Peepul R Stoopit


Danps at Corrente provides an example of a common meme:

Slogan and bromide open thread

One of the things liberals are terrible at is messaging. We tend to start discussing issues by going Full Wonk, and that isn’t very appealing to the largest part of the population. If you want to engage on an issue you need to get your rhetorical foot in the door first, and that means finding a quick, punchy way to grab the average citizen’s attention.

So I thought I’d throw open a thread for brainstorming. Come up with something that could fit on a bumper sticker and (important!) is an actual policy prescription or direct action most people can take. No “visualize world peace” or anything like that. Make it short, make it punchy, make it relevant.


I guess we’re just too smart for our own good. Obviously, we’re right and they’re wrong. If people aren’t convinced of our superiority they must be booger-eating morons. We need to “dumb-down” our message so they can understand. What’s the matter with Kansas? Why do these inbred hillbillies keep voting against their self-interest?

Danps gives a couple examples. Here’s my favorite:

Slogan: 15:1
Policy prescription/direct action: Make a nationwide standard for the maximum student/teacher ratio in public primary and secondary schools to be 15:1.
Effect: Smaller class sizes, especially in lower income communities that need it most. Focuses attention on classroom environment instead of standardized testing or privatization. Provides guaranteed national funding to those places (including, ahem, some entire states) that abdicate their responsibilities in that regard.


I don’t know what the ideal student-teacher ratio is, but “reducing class size” has been offered as a panacea for years now. We’ve been trying to “fix” education since before I was born. We keep increasing the workload, lengthening the school day and school year, and cutting back on things like sports and art. Are kids any smarter?

If we reduce class size to 15:1, how long before someone suggests 10:1? 5:1? 1:1?

Nobody wants their kids to be illiterate. But how much money are we willing to spend on their educations? How much would it cost us to implement a 15:1 class size ratio? How many more teachers will we need? How many more classrooms will we need to build?

Assuming we do it, what’s the pay-off? How much will that increase test scores?

But getting back to the original point of this post, is someone stupid if they are unwilling to pay more in taxes to reduce class sizes some more? What if they don’t have any kids? What exactly is their self-interest?

Would teachers be willing to take a 25% pay cut to fund more teachers?

BTW – Ever notice that conservatives don’t call voters stupid?


About Myiq2xu

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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33 Responses to Peepul R Stoopit

  1. Oswald says:

    Some people shouldn’t be allowed to vote. We should make voters pass a test to prove they aren’t stupid.

    /snark

  2. WMCB says:

    Ever had an argument with someone over something (non-political) and they refused to accept that you disagreed with them? And they kept saying stuff like, “No, see, you don’t understand what I’m saying…” and you kept saying, “No, I understand what you said. I think you are wrong.” And they absolutely Would. Not. Believe. that you disagreed, and kept trying and trying to rephrase and rework and explain more and refer to how much more informed they were on this topic than you, and really, if you just understood what I’m trying to tell you………until you got really pissed off?

    Yeah, that.

  3. myiq2xu says:

    Just because government is good does not mean that more government is better.

  4. angienc says:

    Are kids any smarter?

    I believe the Obama supporting members of the Y Generation have answered that question firmly in the negative.

    I have friends & relatives working in public schools and I can tell you the federal govt. needs to stay the fuck out. I actually think No Child Left Behind was well-intentioned, but as they say about the road to hell . . .

    I have a cousin who works as a middle school ESL teacher. Because of NCLB children, regardless of actual ability/fluency in English, are put into her classes based on age (i.e., all 5th graders, all 6th graders, etc). That means she has kids with all different ranges on fluency ability in one class — some who can speak/read/write pretty well but have some minor problems with say prepositions/grammar stuff & some who just got to this country and speak absolutely no English whatsover and everything in between. Can you even imagine the kind of hell she goes through drawing up lesson plans and running her classroom trying to teach all these different English fluency kids in one class? Wouldn’t it be smarter to put kids in a class based on their actual fluency not age? Well, because of NCLB that can’t happen. Worse still, because of NCLB, she is expected to get all kids in each age group to the same fluency by the end of the school year — again, regardless of where each child started fluency-wise. It is a clusterfuck.

    I’ve heard similar things from a friend who teaches special needs kids as well (it is all based on age, not where the child starts) and it’s ridiculous. But it is exactly why schools are better run by the local communities who actually know the kids they have, not men in DC who are just dividing kids by age group, not ability.

    • myiq2xu says:

      I believe the Obama supporting members of the Y Generation have answered that question firmly in the negative.

      As a matter of fact they fell for those simple 3-word messages.

      “Hope and Change”

      “Yes We Can”

    • HELENK says:

      when I went to school back in the dark ages they had kids grouped into different sections. example grade 7 section 1 to 12.
      Each section was taught at the level of the students in the class. every body learned and it worked. No one was drowning or bored with the classwork and if help was needed it was supplied.
      the classes were bigger, but the students were expected to respect the teacher or get thrown out of class

      I am glad I went to school when I did. I went to 13 different schools in 12 years but I got a good education

      We had debate, where you were given a subject and had to know how to explain both sides,
      example lower the voting age to 18 and do not use” if I am old enough to fight, I am old enough to vote”

      we had take a subject and give a 5 minute lecture on it to the class.

      BTW this was in junior high and high school

      We seem to be cheating our kids today. They are not taught critical thinking or how to really express an idea
      they are not taught how to fail and learn from it and go on to do better

  5. DeniseVB says:

    I disagree with this:

    Slogan: Buy local. Pay cash.

    Policy prescription/direct action: Encourage citizens (let’s get away from calling them “consumers,” OK?) to carry cash, particularly if they are in the habit of swiping everything on a credit card. Spend that money on smaller, local merchants instead of big, remote franchisees.

    Is it okay if I swipe everything on a card and pay it off in full every month? In this day and age if you’re a smaller, local mom and pop shop, you’re in deep doo-doo if you don’t have a card swiper. Even roadside veggie stands have them now. Plus it gets bodies in your store or stand. There are exceptions, some businesses will give cash discounts, but more and more card transactions are safer for them in the long run.

    It’s how you build credit too, just don’t have too many cards.

    Of course the results of this action was to stick it to the banks and their fees, sigh.

    • DeniseVB says:

      oops, my blockquote didn’t work. The first paragraph was their suggested slogan, the rest is my blathering 🙂

    • propertius says:

      I’m happy to deprive the card issuers of transaction fees as well when the opportunity presents itself 😉 That 3-5% can really eat into a small business’s margins.

  6. WMCB says:

    We just (finally) got season four of Breaking Bad on DVD. Hubby and I settling in to watch, since the new season starts July 15th!

    We had not watched it before myiq mentioned it months ago. Now we’ve watched thru season three, and should be all caught up by the tiime the new one starts. LOVE IT.

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      Don’t spoil it for me! I haven’t caught it yet and I’m up to the last episode of season 3. ♥ that show.

    • propertius says:

      Giancarlo Esposito is just fantastic as Gus. You’re gonna love it.

  7. propertius says:

    I’m not sure that pointing out that the Left’s message is often garbled, incoherent, poorly-substantiated, and pedantic is equivalent to calling voters stupid ;-).

    • WMCB says:

      The meme coming out of wisconsin is that they didn’t get their message out. They did. The voters disagreed.

      The Left never, ever, EVER admits that the majority of voters understood very well what the issue was, and disagreed with them on anything. It is always a “messaging failure”.

      It is not that there is never a garbled message. There is, sometimes, from both sides. But the Left has a bad habit, long entrenched, of saying that voters just don’t understand what they are selling. Often they do. And reject it.

      If this was a one-off. I’d maybe agree with you. But from “What’s the matter with Kansas?” to “low information voters” to “they are all deceeeeiiived by evil Fox News!” to “voting against their self-interests”, the Left beats a steady refrain of saying voters are stupid.

      • Oswald says:

        “High information” Wisconsinites:

      • SophieCT says:

        But FOX is deceptive. They’re one-sided and misreport the news constantly. So does MSNBC. They’re just as slanted and ministers of disinformation for the other side. Just because I find the Left so egregiously wrong on so many things is not a compelling reason for me to embrace the Right. They both suck and I just can’t reconcile the whole enemy-of-my-enemy thing.

        But the Right has historically been much better at framing their issues than the Left. They name a bill Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act and the Left names a bill Dodd-Frank.

        Voters are stupid. Really Effin stupid. I submit 2008 for your review–both the primary and the general.

        • WMCB says:

          I didn’t say Fox wasn’t biased. I said that the Left assumes that voters vote for R’s because they are too stupid to realize Fox is slanted, and swallow it whole. That’s simply not true. Most voters on the right are very aware of the games being played, and the arguments of both sides, and the laughableness of the media.

          Stupid people, and thus stupid voters, exist everywhere, on both sides. Not all of them, but some. The Left maintains that righties are righties because they are stupid. The Right by and large readily acknowledges that Liberals are not dumb. They just think they are wrong, and say so. You simply don’t hear “the poor things dont know any better, we need to dumb it down for them” as a major campaign theme on the Right.

          I’m in favor of many (not all) govt solutions as a practical matter. As the most logical way of doing certain things. My motivation is utilitarian. What I am not , is possessed of a superior, paternalistic urge that feels on some fundamental level that people need to be managed, and guided, and improved. That is the thing that distinguishes me from most liberals today.

          And yes, I said “most”, because that paternalistic urge has become the norm, not the exception, on the Left. They are very comfortable in that mindset. And it is, IMO, the source of their continual disdain for voters.

        • WMCB says:

          It is conservatives who started the parody Twitter account @SeanHannitysHair. Who poke fun at O’Reilly’s bombast, and make use of Glenn Beck when he covers a good story, but also snicker at his drama queenness and end-of-the-worlding.

          The caricature of conservatives sitting around in a mindless stupor, uncritically absorbing whatever Fox News or talk radio says, is COMPLETE AND UTTER BULLSHIT. I just don’t know how else to say it.

        • SophieCT says:

          voters vote for R’s because they are too stupid to realize Fox is slanted, and swallow it whole. That’s simply not true. Most voters on the right are very aware of the games being played

          You and I know vastly different people. The people I know take that cr-p verbatim and think it’s the inerrant word of some higher power. Seriously.

          The Left maintains that righties are righties because they are stupid.

          Because the Left finds the Right’s choices illogical. The Right assumes the Left is being too clever by half and mistrusts them for it.

          The Right really does dumb down its message because they smartly observed that voters are stupid. (See 2008, 2004, 2000.) The difference is, the politicians and pundits on the Right think that all voters are stupid whereas the politicians and pundits on the Left think that only the R voters are stupid.

          Both sides are paternalistic. One side, as you said, thinks “people need to be managed, and guided, and improved.” The other side is an authoritarian killjoy. I don’t like either.

        • angienc says:

          Both sides are paternalistic. One side, as you said, thinks “people need to be managed, and guided, and improved.” The other side is an authoritarian killjoy. I don’t like either.

          Bless your heart, Sophie, you actually think there is a difference between those two things you wrote, don’t you? And even better, you actually think one is a *little* better than the other, huh?

          No wonder you can’t get that whole “enemy of my enemy is my friend” thing.

        • myiq2xu says:

          Both sides are paternalistic. One side, as you said, thinks “people need to be managed, and guided, and improved.”

          Once you let go of the bands of partisanship that tie(d) you to the Democratic party the world is a different place.

          Can you define “left/liberal” and “right/conservative” without listing a bunch of policies?

          Can you express (your version) of liberal ideology in a few sentences? Are all the policies you support in 100% agreement with that ideology?

          Can you accept that a person can be intelligent, informed, of good character AND conservative?

          Can you explain why liberalism is superior to conservatism without denigrating/demonizing conservatives?

        • DandyTiger says:

          Once you let go of the bands of partisanship that tie(d) you to the Democratic party the world is a different place.

          Hello, my name is DT, and I used to be a partisan. I’ve been partisan free since May 31, 2008. I’ve never felt better.

          • myiq2xu says:

            The first step is admitting that the Democrats are not your friends. The second step is realizing that the Republicans are not your friends either.

        • DandyTiger says:

          I’m on step 3. I think it’s sucking my thumb and sitting in the corner. No, that’s step 5. Step 3 is enjoying the hell out of this election with popcorn in hand. That.

        • SophieCT says:

          angie
          (ignoring the bless my heart part…)

          you actually think one is a *little* better than the other, huh?

          I said “I don’t like either.” I don’t like the politicians or the pundits of either. However, I wasn’t a Democrat most of my life for nothing. My ideology leans left of center. It has never been far enough left for my Lefty friends and it’s been called socialist by my Righty friends. So if that’s what you mean by liking one side a little better, then yes I do. If the vote is about God, guns, and gays I will pick the Left pretender over the Right pretender.

          I have been plenty angry at the Left and plenty vocal about it, but I haven’t found one situtation where I could use “See, the Right gets it” as an argument against the Left. I don’t want a Nanny state and I don’t want a Police state. When forced to choose (and every election is a forced choice), I lean Nanny. Shame that there are few moderates any more. Although we only have two parties, there are still more than two sides to a story. Hence, the enemy of my enemy is often also my enemy. (BTW, I “get it” I just don’t agree with it.)

          myiq
          1.) Yes, with some time and thought.
          2.) Yes: I try–sometimes features are bundled.
          3.) Not since Buckley and Goldwater died.
          4.) Yes, with some time and thought.

      • propertius says:

        I wasn’t speaking specifically of the ill-advised Wisconsin recall. The Dems were terrible in 2008 – the only reason Obama won was because pretty much everyone in the country was sick of Bush. The Dems could have run a Golden Retriever in 2008 and walked away with the election. God only knows why they chose to do so.

        I absolutely agree with you that the Left blames its own ineptitude on the voters. I don’t think the issue is that the voters don’t understand what they’re selling – it’s that they don’t really have anything substantial to sell. Slogans are not policy. Snarky comments on cable TV are not policy. Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker are not policy. The Left, as institutionalized in the Democratic Party, has no clear policy prescription.

        Most voters aren’t looking for frothy rhetoric and they’re certainly not looking for self-congratulatory snobbery, they’re looking for someone to run the government.

        My point is that, if the Left doesn’t like the way its message is being received then it ought to look critically at both the message and the messengers, rather than recipients.

        I think we’re really in agreement on that.

        • myiq2xu says:

          Most voters aren’t looking for frothy rhetoric and they’re certainly not looking for self-congratulatory snobbery, they’re looking for someone to run the government.

          Most people aren’t into politics. They want some government, but not necessarily as much as we have now. They want efficient government that isn’t oppressive.

          They want paved roads, schools, police and fire departments. They want water, sewage and garbage. They want to be left alone. They want peace and prosperity. They want protection from criminals and terrorists. They don’t want to see people starving or homeless, but they don’t want to subsidize laziness either.

          They may not be able to explain why, but they know when something isn’t right.

        • threewickets says:

          The tea party and progressives have clearly different messages, at least to my ears, right or wrong, for or against. Doesn’t mean Obama or Romney embody those messages. They aren’t that principled, and what policies they stand for aren’t that far apart. Obamacare is Romneycare. Deficits would be as high if not higher under grand-bargain Romney as they would be under Obama, and that wouldn’t necessarily be wrong in the near term given the state of the economy, imho. But most of the electoral season rhetoric is bullcrap and politicking as usual. Doubt it’ll go beyond that, though it would be a nice surprise.

  8. yttik says:

    “One of the things liberals are terrible at is messaging.”

    Au contraire! That’s all current liberals are, is empty talking points and messaging. “Down with capitalism” and absolutely no thought about what will replace it. “Hope and change” without ever bothering to define what those words really mean.

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