Monday, September 26, 2011

Double Blind Politics

One of the consequences of uninformed and partisan politics is an enormous amount of cognitive dissonance.  Examples like the ones below make me wonder a lot how different things would be if we voted on policies rather than politicians.  No names and no parties attached to any proposal, just a list of ideas for voters to yay or nay. Just a couple examples of doublethink below the break:

RedState - the home of extreme conservativism on the internet - makes a compelling defense of the substantive policies in the Dream Act (compare to my treatment of the subject), while somehow managing to be against the Dream Act.  The only way I can read this is that they are against things supported by Democrats, but fine with things supported by conservative Texas Governors.

But the doublethink doesn't have to be quite so nefarious.  Uninformed people exhibit cognitive dissonance out of simple ignorance, even without the addition of partisan malice.   Here's some stuff from a Kaiser Foundation survey. Observe: The general public isn't super excited about the healthcare law (42% favorable)

But they like the stuff it does (except the individual mandate):

Not to say that it is impossible to tell a story wherein, for instance, Republicans who like bits of the law decide that the individual mandate is so bad that it's worth scrapping entirely and starting over, but on the face of it things are weird.  All but one of the major provisions of healthcare are favored, with four of 70% support, and yet the overall law clocks in at 42%.  That's a big gap, and in it, I think, is a lot of partisan difference and misinformation.


  1. It's because the bill was fearmongered by the GOP because they could not allow the president to have a success. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have stated that their number one goal is not fixing the economy, but making Obama a one-term president.

    The cultural opposition to Obama is an overriding concern for the GOP above all else. Policy, economy, security -- none of that matters compared to making as sure as they can that Obama is unsuccessful and unpopular.

  2. I think that's true, and also rather strongly supports my point - that it would be super interesting if we voted on policies not people.