AmeriCAN-DO Attitude

Are you an AmeriCAN or an AmeriCAN'T?

The Sheer Depth of Most Individual Voters’ Ignorance is Shocking

This is as true (or moreso) today as it was in 2004: The Ignorant American Voter

NOT LONG after Dr. Johnson’s landmark “Dictionary of the English Language” appeared in 1755, a woman demanded to know why he had defined “pastern” as the knee of a horse. “Ignorance, madam,” Johnson replied, “pure ignorance.”

We should all be so ignorant. Johnson may not have known a pastern from a fetlock, but he knew enough to write an entire dictionary — all 2,300 pages and 43,000 entries of it — single-handedly. Alas, our own ignorance is of an entirely different order. Consider, as Ilya Somin has been considering this election season, what Americans don’t know about politics and public policy.

Somin, a law professor at George Mason University, observes in a new study for the Cato Institute that voters tend to be “abysmally ignorant of even very basic political information.” This may not be news to scholars, who have documented it in depressing detail, “but the sheer depth of most individual voters’ ignorance is shocking to observers not familiar with the research.”

He offers some recent illustrations. According to polls taken this year, nearly 65 percent of the public doesn’t know that Congress has banned partial-birth abortion. Seventy percent is unaware that a massive drug benefit has been added to Medicare. At least 58 percent say they have heard “nothing” or “not much” about the Patriot Act, notwithstanding the enormous amount of coverage the controversial law has drawn.

This is not a new problem. As Cold War tensions bristled in 1964, only 38 percent of the public knew that the Soviet Union was not a member of NATO. In 1970, only 24 percent could identify the secretary of state. In 1996, The Washington Post reported that 67 percent of Americans couldn’t name their congressman and 94 percent had no idea that William Rehnquist was the chief justice of the United States. Only 26 percent knew that senators serve six-year terms, and 73 percent didn’t know that Medicare costs more than foreign aid.

Gallup found in January 2000 that while 66 percent of the public could name the host of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” only 6 percent knew the name of the speaker of the House. Last year, a Polling Company survey found that 58 percent of Americans could not name a single federal Cabinet department.

The ignorant can be found in the highest reaches of academe. Of more than 3,100 Ivy League students polled for a University of Pennsylvania study in 1993, 11 percent couldn’t identify the author of the Declaration of Independence, half didn’t know the names of their US senators, and 75 percent were unaware that the classic description of democracy — “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” — is from the Gettysburg Address.

With so many Americans so clueless when it comes to government and public affairs, is it any wonder that political campaigns are so shrill and shallow? Or that candidates speak to voters primarily through TV spots intended to malign the other candidate’s reputation? Or that presidential “debates” limit answers to 90 seconds and bar the contenders from engaging in actual discussion? When voters are unwilling to put any effort into learning about the issues of the day, it should come as no surprise that campaign discussions rarely move beyond vacuous soundbites — “tax breaks for the rich,” “freedom is on the march,” “wrong war, wrong place, wrong time.”

Somin suggests that widespread political ignorance may be, in one sense, “rational”: Since no individual’s vote is ever likely to be decisive, no voter has an incentive to work hard at acquiring enough knowledge to make an informed choice. But by that argument, voters shouldn’t bother showing up on Election Day, either. Many don’t, of course, and we hear endlessly about the need to increase voter turnout. But more alarming than the tens of millions of non-voting adults are the tens of millions of adults who do vote despite knowing next to nothing about the candidates and the issues.

It was not ever thus. A century and a half ago, ordinary Americans grappled with public controversies at a level of sophistication that would be unthinkable today.

In 1858, tens of thousands of Illinois voters, many unschooled, crowded fairgrounds and public squares to watch Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas debate his Republican challenger, former congressman Abraham Lincoln. The topics they wrestled with were among the weightiest in US history — the expansion of slavery, the authority of the Supreme Court, the limits of popular sovereignty. The candidates spoke not for 90 seconds at a time, but for 90 minutes at a time. There were no spin doctors, no instant polls, no TV talking heads — only thoughtful candidates and serious voters and the clash of ideas in the public arena.

The dumbing-down of our politics is no small thing. “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1816, “it expects what never was and never will be.” Widespread political ignorance poses a potentially lethal threat to our democratic freedoms. If we were smarter, we’d be worried.

November 26, 2009 , 9:27PM Posted by | 2008 Presidential Election | 1 Comment

Are Americans Smart Enough to Realize Barack Obama is a Fraud? — Part II

More from Rush’s excellent show today:

RUSH: I’m getting a lot of e-mails on that last caller: “Hey, Rush, I want to hug and kiss that guy, right on, the American people are stupid. I loved it. I loved it when he said turn off American Idol.” Yeah, and turn off all the fishing shows. (laughing)

Let me address this again in a segment here where I have a little bit more time about that caller. The key is taking back the Republican Party so that we have a political vehicle to advance the conservative movement. The American people, by every legitimate study, are more conservative than liberal. It’s like 42% to 21 people who identify themselves, 35% independent. More people identify themselves as conservative than anything by any number of legitimate studies. So we have to have a nominee who is conservative, who can speak conservatism, who can inspire and motivate, who can arouse their passion; somebody who can respond to left-wing arguments; somebody who’s confident; somebody who has knowledge. This is the challenge that we face in future elections.

The American people will be there if we get that candidate. If we put up a candidate like that we will win. That’s why all the focus on this program and even the Greta Van Susteren interview I told them what the problem with the Republican Party is. That wasn’t just a bash Obama interview or bash the Democrats. The Republican Party is headed up by a bunch of country club blue blood Rockefeller liberals and moderates that don’t want any part of conservatism because they are embarrassed about the abortion issue. They don’t like social issues being part of their party, and if we put up a genuine conservative we will win. We’re making the case for our case on this radio show every day, and others on their radio shows and in books. We don’t have the power right now, and we haven’t had it for some time because the Republican Party’s taken a wrong turn.

So it’s really kind of a mistake to just lay it all off on the American people as being dumb and stupid. If you vote for people who claim to be one thing and turn out to be another, it’s pretty smart to not vote for them again. The American people, the conservative voter is not stupid. The conservative voter is simply not going to vote for a fraud in his own party, or her own party. What choice did we have in 2008? What choice did we have? A lot of people voted against Obama, not for McCain. We didn’t have anything to vote for. There was nothing affirmative for us in that election, in that whole campaign. You’ve got to have somebody to vote for. That arouses passions.

So the choice in 2008, we had this smooth-talking agent of change and hope speaking platitudes and creating a cult-like following. And the Republican was somebody whose main selling point was he gets along with Democrats. He can walk across the aisle and be bipartisan. Our candidate bought the notion that the American people want the two parties to work together and put aside their differences. McCain also promised cap and trade. McCain also promised his own version of health care reform and immigration reform. Where was the opportunity for conservatives to rise up and get passionate about the election in 2008? It wasn’t there. If the Republican Party keeps putting candidates up like that, we’re cooked, but not because the American people are stupid, but because the Republican Party seeks not to win.

If we all just say, though, that the end is inevitable, if we just say the American people are stupid and they want all of this, that there is no hope, then we can’t build a movement to stop this. We can’t build a movement to take back the Republican Party. We can’t take back the government and begin the process of unraveling this. If we just say that most of the people are stupid and want this, they don’t care because they got American Idol on twice a week in the winter and the spring, well, then what’s left? Why even stay engaged? Why stay involved? In the end, if people want this, they will get it. I don’t believe the people do want this. The polls show they don’t want this. Obama knows they don’t want it. Pelosi knows they don’t want it. Their entire strategy is based on lying to the people and ramming through their agenda before the working tax paying people of this country know what hit them. That’s why the speed. Obama may well be destroying the Democrat Party. We will know soon enough. The Democrat Party represents an ever-shrinking percentage of the population the American people are. And, Lord, if I didn’t think this, I’d be playing golf somewhere, probably New Zealand.

August 6, 2009 , 12:17AM Posted by | 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Conservatism, Rush Limbaugh | Comments Off on Are Americans Smart Enough to Realize Barack Obama is a Fraud? — Part II

Are Americans Smart Enough to Realize Barack Obama is a Fraud? — Part I

Rush was ON FIRE today, especially after taking a call from a man who expressed my frustrations to.a.f###ing.tee.

The entire segment was fantastic, but it’s too long to put all in one post. So I am breaking it down into a few posts.

I wanted to stand up and cheer for this caller when I was listening this afternoon. He expressed everything that I have been thinking and feeling. I too believe the American people are stupid and I too believe that they are so stupid that they will keep the Democrats in power in 2010 and will re-elect Obama in 2012. They were stupid enough to vote him in in the first place and they did it for no good reason. And, as they say, you cannot reason someone out of something they did not reason themselves into. My series on “Debating an Obama-lover” on my blog is a prime example of the utter freaking stupidity and ignorance of Obama-lovers, voters and supporters. I sure hope Rush is right and I hope the American people prove me wrong, but I am not getting my hopes up.

**********

Are Americans Smart Enough to Realize Barack Obama is a Fraud?

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We go to Wausau, Wisconsin and Jeff. Thanks for calling, sir. Nice to have you here.

CALLER: Well, Rush, I hope you say that after my call. I’ve listened to you for years and I love ya, and I’m going to say to you, “Nice try, but you’re wrong.” You are wrong about the wise, conservative-to-the-core American people. I want to know how the wise, conservative-to-the-core American people stuck us with the president, who was the most far left voting candidate ever. My God, this guy is starting to make Bill Clinton look like George Washington. I tell you. And the wise, conservative-to-the-core American people are responsible for this. How in the world? I’m just a lunkhead sitting here in Wausau, Wisconsin. I knew this guy was the most far-left voting Senate candidate. I could see through the lies before this guy got elected. I mean, how in the world could not the rest of the conservative-to-the-core American people see this? I mean, American people, are you listening to me? You are smart at some things. You are whiz-bang at technology and things like that, but in politics you are dumb and you are getting dumber. Could you turn off American Idol for frickin’ 30 minutes? Could you turn off watching crab fishermen for frickin’ 30 minutes and find out what the hell is going on in your country? Here we are now. We’ve got this guy for another, what, three years? And I tell you this, Rush, I’ll bet you a case of cat food for your cat, whatever it likes. This guy is a lock, he is an absolute lock to win reelection. I don’t care if there’s 40% unemployment and cities are in flames. This guy is a lock because the American people are smart in some things, but in politics they are dumb and they are getting dumber by the hour. We’ve got this guy; now we’re stuck with him. Thanks wise, conservative-to-the-core American people. Thanks a lot. Sarah Palin, if you’re listening out there, dear, I love you. Stay out of it. Next time it’s going to be nothing but baby, baby, baby, that goofy ex-fiance’s going to be trying to earn every dime he possibly can. He’s going to be on every far-left TV show that he can possibly get on out there. They are going to destroy you, honey. They are going to destroy you. Take it easy. Enjoy some fishing. Enjoy life in Alaska. Stay out of it. The American people in politics are dumb and they’re getting dumber. Rush, I’ve tried my best to contain myself. I still love you. I’m still going to listen to you. I don’t know what you think about me now.

RUSH: Well, I love ya.

CALLER: (laughing) Oh, you do?

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: Even though I say you’re wrong about this?

RUSH: This is a great call.

CALLER: Well, thanks. I didn’t expect that.

RUSH: Well, we don’t always judge the quality of calls on whether the caller makes sense. Passion is —

CALLER: Wait a minute. I’ve got to think about that.

RUSH: Wait. Passion is the key. Passion is the key.

CALLER: A passionate caller who is not making any sense. To me, I make perfect sense.

RUSH: I know you are making perfect sense to yourself, and I know you passionately believe everything you said. You basically said the American people are a bunch of idiots.

CALLER: They are not a bunch of idiots, not across the board, but in politics. Look, McCain, McCain, these war heroes, I love him for what he did in the Hanoi Hilton. But these war heroes come back and they get witless when they go into politics. The guy wanted to be the great statesman, the guy wanted to be fair play, above the fray. What did it get you, Mr. McCain, if you are listening out there?

RUSH: Wait a second.

CALLER: What did it get you? Two more votes? Obama beat you in a landslide. The most far-left guy, a community organizer beat the war hero in a landslide. You tell me the American people are not dumb in politics.

RUSH: Hang on a second. Let me address this.

CALLER: All right.

RUSH: I would give the American people —

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: If you look at that campaign as it was run, I think it was pretty damn smart not to vote for McCain.

CALLER: Well, he might as well not been running —

RUSH: Let me finish now. The reason it was smart is because he wasn’t a conservative.

CALLER: That’s true.

RUSH: The whole Republican Party has gone south trying to become Mr. and Miss Moderate, Mr. and Miss Independent.

CALLER: It’s the same thing that happened to these people, if they get back into Congress next year, it’s going to be the same thing. Oh, they are talking now.

RUSH: Wait.

CALLER: But as soon as they get into Congress, “We want to reach across the aisle. We want to include the Democrats.”

RUSH: Hold it. There’s no point in talking to you if you are this fatalistic.

CALLER: I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

RUSH: I mean, if you are this fatalistic, if there’s no solution to this, I think you should go to Alaska and go fishing with Sarah and Todd Palin.

CALLER: Okay, please correct me then. Give me some hope.

RUSH: Well, I want to change the premise. I want to go back and have you relive that campaign.

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: You were smart enough to figure out Obama, but most people who were getting a lot of their news from the State-Run Media had listened to seven years of how absolutely rotten Bush was. Bush never defended himself, leaving his voters out to dry. They were never defended. He never defended himself. The lies that the media told about the economy, the war in Iraq, domestic spying. The American people wanted change, anything. But you put up the war hero and the one-foot-in-the-grave campaign he ran versus this smooth-talking, eloquent liar who had people believing they are going to get the exact opposite of what they got. People wanted what Obama was promising. You may have been smart enough to see it, but people vote emotionally in a lot of cases. In addition to falling for Obama, the people who didn’t fall for him really had nowhere else to go. There was no passion. Like you’ve got passion. There wasn’t any passion in the Republican electorate.

CALLER: Are the American people going to be smarter the next time around?

RUSH: Well, this is what my theory is, that real-life experience, this guy’s not who he said he was. This guy’s a fraud. He’s practicing deceit. Their lives are being destroyed while he tells them they are being rescued.

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: Now, at some point people are smart enough to know that they can’t afford food. They are smart enough to know when they don’t have a job to go to. They are smart enough to know when their spouses start complaining to them about hanging around the house all day. They are smart enough to know gasoline prices start going up. They are smart enough to know they can’t afford a new car unless the government gives them $4,500. They are smart enough to know a lot of things as they live them.

CALLER: Well, Rush, let’s hope three years from now when that old Obama campaign begins rolling again, they are smart enough to know then, too.

RUSH: To hell with three years, 2010. There’s got to be some stop to this agenda.

CALLER: Only if you are Speaker of the House and keep them guys in line, or maybe the whip. Maybe that would be better.

RUSH: I am the Speaker of the American House.

CALLER: Rush, I know you’ve got to let me go. I still love you. I think you are wrong about this but I hope you can prove me wrong.

RUSH: Well, it’s not to me. It’s the American people. I have faith they will prove you wrong. Do you not take any heart and solace in the fact that Obama’s cratering issue by issue in the polls?

CALLER: He’s cratering right now, but I got a feeling that he’s going to come bouncing back for some reason. I don’t know. Maybe it will be a war that lands in his lap or something, or something.

RUSH: All right. Here’s the key for you.

CALLER: If the election was next week, maybe so.

RUSH: Well, look. I’m not quitting.

CALLER: No, I’m not quitting, either.

RUSH: I certainly sure as hell don’t want you to. Now look, here’s the thing, because I do now have just one minute. The key to all of this is taking back the Republican Party so that we have a political vehicle to advance the conservative movement, Jeff. The American people, by every legitimate study, are more conservative than liberal. We have to have a nominee who is conservative, who can speak conservatism, who can speak American patriotism, who can respond to left-wing arguments, who is confident in his knowledge. This is the challenge. The challenge we have is making sure the moderates, the genuine stupid elitists in our own party do not control it come the next two elections. If we put up a candidate like that, we’ll win. We always do when we put up a candidate like that in national races. We are making the case for our case on radio in books to have somebody to vote for. And that’s how you turn out the vote in national elections, to get you, your passion lit up in everybody else, to get this current agenda fixed and gone and the only way that passion that you exhibited in this call is going to erupt for a Republican candidate is if he is or she is a genuine conservative. And if that passion can be aroused, the Democrats don’t have a prayer, especially with the damage they are wreaking on everyday people and their lives.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Look, folks, what choice did the people have in 2008? We had a Democrat promising to do traditional Democrat things and we had a Republican telling us his big asset was his willingness to work with Democrats to get done what they wanted to get done. What choice did the American people have? Give them a choice. It works every time it’s tried.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

August 6, 2009 , 12:10AM Posted by | 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Communism, Conservatism, Fascism, Liberalism, Marxism, Rush Limbaugh, Socialism | Comments Off on Are Americans Smart Enough to Realize Barack Obama is a Fraud? — Part I

Do Women Have Any Reason to be Proud of America?

I had a former female friend of mine tell me she could only now feel proud to be an American, after Obama won the Presidential nomination and then election. Considering we have never had a female President, shouldn’t all women still be ashamed to call themselves Americans? Afterall, apparently, the Left tells us, most Blacks were ashamed of America for not yet having a Black President.

Apparently then, the only groups of people who should now be proud of America are White men and Bi-Racial Black men (oh, and White and Bi-Racial Black men who are socialists, communists, Black Supremacist racists, Black Liberation Theology followers…). For everyone else — women, homosexuals, transgendereds, Indians (“Native Americans”), Chinese, Japanese, Hispanics, Latinos, etc — America SUCKS!

Also, how horrible is America… I mean, we’ve never even had a female Vice President, let alone President. My gosh, when you look at things through the twisted illogic of the Left, there is just so much about which to be ashamed in this horrible, despicable country.

That is why, in 2012, we must start the healing. Hillary Clinton must challenge Barack Obama in the Democrat Primaries and Sarah Palin must win the GOP nomination, with Governor Bobby Jindal as her running mate. Only then will be able to have more Americans able to feel proud of their country. And if we want to prove that America is not sexist, then we must elect either Mrs. Clinton or Governor Palin.

[My gosh does it hurt using stupid liberal illogic… oy]

June 13, 2009 , 3:03PM Posted by | 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Racism, Sexism | 8 Comments

Nothing Strips Them of Responsibility. Nothing.

This is *exactly* how I feel regarding some of the people I talked to prior to the election who were Obama-supporters. I think back to their blind support of the man, their borderline worship of him, their complete disregard for the facts I presented them about his background and the warnings I gave them as to what he would do, based on that background. And, I especially remember how those people treated me based on me providing facts to them about their “god” Obama. I cannot forget that. I won’t forget that. I won’t forget being called a racist, a hatemonger and a bigot simply for pointing out facts about a politician. And I too carry a strong disdain for these people still today. I cannot look at them the same for their willful ignorance and deliberate mocking and smearing of my character and integrity. All over a politician.

And as “momma” states below, even for those who come around and have “buyer’s remorse”, nothing strips them of responsibility for their behavior, and especially their vote.

During the election, my in-laws hated it when I would talk politics and especially hated it when I bashed Obama and warned of what was coming if he was elected. They told me at least 20 different times that the President doesn’t have any power and that I was completely ignorant and crazy. Now, they leave the room if I am talking with other relatives about Obama and what he is doing. You can actually see the disdain on their face. It should be said that, whenever they are within ear shot, I shamelessly comment on the effect that this American – hating assplug is having on my children’s future. They were wrong. They know it.

I will always hold it against them that they ignorantly elected this attention hungry, prompter speaking, closet Muslim that hates America and Her Greatness.

It is the Obama voters that know they f*cked up, that should be flocking to the Tea Parties. They should be leading this fight. It wasn’t a mistake, it was a blissfully ignorant decision that has already eroded the very core of America.

I will always carry strong disdain for them. All the signs were there. Nothing strips them of responsibility. Nothing.

Sorry. Rant off. Thanks for ‘listening’.

Posted by: momma at June 08, 2009 04:41 PM

No, thank you, momma, for expressing what many of us also feel and sometimes cannot put into words as well as you do here. Keep ranting. People need to hear it. Loudly. And often.

Great follow-up comment later in the comment thread by “momma”:

My main problem is that people take their freedoms for granted. Voting should be the biggest decision in a person’s life. Everything else is effected by that. Kids, family, job, etc., are all effected by those that make, keep, and create the laws.

When people won’t listen, study, read, etc., into the choices they have for a certain office, I think they don’t deserve to vote. They decide with sound bites and news opinion. Then, when everything they believe in is questioned, and their sense of ‘right’ is challenged, they still vote based on D or R, or by the last f***ing commercial they saw before heading to the ballot box.

We have all of these public service announcements about turning off lights, not wasting water, etc., yet not one telling the public that they need to research the candidates and look at all forms of media, before they vote.

My in-laws believed me before the election, they just didn’t have the guts to vote for anyone that didn’t have a D after their name.

Posted by: momma at June 08, 2009 05:14 PM

June 9, 2009 , 12:42AM Posted by | 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama | Comments Off on Nothing Strips Them of Responsibility. Nothing.