Democracy For Dummies

David Feith:

If Obama Loses

If President Obama loses re-election, it won’t be because of the weak economy, the unpopularity of ObamaCare, the fallout from Benghazi or any other policy-related matter. At least that isn’t how many Obama supporters on the left are likely to explain it. Instead, we’ll hear that he went down to defeat at the hands of America the Pathological—a country where bigotry, corruption and political dysfunction reign.

Americans got a taste of that reaction four years ago, when Mr. Obama’s election wasn’t certain. “Racism is the only reason Obama might lose” to John McCain, Slate editor Jacob Weisberg wrote at the time. The argument was rendered moot when the first-term Illinois senator trounced Mr. McCain (53%-46%), winning a larger share of white voters than any Democrat in 40 years and entering the White House amid echoes of Camelot and approval ratings above 70%. Now the racism argument is being readied in the event of a Romney victory.


Attributing an Obama defeat to racism, though, is a weak charge because he is, after all, the incumbent—and so his defenders will need to bolster the America the Pathological diagnosis. That’s where a larger conspiracy would come in: The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision handed the levers of power to plutocrats like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson.

“Is a ‘Citizens United’ Democracy a Democracy at All?” asked Katrina vanden Heuvel of the Nation recently. Team Obama already has suggested that the election was being bought. “You’ve got a few very wealthy people lining up trying to purchase the White House for Mr. Romney,” said senior White House adviser David Plouffe in October. Added campaign strategist David Axelrod: “They are trying to buy this election.”

Actually, the spending by GOP donors has been about making a case to voters—and the same is true of spending by the Obama camp and every other campaign there ever was. Public rallies, television ads, direct mail, online videos and the like cost money. Such political speech is the essence of democracy, not its undoing.

Of course some campaign rhetoric is misleading or downright dishonest. That’s why it is good that politicians, journalists and regular citizens are free to push back. Ultimately the public decides—that’s the whole point. Unless the public can’t be trusted to bear that responsibility, a critique that seems to be at the heart of the scaremongering about the plutocratic takeover of American politics.


Which brings us to the indictment that could ring loudest of all if Mr. Romney wins: America is ungovernable, democracy not up to the challenge. The United States is “a nation of dodos . . . too dumb to thrive,” Time magazine’s Joe Klein wrote in 2010, after opinion surveys showed the public insufficiently impressed by Mr. Obama’s economic stewardship. Days later, in a column called “Down With the People,” Slate’s Mr. Weisberg wrote that “what may be the biggest culprit in our current predicament [is] the childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large.”

This is familiar territory for progressives. As Herbert Croly, co-founder of The New Republic, wrote a century ago: “The average American individual is morally and intellectually inadequate to a serious and consistent conception of his responsibilities as a democrat.” So it has ever been thus: heads, our guy wins; tails, America loses.

How ironic is it that the “party of the people” is run by a group of snotty elitists that don’t trust the people?

Democracy is a radical idea. “One person, one vote.” Even our Founding Fathers didn’t completely trust the idea, that’s why they wanted to limit the voting franchise to white male landowners. Right now the only requirements to register to vote is to be eighteen years old, a citizen and have a pulse. In the vast majority of cases nobody even checks to see if you are telling the truth.

We let crazy people vote, along with the mentally deficient. (Half of all eligible voters are below-average in intelligence.) Poll tests are illegal – you don’t have to be literate or even demonstrate that you understand what issues you are voting on.

The historical record of democracy is mixed. Over the years the voters have elected some real losers – the current incumbent being a prime example. But they have also elected some great leaders at key moments in our history. You could probably get the same results by picking names at random.

So why do we keep democracy? Why not restrict the voting franchise to educated people who understand the issues?

The answer is pragmatic: Because democracy works better than anything else that’s ever been tried.

This entry was posted in 2012 Elections, Barack Obama, Politics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to Democracy For Dummies

  1. myiq2xu says:

    Oddly enough, letting the intellectuals run things is one of the worst systems ever tried.

    • bluestate says:

      intellectuals tend to lack common sense.

    • yttik says:

      I’ll never forget coming back over the mountains with a car full of intellectuals and being completely screwed because it was snowing so hard and the windshield wipers stopped working. There we were completely helpless with a physicist and an engineer in the car. It took a 9 yr old girl and some bread ties to get us back on the road.

    • Lulu says:

      Just look at universities if you want dysfunction. The Democratic party and the Obama administration are the Penn State of political dysfunction.

  2. Underwhelmed says:

    ‘So why do we keep democracy? Why not restrict the voting franchise to educated people who understand the issues?’

    I think it’s because there is an inherent evil in allowing one sector of society to determine who is and isn’t worthy. That’s been inflicted on humanity in many different guises throughout history and it has never, ever, ever ended well for the vast majority.

    I swim with intellectual elistists on a daily basis. They are abhorrent.

    • Underwhelmed says:

      Plus I can’t spell.


    • 49erDweet says:

      Gonna disagree here. IMO “educated people who understand the issues” is a classical fallacy based on a speaker’s personal pride and prejudices. T’would be nice if t’were true, but the assumption is easily disproved by watching random episodes of “Survivor, (wherever)”. Cunning or charismatic contenders more often control that contest. In my experience that’s also true of life.

      Educated people probably well understand facts and strategies they learn, but have no noticeably higher level of success applying those to issues they face than do uneducated grunts spending lives eking out livings by sweat of brow. And many cases false assumptions made by the educated place them at severe disadvantages from which some never recover. They fall into the trap of being “too certain” of this or that and get swept over a cliff when proven wrong. IMO.

  3. angienc says:

    Proud Military Mom:

    I was wrong in previous thread– Romney isn’t going to just be in Cleveland tomorrow, but will be in Pittsburgh too — but not typical “rallies” — GOTV events.

    And don’t listen to the bullshit the MSM is trying to spin that this means he’s “in trouble” or “desperate” etc:

    • 🙂 Please oh please let it be PA that delivers that revenge for all the caucus cheating, the 5/31/08 disgusting disenfranchisement of the people, for the four years of misery! PLEASE let it be PA!

      • angienc says:

        Hillary won the PA primary pretty decisively.
        Plus, although the “bitter clinger” comment had gotten out, the “under my plan, you can build a coal powered plant, but you’ll go bankrupt” and “energy prices will necessarily skyrocket” ones had been suppressed by the MSM.
        And, of course, Obama really, really sucks.

      • Erica says:

        Wouldn’t that be great?! I’m sitting in CA hoping it’s PA, or maybe Michigan after taking Hill’s votes

        • Or Both? 🙂
          That whole “vote vote voting is the best revenge” thing is really pissing me off.
          Can only hope my Nana’s words apply to him here “Be careful what you wish for- the gods may grant your wish”

        • Erica says:

          Yes, let’s have it be both! And I like what Trist said in a prior post about voting for both revenge AND love of country! Let’s do it!

  4. democracy works better than anything else that’s ever been tried.

    Only in America! Quirky, cantankerous, generous to a fault, wonderful America!
    I would rather be the poorest person in America than the richest person in say, Cuba, or Venezuela, Russian, any of the goatfuckistans-or anywhere else on earth.

  5. yttik says:

    Thankfully, we’re not a complete democracy, we’re a republic. So along with allowing everybody over 18 to vote, we also have a system of checks and balances, three branches of Gov, impeachments, recalls, etc, etc.

  6. myiq2xu says:

    The haters are going after MJH – give her some encouragement.

  7. soupcity says:

    Nice commentary myiq. I remind my children every chance I get how lucky they are to have been born in this country. Not by any means perfect but as close as we flawed humans have gotten so far.

    (those guys look like my neighbors)

  8. myiq2xu says:

    • yttik says:

      “This will go down in history as the quietest revolution the world has ever seen.”

      I totally agree. And that’s what I love about America 🙂

      • Mary says:

        Me too. But I’m convinced that this revolution is not just about Obama. It’s about the media that pampered and protected him.

        Americans don’t like being bamboozled or okey-doked.

        • Constance says:

          I agree Mary. And I hope after this election we can work together to force A la carte TV on the cable companies. Lets expose the elitist east coast talking heads to the concept of a free market. Without mandatory subscriptions to their channels they would be out of business in a month.

        • alice says:

          Mary, I think you’re on to something either. There’s a lot behind this quiet revolution (and I sense it too). But one slice is: a fair bunch of people just don’t like seeing the game rigged by the media. I don’t think it’s an accident or coincidence that the mainstream media is going belly up. This election is about a lot of things, I think.

    • elliesmom says:

      This is what I’m counting on tonight.

  9. threewickets says:

    This is a good picture of the Romneys this afternoon in Fairfax, VA.

  10. myiq2xu says:

  11. myiq2xu says:

    You gotta be an Ace of Spades fan to really appreciate this:

    • angienc says:

      I saw that earlier but didn’t post it here because I figured most wouldn’t get the jokes, but dayum those guys are funny over there.

  12. DandyTiger says:

    And on a lighter note:

  13. leslie says:

    OT and possibly OTW, but:

    Sometimes I wonder what the SS people who are assigned to Romeny et al, think about their charges. I wonder if these men (and women) were pro Obama and then the more they learned about Romeny, the better they liked him. I wonder about the press assigned to Romeny as well.

  14. lyn5 says:

    America is not working right now because we have two political parties who put their lust for power before country. When voters can throw all incumbents out, a new morning will dawn in America.

  15. myiq2xu says:

  16. angienc says:

    Kevin at Hillbuzz speaks the truth here:

    I’d love to hear other dates you might suggest for when YOU think Barack Obama really lost this election. I’ll add one more to the list above myself, because it’s a very personal one for me: May 31st, 2008.
    For those who don’t know, that was the day the Democrats’ rules and bylaws committee meeting was held at the Marriott Hotel near the National Zoo in Washington. At that meeting, Donna Brazile and Howard Dean presided over a travesty that yanked hard-won delegates from Hillary Clinton in Michigan and Florida and handed them over to Barack Obama so that he could be pushed towards the nomination like Brazile and Dean wanted. On that day,
    millions of Democrats renounced the party forever…including myself.
    It was on May 31st, 2008 when I decided it would be my life’s mission to ensure that Bathhouse Barry didn’t win re-election and that Democrats would suffer consequences for how they treated Hillary and her supporters in the 2008 race. It became my goal that day to do anything I could think of to bring down the Democrat Party…and from that point forward I have delighted in undermining the Obama Regime with ridicule and revelations ever since.
    I like to think that all of you reading this played a role in preventing Obama’s re-election…and if not for May 31st, 2008 and the outrage that happened there we may never have been friends like that.
    Tomorrow Mitt Romney wins the election and renders Bathhouse Barry a sorry, one-termer like Jimmy Carter before him. It will be a fantastic day…but it won’t be the real day Obama lost the race. That happened a long time ago, despite what Minitru will tell you.

  17. angienc says:

    Ha ha! Chris Wallace on Brett Baier just said that Romney’s GOTV operation is called ORCA because Obama’s mining operation is called NARWHAL — also a kind of whale.But it just so happens that Orca’s prey on Narwhal’s!

    • cj says:

      RTd your tweet about Kirstin Powers. I like her, but she sounded dumb talking about the polls tonight.

      (I have a strong feeling that neither or her husband will be voting for BO this time around.)

  18. leslie says:

    I just read that mayor Bloomberg said NYers can vote anywhere they want tomorrow. I guess they’ll have more votes for BHO than there are registered voters.

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