« More Fun with the Lattice of Coincidence | Main | Still Feeling No Pain »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

J R Peck

Out of all the comments from Democrats I have read about the administration's handling of various affairs these past years, this is by far one of the most incisive observations.

Problem is, how can Dems counter the administration's cynical manipulation of the public's need to trust? That is, how to reach those who haven't yet "crossed over"?

Fundamentally, this isn't (or shouldn't be) a Dem vs. Repub issue. This is principally about demagoguery vs. good governance, not about differing policy prescriptions.


How do you explain FEMA's abysmal response to Hurricane Katrina only one year after its swift action in the four storms of 2004?

Well, Louisiana isn't Florida. And Kathleen Blanco isn't Jeb Bush.

For the full story on the politics of Bush-era disaster relief, see:

"FEMA: Florida Election Management Agency."


Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, etc.

It takes something to shock or further dismay a longtime dyed in the wool cynic (converted at 14 by Richard Nixon). Thanks for the demagoguery and dereliction cocktail!

On the bright side, it's becoming blindingly clear that the Democrats need to find another strategy: Given their current stances it would take decades for them to reach and comfortably operate at the Bush/Rove levels. And how can one win a race to the bottom against someone who's already there?


Great piece; thanks.

Ironically, the simple truth about people that
you distill in your piece is the one that I happen
to be uncomfortable accepting. For most of my
life I have been baffled by rally-to-the-flag
behavior, because in my case I find it extremely
discomforting to accept that masses of my fellow
humans really do behave that way.

Distrust comes naturally, on the other hand.
The only thing I found surprising in Iraq, for
example, was that Hussein had not lied (much)
in his weapons declarations.

To answer the "what do we do" question for the
opposition to Bush's skilled use of mass behavior,
the hope would be to expose his stagecraft for
what it is. If you can make the word "Republican"
mean "incompetent liar" the way "liberal" now does
"pinko commie peacenik," you win.

It is, alas, only a tiny advantage that at the
moment Republicans really are incompetent liars.
Jefferson knew it all along: "Wonderful is the
effect of impudent & persevering lying."


You went directly to the heart of the matter.
Thank you.


What's neglected in such polls all too often is the basic point that a 50/50 split on a two-option answer doesn't mean half of people prefer one versus other. Everybody has to pick one, and the equal split suggests random cluelessness. The electorate is apathetic and doesn't know what to think, is what it means. In terms of the theory of information, all these polls are recording is noise.

Crab Nebula

Kevin, there's a term for this:

Cognitive Dissonance

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Potentially useful sound bite:

"FEMA was better when it was bigger."



Bravo. Bravo.

The comments to this entry are closed.