Because the issues are horrifically complex, the current state of anything is terribly subjective, and the solutions are far from obvious. Who has time to be fully informed when you’re struggling to make a living because your job has just been outsourced to Malaysia?
Partially because the media loooooves a sound byte. It lets them sum up the candidates speech without having to work hard. The byte gets repeated and that becomes what we know about the candidate. This is why the word “meme” pops up in nearly every thread about bush and kerry.
Fantsypants has a good point. I work the usual 8-10 hour a day job and have enough work on my days off to keep from being able to invest a lot of time into researching much of anything about a candidate. What little I pick up from the television/radio/newpaper/magazine has to be good enough.
I think people actually love a straight talker who cuts through the BS, but candidates are afraid to do it. They are afraid to take a stand lest they offend some unknown undecided voter.
People loved Ross Perot bacause he talked plainly. People loved Jesse Ventura (for a while anyway) because he didn’t BS them. People love John McCain now because of his forthright manner. Howard Dean’s plainspoken politics were the secret of his early success.
And straight talkers have had success in presidential politics, from Andrew Jackson to Harry Truman. Not lately, though.
As little nemo says, everybody remembers President Perot, President McCain and President Dean.
McCain either has become a sellout or is convinced that a Republican run nation is so important he is willing to hold his nose with both hands and one foot and back GW. Of course maybe he has been promised that all of his legislation will get administration backing.
And if Howard Dean were so popular and so plain-spoken where is he now on the subject of the administration’s continued bungling which Candide sloughs off with fairy tales about how wonderful it will be when the Middle East is the epitome of freedom? I know the Kerry folks might not want his help but if a plain-spoken man is convinced that the executive is running things into the ground how can you shut him up? I know Dean hasn’t yet said that he thinks that but it’s hard for me to see how he could think otherwise.
Hey, I didn’t follow Lil Kim because of anything she said. It was because her booty looks like two puppies fighting under a blanket. I spotted that fine ass one day and was hypnotized. I was unaware of anything save that baby had some beautiful, bodacious, back. Eventually, she sent me away not because she found my passion for her posterior disturbing (to the contrary, she was very flattered.) but because she saw that so total was my devotion to her divine derriere that I could not tear myself away even long enough to eat or sleep.
It’s human nature not “American” nature. BTW “cheap” or not, even Clinton said (in a warning tone) about President Bush that, “He has done what he said he would do in his first election campaign”. Accurate statements about prospective actions may be smarmy, but they aren’t that rhetorically “cheap” in an ethically disingenuous sense.
American citizens, in general, are not well-informed about how government works. They don’t understand the system by which laws are designed, debated, and passed. They’re not well-versed on how a policy can have vastly different effects on different stakeholders. Cripes, a staggering amount of people don’t even know what their constitutional rights really mean–even when they’re arguing with you about how cherised and inalienable they find them.
That makes it easy for candidates, politicians, and media to dole out grossly oversimplified comments and soundbites and lame rhetoric without being challenged to provide better information. People absorb it in its oversimplified form. Too many of them don’t question it much further.
The follow-up question, I think, is why people are so poorly informed. How did they get that way? Why don’t they want to change that?
Most Americans are poorly informed - they think someone will give them “the big picture”, without them digging into the information and the details for themselves. Despite their ignorance, they are also opinionated. They will vote for whoever is selling thir brand of hogwash, evne if it is 100 percent pure unadulterated horse shit. They tend to depend on soundbites and very short, biased "news reports on television instead of reading or paying attention for themselves. To sum up most of them, chalk it all up to ignorance, stupidity and laziness. That’s it in a nutshell. Then again, maybe it is The Big Lie, as described by Hitler and Goebbels - if the lie is big enough and heard often enough, it becomes the “truth”.
I agree within reason. Sadly politics has somewhat degraded into a taping of Judge Judy where whoever can bully the hardest wins. Its sorta like Jesse Ventura, people elected him because he was a novelty and they didnt even consider what his policies were. Same with Arnold, elect a novelty instead of someone whose issues you agree with. My mom is a blind republican, she gets off on hearing Michael Savage/Shawn Hannity/Bill O’Reilly/etc. bully someone, calls Kerry a flip flopper and can’t mention his name without using an insult and doesn’t know jack shit about what either candidate stands for on anything. And I live in a town where tons of people are violently anti-Bush and most can’t even tell you why.
However aren’t all democracies like that? Aren’t some sectors of the public more concerned with blind loyalty to a party and entertainment value than the actual issues? The way I see it the human mind wasn’t designed to handle this much info. I once read that the average Sunday newspaper has more info than an individual who lived in midevil europe would be exposed to in his entire life. People are overloaded with info and they go on autopilot. It would be nice if they went on autopilot on other issues than politics but the world isn’t perfect. And alot of people are a mixture, they get off on soundbites but they understand the issues too. most people i’ve talked with politics about seemed to grasp the issues and had reasons for who they are going to vote for this year.
And how can someone so reactionary on the Israel-Palestine issue talk about sound bites and cheap rhetoric? I hear you compare the Israelis to the Nazis. Either you are not introspective or you don’t know what falling for cheap rhetoric means.
We jumped into Viet Nam and Iraq without a fucking clue…plus we have done such a fine job in Korea and Afghanistan that diplomats from around the world are beating down our door in the UN to figure out how to emulate our talent for getting neck-deep in shit and still have a populace who care more about who is going to be voted off Survivor next week.
But that’s OK. We don’t give a fuck what the rest of the world thinks. “We’re 'mericans, we got bigger guns and dicks, and we’re right.”