work, or their social life, or that last swig of beer in the bar, or are just happy to parrot the phrase the media coined about "they're all the same" so "I'm not voting/not decided"... Most of these people feel they have more important things to do in their lives than take the time to vote, or even follow politics. It is for these people that civics courses would be the most effective. If you learn about politics and your citizenly duty in school (like math, or reading), it just may stick with you. You may also learn the difference between right, left, and center, and which fits your lifestyle best.

Red Canuck said...

WG - I agree with you about civics classes. I never took such courses, but I have developed an interest in politics anyways. Having said that, I think students in this country should have a basic understanding of our system of government and the role they play in it.

Regarding the American undecideds, I have a sneaking suspicion that many of them are soft Democrats who would likely vote Obama if his name was "John Smith", and are embarassed to admit it. For this reason, I tend to agree with most pundits that these people are likely to break for McCain on election day.

As for the "tune outs", you may be right. But I have seen polls of "likely voters" that still show a significant number of undecideds in each of the swing states. One would imagine that "tune outs" would not be considered likely voters, but then I'm not sure how they identify such people.

In any case, it's a crying shame that more people aren't engaged enough to obtain even a rudimentary understanding of electoral issues in one America's most pivotal elections.

MD said...

westerngrit - I think you're absolutely right that an astounding number of people are just indifferent to politics, despite that fact that their prosperity depends in some measure on the decisions of their government. Voting certainly does not seem to be viewed as a responsibility of citizenship. And the idea floated by some bloggers that proportional represenatiton would solve the problem makes no sense. I bet the majority of non-voters couldn't explain the difference between FPTP and PR or mixed member, and have never thought about it, so the idea that FPTP keeps them from the polls is absurd.

I wonder if we should couple civics education with compulsary voting, like in Australia.

MD said...

Red Canuck - I don't think I can be shocked any longer by the depths to which the Republican attack machine will sink. If these ads haven't worked until now in this election cycle, they probably won't start now. Given the partisan nature of the US election officials, I'm more concerned about Katherine Harris type voter suppression tactics than dirty ads.

BTW, the McCain campaign seems to have narrowed the race in Pennsylvania. I think Obama will win, but it's going to be closer than people think. And I'm not sure about some of the downstream races. Franken and Coleman are in a dead heat in Minnesota, as are Hagan and Dole in North Carolina (where the "godless americans" attack ad fiasco took place). If the race tightens on E-day, these races may tip Republican as a consequence.

Bowler said...

My cable package now offers "Real Time" with Bill Maher. On Friday he referred to the undecided as the "retarted"!

Overall I think the fact that so many states that were formerly solidly red are now either leaning Obama or are a toss up is a good sign. Depends on how the "retarted" vote goes, I guess.

Red Canuck said...

MD - Oh I'm not at all shocked by the swiftboat ads. I just find them tragic in their predictability.

As for voter suppression tactics, these are also old news, as you well know. Exposing them is really the best anyone can do, but serious reform would involve creating a uniform voting process in all states, supervised by nonpartisan officials, with paper and pencil ballots. This will of course, never happen.

Red Canuck said...

Bowler - Yes, HBO is now available here too, but sadly I am not wealthy enough to subscribe to the movie network on which it appears. :)

I am forced to continue viewing it for free on grainy YouTube videos from the Intertubes.

WesternGrit said...

I guess the Americans showed us! They showed up to the polls in record numbers yesterday (was it 80% turnout?). Looks like a lot of the "undecideds" decided.


sa said...