AQ writes on how the biggest task in politics is just getting everyone to pay attention:
At the moment the problem in Washington is us, not them, or at least how they try to figure us out. Good luck with that. One poll of former Obama supporters who abandoned the Democrats in Massachusetts showed that 41 percent of those who opposed the health-care plan weren’t sure exactly why. If elected officials are supposed to act based on the wisdom of ordinary people, they’re going to need ordinary people to be wiser than that.
Which strikes us as, well, fair enough; everyone is rightly praising Obama for countering meaningless talking points with reason in his appearance in Baltimore on Friday. But to be fair, the reason those meaningless talking points work is because many American citizens don’t know any better, and they should.
on the poll:
1) It would be nice to know a) what the other answer options for that particular question were and b) if the pollsters followed up that question with one about where people got their info on the healthcare bill.
2) I have a hunch that that 41% probably knew why but couldn’t articulate it within the parameters of the polling answer options. I’d need the answer to 1) before I could say for sure.
on the healthcare bill:
A 2,000-page bill which carries even the remotest possibility of upsetting a system upon which many people depend is, to those very same people, frightening. Should anyone be surprised at this reaction?
The plethora of opinions on the darn thing bewildered even me. I decided to read the bill myself but got bogged down in incomprehensible references (with no links) to other legislation.
The lack of clarity surrounding the bill and the possible outcomes is, in essence, what made it such a hard sell to the American people.
Why was Obama so effective in that Q&A? Clarity. A strong voice cutting through all the GOP BS.
Healthcare reform, as is, lacks this comprehensibility.
on ordinary people & elected officials:
Who are these ordinary people? You, me, everyone we know? Is this usage an example of the liberal elitism which helped the GOP get GWB elected?
If you ask me, “ordinary” people are wise enough, wise enough to know when they should be afraid.
The problems lies in engagement — lack of civic engagement on the part of the people and lack of engaging ideas on the part of elected officials.
A thriving democracy is highly dependent on the relationship the people have with the gov’t and the relationship gov’t has with the people. And while it’s difficult to establish relationships when interfering middle-men, like media outlets, muck up the debate with emotional hoopla, it’s not impossible.
Maybe .gov needs to get a tumblr, i.e. find new ways to communicate / share with and get feedback from the people.
[The DNC could’ve used it when looking for candidates in MA. I think that result was less about healthcare and more about giving people candidates they can believe in. Voter turnout among 18-29 year-olds? 15%]