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State of the Electorate

Russ Feingold official photo

Image via Wikipedia

Salon.com has an article on the debate between Delaware Senate candidates Christine O’Donnell (R-Tea Partyville)  and Chris Coons  (D).

“O’Donnell’s debate Hail Mary: He’s a Marxist!”

Details the pitifully out of her depth O’Donnell and describes a debate in which she ran down a checklist of contradictory and nonsensical right wing tropes and buzzwords (Marxist, waste, fraud, abuse, Nancy Pelosi, out of control spending) and seems not to recognize that she’s in the wrong end of the pool.

Salon writer Steve Kornacki makes an observation that scares the hell out of me:

We’d like to believe that elections are won and lost on policy, but they aren’t. So O’Donnell’s policy deficiencies didn’t lose her the debate, just as Coons’ effortless policy conversance didn’t win it for him.

As a further example, the offers the situation in the Wisconsin Senate contest in which Russ Feingold (D) is losing to the clueless Ron Johnson (R – Teabag City).

The key passage:

“A candidate like Johnson in Wisconsin can get away with that because – at least for now – he meets swing voters’ basic threshold for competence; they are strongly inclined to back Republicans this year, and he’s good enough. But for O’Donnell, the key to Wednesday night was whether anything would be said (or whether any body language would be expressed) that might grab the attention of the media and create enough noise in the next few days (or weeks) to shake swing voters from their aversion to her.”

So this is the state of the American electorate — or at least a huge segment of it.

Competence and familiarity with policy are irrelevant, and the masses clamour for candidates who think from the gut. Yay.

We tried that. Eight years, two wars, an economic collapse and a budget surplus transformed into a seemingly insurmountable deficit later, I think we can safely say that we should take a pass.

My fondest fantasy involves a reality television show and an island nation in which the Tea Party crowd could realize their wildest dreams.

Americans could watch the formation of “Galtland” and see the consequences of their policies as they play out on live television.

Each week, the producers could have citizenship quiz contests for those who want to compete for a return trip to “socialist” America.

I’d watch.

Update: The New York Times published an editorial on October 12 that deals with the Wisconsin race.

“Uphill in Wisconsin” hits some of the same points as the Salon article, and provides further evidence that the Tea Partiers (in the words of Matt Taibbi) are full of shit:

Mr. Feingold’s independent mind, and his refusal to follow the big-money line on issues like trade, campaign finance and Wall Street reform, should have endeared him to Tea Party members and other independents who are angry at Washington conformists. If they had taken the time to listen.

The editorial is outlines the puzzling phenomenon in which Democrats, who have some accomplishments to crow about, are failing to get through the dense web of lies being woven by the united right wing media machine and candidates like Johnson.

It’s possible that within a decade my fantasy about the island above will become the nightmare reality in America.

-Chris

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October 14, 2010 - Posted by | Debt, Deficit, Democrats, Politics, Republicans, Tea Party, Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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