Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Undecided Vote

Some people are still sincerely struggling over their choice for president, and there are some voters who haven't had the time before now to look carefully into the candidates on the major issues. Okay. (I would think most people at least would have a take on Iraq and the economy, and know the candidates' positions on Iraq, but okay.) Engaged but undecided voters are one thing, but proudly or lazily ignorant voters are another matter. These days, it's possible to catch up on the debates online. Anyone can read the candidates' websites for key policies. The media's actually been doing some fact-checking, and good blogs certainly do so. Obviously the hard-core yellow dog voters are going to vote for their party regardless, and added to that, the authoritarians of movement conservatism aren't big on the whole 'merit and competency' thing. But I know I speak for many when I say I'm really sick of worshipping the "undecided voter." Yes, it is a key voting block. But good grief, why is this choice so agonizing? There's this guy named Bush who's been in the White House for almost eight entire years, his party's been in power for most of that time, and it's hard to miss that their reign has been kinda a disaster – actually, multiple disasters. One of the candidates, McCain, has voted the Bush line over 90% of the time and has nearly identical policies on major issues. Fer gawdssake, is it this really so goddam hard?

(Side point – if you're like me and a fan of a certain sports franchise, one bit stings, but it actually becomes funnier the more they pile on. SNL accomplished the same in their debate spoof with Bill Murray's cameo and the same target. It's a good comedy note.)

Charles Blow at The New York Times has a more serious breakdown on swing voters (via Amy at Incertus), and Thers examines Ann Althouse's comically tortured voter's constipation. But let us also turn to Atrios:

Let's face it, just about anyone who is an undecided voter at this point is... well, not especially bright. Some are genuinely stupid, and some may be smart people who just don't think paying attention to current events is a valuable use of their time. Obviously from the perspective of predicting election outcomes it's useful to know what these people are thinking. However, it's not clear why handing a debate over to 80 of them and letting them write the questions (chosen by Brokaw, of course) is supposed to enlighten the rest of us.

And it's hard to top Miss Britt, who notes that "There is a big difference between being undecided because you don’t have all the information and being undecided because you are still trying to decide which issues and priorities mean the most to you," but also writes:

If you are still undecided because of lack of information*, the fault is not with either candidate. The blame for your lack of knowledge lies with you.

If you don’t care, admit you don’t care. If you’re unsure because you’re waffling on which plan is best, then say you’re not sure which plan is best.

But don’t say you don’t know because you haven’t been told.

We only allow adults to vote in this country. You, as the voting public, have been told everything you could possibly want to know. You’ve been told about more than personal biographies and mud slinging. You’ve had access all along to more than speeches and one liner quips.

The question, 60 days from the next presidential election, is no longer WHAT WILL THEY TELL YOU? The question is, what responsibility will YOU TAKE in listening to what they’ve already said?

Get Informed. It’s a verb.


One Seriously Pissed Off DECIDED Voter

(Cross-posted at The Blue Herald)

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