It’s Harder to Vote Correctly When You’re “Well Informed”

Today I ran across an article that gave me the first real look at why an intelligent person might vote Republican.

That may be an odd statement, so I’ll explain what I mean.  Yesterday I went on a 10 minute rant about why no one in their right mind would vote for John McCain in November.  I’ll save the reasons why for another post, but to put it bluntly, I believe that Republican politicians in general are deceitful, greedy people, and are completely uninterested in the welfare of the average American. I think this is blatantly obvious when you watch the news and hear them tell each different group what they want to hear and literally change their tune every day depending on who they are trying to please.

That sounds really subjective and opinionated doesn’t it?  Well one thing I’ve realized with this election year is that I can’t keep up with politics.  Learning a candidates past record, examining his stance on all sorts of issues, keeping up with what he said last month, last week, last night.  I’m gonna take a stance and say that it’s damn near impossible for the average person to stay informed about politics.  That feeling was solidified by this piece on McCain.  You see, for the last 8-9 months I feel like I have tried to absorb as much as I can about this presidential election.  And until yesterday, I thought I was sure that in most if not all cases, Obama’s ideas made sense and John McCain’s ideas sounded like they only benefited those with high income (you’re not rich until you make $5 million?!)  I had made up my mind that anyone who was thinking of voting Republican was ignorant or just wasn’t paying attention.

Then I read what sounds like an intelligent and well-thought out argument from the other side.  Landsburg’s article gave me some info I hadn’t heard about McCain and Obama.  So after reading it, I felt like I was back at square one.  Not in terms of my vote, because I’m decided for Obama and I’ll tell you why in a minute.  Instead it was a set back because I no longer feel confident that my vote was “well informed”.  The simple fact is, there’s no way I’m going to spend the time and effort to check all the facts for myself.  I suspect that many smart people feel this same way.  And it’s not because we can’t do it.  It’s because frankly, we don’t want to.

I have many other things I’d rather do than watch MSNBC for 4 hours every day to catch all the sound bites.  I’m not going to spend my time verifying that John McCain has actually voted the same as George Bush 90% of the time.  Even if I did, it would only hold so much weight, because as Landsburg points out, Obama has voted along with Bush on some pretty important issues as well.  The point of government is so that someone else can figure this stuff out and I can do something else.  I don’t want to have to worry about Islamic extremists crashing planes into my office.  I don’t want to have to worry about my neighbors losing their house and my property values going down because of it.  I don’t want to have to pay $4.00/gallon for gas so we can “bring democracy to the world”.  I just want these things to be taken care of.  And that’s why we elect officials and pay taxes.

The problem is, these days there is no good way to tell which man (or woman) will act in my best interest.  So, at the end of the day, I go with my gut.  I look at as much coverage as I can stand, and I pick the guy who is least likely to screw me over.  And in that respect, there is no doubt that Barack Obama wins hands down.  John McCain is disingenuous to the point where he comes across as an asshole.  He smiles at inappropriate times.  He tries to talk intelligently about things he doesn’t know about.  He makes rash and ill-advised decisions just to get himself ahead (Who the effing hell is Sarah Palin?!!)  In any other circumstance, these things would make you deeply distrust a person.  By contrast, Barack has presented himself as straightforward, trustworthy, consistent and genuine.

In short, I’m voting for Barack Obama because he has convinced me that he has integrity. And in a world full of dishonesty and corruption, that’s worth a whole hell of a lot.

People keep saying that this is the most important election in decades.  I completely believe that.  The Republicans have proven to me that they don’t deserve to be in charge.  Their decisions (or lack there of) are driving us into the ground.  We have to get out and vote for Barack Obama.  So we can all get back to what we were doing before.

4 thoughts on “It’s Harder to Vote Correctly When You’re “Well Informed”

  1. You know, I have to tell you, I really enjoy this blog and the insight from everyone who participates. I find it to be refreshing and very informative. I wish there were more blogs like it. Anyway, I felt it was about time I posted, Ive spent most of my time here just lurking and reading, but today for some reason I just felt compelled to say this.

  2. You came close to describing rational ignorance — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_ignorance . There are even economists who make the argument that it is irrational to vote.

    Due to our voting system (plurality), there is very little difference between the two parties. Think of a one hundred mile stretch of road, there are two gas stations, the most efficient placement for them would be at mile 25 and mile 75 so that no one would have to drive more than 25 miles to their closest gas station. Now imagine if the first gas station moves to mile 35, he now gets all the customers from 0 to 35 and those from ((75-35)/2)+35 = 55 35 to 55 also, since they still have a shorter drive to mile 35 than to mile 75. Eventually you will end up with your two gas stations right next to each other, because no rational person will drive past one gas station to get to another.

    That is what we have with the two parties, no matter how liberal McCain is or conservative Obama is, they won’t be moreso than their opponent, and no ultra conservative would vote for Obama, no liberal would vote for McCain.

  3. We share the same sentiments. You know after watching the past three elections, the least that you can say is that Obama has much more integrity than McCain and the republican party in general. You can make many points about who has said what and who voted for what…the bottom line is I’m tired of Bush, so why would I vote for another four years of it. It’s time out for the help the rich, forget the poor (except when I’m speaking to them), ill-advised, unintelligent comments and decision-making that has been taking place for the last eight years. If for no other reason, I would vote for Obama because he’s intelligent and quick on his feet.

  4. Pingback: Friendly Reading « Fitness for the Occasion

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