Yesterday I read an article in the Washington Post by Susan Jacoby called “The Dumbing of America“. The article argued that video, the Internet, the fact that people don’t read any more, and the culture of anti-rationalism have all (further) reduced the limited attention spans of Americans.
This got me thinking about how the candidates and the press treat us like we’re dumb and how we often fall into the trap. They tell us about themselves and about the other candidates, and we believe them — especially when they repeat the same stuff over and over again. Hillary is the perfect example of how using quick and repeated sounds bites work even though her words are empty of any real foundation in fact. And now that she sees herself as losing, she is getting even worse and even more sketchy.
Personally, I find her cheap attacks on Obama offensive to my intelligence. But the question is, just how dumb does she think Americans are, and just how dumb are we?
A month ago, Hillary attacked Obama for his position on Iraq because he was very much against the war at its outset, and then when he entered the Senate he did not vote against war funding. This completely ignored the fact that Hillary voted for the war, continually voted for war funding, and then after criticizing Bush for getting us into the war, voted in favor of Bush’s Iran war.
Now Hillary is attacking Obama for possibly changing his position on public financing for the general elections. I believe that Obama should, for better or worse, stick to his orginal stance. Notice that Hillary is attacking Obama, but she has not taken a position on the matter of public financing herself. Mrs. Ready-for-Day-One has not yet declared herself in favor or against. She hasn’t even revealed the sources of her own income.
Hillary would nuance it all as an example of Obama taking a politically convenient position against his original stance. Notice Hillary has done the exact same thing on the Florida and Michigan primaries in a much more egregious matter. Her campaign repeatedly made statements on why it would be unfair to count the votes of Florida and Michigan, but now she says it would be unfair not to count them. Unfair to whom? How dumb does she think we are?
Hillary’s latest attack is against Obama for alleged plagiarism. Obama had used a few lines from a previous speech by Massachusetts Governor Devall Patrick (ironically ones that destroyed Hillary’s “mere words” dismissal of Obama speeches). Clinton’s campaign now argues that Obama has “a pattern of broken promises and lifted rhetoric”. Give me a break! How dumb does she think we are?
Hillary and the Clintons’ triangulation were nothing more than “lifted rhetoric”. Whenever you hear Hillary now addressing crowds and saying “yes we can” or that she’s the change candidate, is that somehow stealing?
When she says she is ready for day one, has been tested, has 35 years of experience, no one is accusing her of lying. So does she think we are dumb?
The problem is that if you poll Americans on who has more experience and who is ready for day one, you’ll see that no one is really paying much attention. Maybe we are dumb. We are definitely susceptible to all of the B.S.
The lesson is that if you repeat the crap over and over again, some of it is going to stick.