Sep 7, 2008

It's the stupidity, stupid!

Most elections are decided by stupid voters. This is because (1) most people are stupid, and (2) most people who are not stupid understand the differences between parties and tend to vote for the party they prefer, regardless of the candidate. For the second reason to be relevant, the parties must attract approximately equal fractions of the electorate, but that is a natural result of the parties positioning themselves ideologically as they vie for the middle.

I am not saying that there aren't plenty of stupid partisan voters. Oh, no, those are some of the most amazingly stupid people around; but they don't matter in elections. The stupid voters in the middle do.

Therefore, to win the election, you must convince the stupid undecided - the politically correct word is "moderate" - voters to vote for you. You must make them like you better than the other guy. So what is the number one thing you must not do?

You must not tell them that they are stupid.

You must not tell them that even though it is true. Actually, it is precisely because it is true that you must not tell them. They know it already, so it will stick. You remind them what they already know, they'll remember you reminded them. And they'll hate you for that. They'll think you are an arrogant, pompous asshole. And the only way they'll like you more than the other guy is if the other guy is also an arrogant, pompous asshole and his feet stink. Well, good luck.

Here's John Fucking Kerry:
STEPHANOPOULOS: … Howard Wolfson, Senator Clinton’s former communications director, said that this pick might just work to draw women to the Republican ticket. Are you worried about that?

KERRY: Well, with all due respect to Howard, you know, I have much more respect for the Clinton supporters than that sort of quick- blush take with — I mean, how stupid do they think the Clinton supporters are, for Heaven sakes?

Do they think Clinton supporters supported Hillary only because she was a woman. For Heaven sakes, they supported Hillary because of all the things she’s fought for, because she fights for health care, which John McCain doesn’t support; she fights for children and children’s health care, which John McCain voted against; she fights for a windfall profits tax on the oil company, which John McCain opposes.

I mean, for Heaven sakes, the people who supported Hillary Clinton are not going to be seduced just because John McCain has picked a woman. They’re going to look at what she supports.

The fact that she doesn’t even support the notion that climate change is manmade — she’s back there with the Flat Earth Caucus. And I don’t see how those women are going to be fooled into believing — I think it’s almost insulting to the Hillary supporters that they believe they would support somebody who is against almost everything that they believe in.

Translation: "I didn't learn anything from losing to a fucking moron in 2004, so I will now help Barack Obama lose to a goddamn idiot in 2008."

For Heaven's sake, listen! There are two kinds of Hillary Clinton supporters: those who are not stupid and those who are stupid. And those who are not stupid don't matter. They are already for Obama. As you said correctly, for somebody who likes Hillary Clinton to even consider voting for John McCain is stupid. So what the fuck were you thinking saying it's stupid!?!

Those who are not stupid already know it's stupid. And those who are... well, the last thing in the world they want to hear is that they are stupid.

Imagine Steve Jobs going on TV and saying "An iPod is a great gadget. If you don't have an iPod, you are stupid." That would really convince those iPodless dunces to run to the nearest Apple Store and buy iPods, wouldn't it? And those who are not stupid, uhm, they already have one...

The only reason the analogy is not perfect is that someone who already has an iPod could still buy another, but every voter has only one vote. Kerry's salesmanship is actually worse than in my grotesque hypothetical example.

Unfortunately, Obama did take a lesson from master Kerry:
"And suddenly he's the change agent? Ha. He says, 'I'm going to tell those lobbyists that their days of running Washington are over.' Who is he going to tell? Is he going to tell his campaign chairman, who's one of the biggest corporate lobbyists in Washington? Is he going to tell his campaign manager, who was one of the biggest corporate lobbyists in Washington?"

"I mean, come on, they must think you're stupid," Obama said as the crowd laughed and cheered.

It isn't nearly as bad as Kerry's shooting his own footburger, because Obama was speaking directly to voters and making it obvious he didn't think they were stupid. But don't forget that those were the voters who came to hear him; most of them probably already support him. Most of them do not buy McCain's bullshit, and are quite happy to hear that those who would buy it would be stupid.

Except that there are some undecided, stupid potential buyers watching that on TV. And they are likely to think "Yeah, he thinks those guys there aren't stupid, but he says I might be!" And you know what? That ain't too stupid of a conclusion!

So let me address the average stupid voter. It is perfectly safe, because no average stupid voters read this blog. Average stupid voter, does Obama think you are stupid? I think he probably does - I mean, he isn't stupid, for Heaven's sake - but not enough. He underestimates your stupidity. (Is that disrespectful of him? I don't know, you draw your own conclusions.) And what about McCain? Does he think you are stupid? Yessir, yabetcha. And he's right. But he won't tell you. He wants you to think his judgment is good, so he must flaunt all his bad judgments. Being stupid, you are more likely to appreciate those as good.

Except, in this case, his judgment actually is good. But you already know that. Every fool knows it. Only the smart ones don't get it.

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