Sunday, September 21, 2008
When you load a new computer program on to your hard drive and then open it up it opens to what are called default settings. As you get to know the program and work with it you adjust the settings so that each time you open it it opens to your preferences. Politics works the same way. We are in a media culture where we absorb a certain amount of politics just from the ambient social noise around us. Some people then go on to read and discuss and observe and form thought out positions on various issues that fit into a political philosophy. But most people don't think much about politics. They don't see any relationship between the complicated frustrating mess that they occasionally notice when a scandal or disaster leaks into the soundbite-newsbreaks that local TV stations use to tease the eleven o'clock news. That most people dont get the connection between politics and their lives is shown by the low turnouts in local elections. These are elections where your vote really matters and who wins will have an important affect on your life. Municipal elections are the lowest turnout elections. Most of them are dominated by the public employees unions, who account for a large percentage of the votes.
But there is a great mass of people who are fairly fuzzy about the details of the political struggle who absorb their opinions by osmosis from the culture. They've gone to schools where the curriculum is skewed to the left and all those forgotten lessons are still up in that mental attic somewhere. But that programming is very thin and not based on any coherent philosophy that they believe in. A kind of mild, unthinking liberalism has become the default setting in their political psyches.
Abortion is a big part of that default setting. People now see sex between unmarried adults as equally valid and moral as that between people who are married. They don't see why a women who becomes pregnant by some mischance should end her career and live in miserable poverty raising the baby of some creep who got them drunk one night because some Bible-bangers have some high-falutin moral objections; especially when those objections are a mere cloak for a holier-than-thou morality that demands that everyone change their behavior to conform to it. Christianity is seen by these people as an attempt to bully and interfere in other people's lives. The political reality, that abortion was legalized by the courts and is not currently an issue in the political process, doesn't compute with this group. 'If abortion is not legal women are not equal' is very meaningful to them. The Dems have used this basic perception to garner votes for forty years.
Environmental idiocy has been pumped into people's heads for decades. Now even commercials on TV speak reverently about Global Warming. If you don't have any other knowledge of the subject the certainty which which its addressed in pop culture is very convincing. Nobody wants to raise the sea level and drown polar bears, do they? If you think that electricity comes from a plug and gasoline from a pump without being aware of the giant infrastructure behind it then Boone Pickens standing next to a windmill seems to make perfect sense. Just switch to windmills, problem solved!
This goes on and on; education, taxes, the War On Terror, people take on the liberal programming...except...
Obama has unleashed doubt in their squalid self-centered little souls. No amount of vague liberalism in long-forgotten social studies classes can cancel out Rev Wright screaming "God Damn AmeriKKKa!" as the towers lay in still-smoking ruins. It was a window into a whole black racism against white people and this country that whites feel is unjustified after 40 years of affirmative action and belligerent black and liberal bullying and finger pointing. Obama has become the poster boy for that black racism that demands special treatment and reviles anyone who objects as a KKK racist. Linking Obama with his fellow 'community organizer' Al Sharpton by the Republicans at the convention probably dealt his candidacy a fatal blow.
These Default Dems like polar bears and penguins as much as the next guy, but they love driving their cars more! No amount of propellers and solar panels are going to replace the internal combustion engine in their lives and they know it. They also know that its pretty obvious the Democrats don't want to drill for oil.
Even with the 24/7 vilification of W the storyline that all of our problems are due to his conservative policies is starting to wear thin. The Dems have been in charge of Congress. In my state, California, where the Default Dems are by far the largest voting block people are starting to wonder why, with all these Democrats who dominate every level of government, services are being cut and taxes are going up.
Bush Lied on Iraq, didn't he? Then how come we won? The Democrats were very obviously wrong about Iraq. The US forces fought a long, tough war but they conducted themselves like superb professionals and after five years they whipped them towelhead savages. Unlike liberals Default Democrats don't see America as a brutal neo-colonial aggressor. They remember the fall of the Twin Towers and the constant sniping by the Dems leaves a bad taste. This is another bad problem for Obama. He was able to outpreach Clinton on this issue and the activists rewarded him for his flagrant treason, which they heartily endorsed, but the Defaulters voted 100% Clinton. Obama now trying to take credit for America's victory only increases the anxiety.
Default Democrats find Sarah Palin vaguely disturbing. Snowmobiles, dead mooses, whacko religious views; all presented in lurid excess by the media. This was the first real election event to penetrate the consciousness of people who dont follow politics. A lurid excess of liberal disdain for anyone so boorishly proletarian that backfired Big Time amongst the proletarian Defaults. The sneering mockery was aimed at a woman who on closer scrutiny was living a typical middle class life until a couple of years ago, a life that any working class person could identify with. A big, messy family with the oldest kid going to Iraq and his younger sister knocked up by some local goon at a tender age. The old man worked as a roughneck on an oil rig while Mom parlayed her PTA connections to get a seat on the city council. The condescending snobbery against Palin wiped out any misgivings people might have had about her views and set up an us-against-them situation between regular people and snobbish overeducated elites.
Default democrats will stray from the reservation. They move in a herd and can stampede in any direction. Left undisturbed they will elect Grey Davis Governor of California; spooked they will toss him out on his ear, in an election that the polls said Davis would win. Default Dems have passed Ballot Measures to limit property taxes, deny government benefits to illegal aliens, end affirmative action and are about to pass a state constitutional amendment banning Gay Marriage. These are the same people who have passed equally radically left-wing measures. Abortion was legalized in a constitutional amendment, all kinds of environmental nonsense has been enacted and funded by ballot initiatives, the Defaults flocked to the polls to devote three billion dollars to embryonic stem-cell research. As far back as 1984 Ronald Reagan and far-left senator Alan Cranston both won this state by a million votes...that means a million people voted for them BOTH.
This is only my gut feeling but the smoke from several approaching brushfires is visible on the horizon, the faint smell of burning grass is in the air. The herd is spooked and ready to stampede. I think they run Right. Big win for McCain.