Image by carf via FlickrI promised that I would post today . . . specifically on my view of the Obama win. Here you go.
I think that there are a number of issues that fed into the win and here they are:
Yep, I went there. But probably not like you're thinking. I do believe that some African-Americans voted for Barack simply because of the color of his skin . . . just like there are Mormons who voted for Mitt Romney because of his religious affiliation.
I think that white guilt played a larger role, though, than the black population voting for one of their own. What do I mean by white guilt, you ask? I'm glad you did. White guilt is what drives the surreptitious telling of racial jokes. "How does every 'good' racial joke start? When one person in the group sticks his head up, looks around and then brings it back down with a guilty look." White guilt is what drives the phrase "some of my best friends are . . . " and you can insert your racial preference at the end. White guilt is what has allowed affirmative action to continue when when there may be issues that keep individuals from being successful, but race isn't one of them.
There was definitely a racial component to the Obama victory.
There is a phrase in sales that has come to be considered a truism. All purchases are emotional. There is enough logic for people to justify their emotions, but the final decision is always based on emotion.
We just went through one of the most comprehensive marketing campaigns we have ever seen. And all good marketing pulls at the emotions of the people who are being pitched. Over the last several weeks I have been asking my liberal friends why they planned on voting for Barack. Every time the response was couched in phrases like "I feel like..." or "I believe that..." When asked to explain what they have to back up those feelings or beliefs, I was castigated as one who didn't understand, who was out of touch, who just didn't get it. I have one more example but it fits better in a following section but yes . . .
Barack Obama was marketed to the American people . . . and we bought.
Again, this has both an obvious component as well as a less (for some people) visible one.
What we all know is that more money was spent on this race than any other in history. One source (that I can't verify so I'm only claiming anecdotal information here) says that the Obama campaign out fund-raised both Hillary and McCain combined. Whether he did or not, the amount of money spent by the campaign was astronomical.
But outside the the money in the campaign, we must also consider the money that other industries hope will come from Tuesday's result. Primarily I'm thinking about what has been come to be called "the old media." Both the major networks as well as print media have been steadily losing their market share to the "new media."
With the looming "fairness doctrine", that the Democrats have insisted that they will pursue, I believe they saw a chance to regain that which they have lost. The fairness doctrine will mean the end of AM talk radio. Radio stations will be required to carry shows that have contrasting points of view. The problem is that there just isn't the market for liberal talk radio. How can I make this claim? Look at Air America. They couldn't make a go of it because they just couldn't get the ratings to justify advertising prices that would have kept them afloat.
And the problem is that those same Democrats believe that the major networks provide a fair balance of information. Really? The reason that "new media" has flourished is that millions of Americans feel that the major news outlets don't acknowledge their views or even provide a balanced view of what is happening in the world.
And how can I say that the media pushed Barack on us? Compare the Couric interviews of Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. Sarah got lambasted because she doesn't read newspapers or magazines.
Joe Biden talked about how, at the beginning of the great depression, FDR got on TV to help calm American's concerns. Problem? FDR wasn't the president at the beginning of the great depression and TV didn't exist. The result. Nothing, nic, nichevo, nada. He got a pass. That was just "good ole Joe, making a silly mistake again." Bull shit. Old media annointed thier savior and did everything they could to ensure that he was elected.
So, yes, money played a major role in the Obama victory
And by edcuation I'm not referring to our structured education system. Rather I point to the fact that most people don't understand our system of government. Oh, I'm sure that most people could tell you that we have three branches of government and that those were instituted so that we could have checks and balances. No, I mean that, as a people, we don't understand - indeed I don't believe we have been taught or respect our system of government.
First, I'll start with the example I mentioned above. Recently at work the topic of Barack's citizenship came up. When asked my opinion I stated that I thought the issue was a non-starter. This really shocked those with whom I was chatting because there appears to be some decent information to show that he may not be a natural born citizen. Add to that he has done nothing to clarify the new charges and everything to obfuscate.
I made my point by calling over the resident Obama cheerleader - who (I feel) was treating this election no differently than any of the other sports that he follows. I briefly explained the issue and then aske what I think was the pertinent question. "If you found out that Barack was not a natural born citizen, would you vote for him anyway?" To his credit he didn't come back with an enthusiastic "YES." Rather, it was a challenge for him because that was one of the requirements of "the thing" but "if he could help make a difference in the country . . . ." Do you see my contention about education?
If that weren't enough, let's go to my bigger issue on this topic. I cringe when I hear people - especially politicians - talking about what the federal government should do for us. They have entirely missed how and why our federal system was structrued they way it is. The Constitution details what the federal government is supposed to do - and reserves most of the burden for the individual states. It then (in the Bill of Rights) it details (on purpose) what the federal government will not do to the citizens of the country.
In my understanding of the founder's view, they felt that everything should be done on the smallest level possible. The family should be responsible for doing everything they can on their own. There are just some things that individual families can't do. For example, they can't build sewer systems, or electrical power systems, or health care systems, or . . . well, you get the idea. So each consectutive level of government was supposed to take care of as much as they could and only when it just didn't make sense was a higher level of government involved.
The federal government should be in charge of the military. We don't need 50 individual armies running around, doing thier own things. It doesn't make sense for each individual state to make treaties with foreign governments. It does make sense that there be a body to arbitrate between individual states. I will even go so far as to say it is fine to have the federal government develop things like educational standards to ensure that our children remain competitive in the world. However, implementation should be at the state level, not the federal level.
This is a huge soapbox issue for me (as if you couldn't tell) so I'll hit more on this in a later post. For now it is enough to say that . . .
The lack of edcuation about how our system of government is designed to work played a role in the Obama victory.
5. True Believers
Finally, one thing that makes most conservatives different from most liberals I know is that conservatives acknowledge that liberals have a right to thier liberal viewpoints and don't denigrate them as unintelligent just because they don't believe the same way. I acknowledge that there are those who do understand for whom and for what they were voting.
I just don't believe that they had a major impact on the Obama victory.