Thursday, August 21, 2008

Polling, Defining and Stupidity

"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public"

This is a lesson that the Democratic Party seems unable to learn.

Recent polling data shows that the presidential race it getting tighter. John McCain has been able to define Obama as a 'celebrity', the whisper campaigns keep the false issue of his faith in play and of course old fashioned racism has an impact. The end result is both Candidates, on a national level, are neck and neck.

Then you see polls focused on issues, and it is a landslide for the left. The American people want the product that the Democrats are selling. The trouble is, the Democrats have not been able to get their message heard over the noise coming from the Republicans.

The debate is again focused on style over substance. We hear arguments about elitism and college papers, vacations and parents faith but we don't hear about health care, the budget, civil rights or any other issue that matters.

This year has been just like every election that I have followed. The Democrats have gone in thinking that they can debate the issues, failing to recognise that the Republican party, the traditional media and even the American public don't want to hear it. Talking about Social Security, health care systems, defense budgets and national infrastructure takes time, it not that exciting, it demands thought and grown-up behavior. To make these efforts work will require compromise and nuanced ideas. It takes time and effort devise workable solutions, there is no quick easy fix.

While vital and important these issues are not what most citizens seem able to focus on. They are complex, hard to understand and are not fun to think about or work on. These issues are not real good for TV and radio either. They don't translate well into sound bites and are far to complex for most talking head arguments. Simply put they are not nearly as easy as gossiping about a candidates elementary school or private life.

So while the Democrats offer up a plan of attack that focus on ideas, the media and the Republicans offer a cage of poo flinging monkeys. We all know where the American public, and thus the political debate will choose to focus.

They want poo flinging monkeys and some still wonder how the polls could be narrowing.

"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public"


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