Category Archives: poverty

That damn Cognitive Dissonance

Our personal loyalty to our political leaders is so strong that we Americans are willing to change our previously held positions on public policy to reflect the positions of our leaders. On both sides of the aisle, voters are compelled to apply a sort of double standard to politicians… especially to those who hail from the other party.

That’s the message of reporter Shankar Vedantam. In his piece on NPR.org called “Partisan Psychology: Why Do People Choose Political Loyalties Over Facts,” he uses the work of Dartmouth poli-sci scholar Brendan Nyhan to show just how taken we are with our political leaders and their “constantly evolving” policy positions.

Take the nearly two-thirds of Republicans who tell pollsters that President Obama can do more about gas prices and two-thirds of Democrats who take the opposite position.

Economists generally side with the Left on this issue…and with the majority of Republicans who, six years ago, also said the price of gasoline was outside the realm of influence for the president…President Bush, that is.

Unfortunately, this sort of dynamic is the norm, rather than the exception. Citizens – especially those with strong political views – generally seem to defer to their political affiliations when they conflict with the facts.

In most situations, the partisan American voter is more than willing to don the hat of a hypocrite than apply uniform standards to ALL politicians.

This is not some grand development or show of solidarity. It’s proof of the polarization of our electorate to the point that we’re willing to compromise on policy for the good of that party.

The worst thing that this may signify is the great extent to which our political parties “got us by the balls,” as George Carlin used to say.

Unless our policy positions aren’t worth a damn – which isn’t good, either – being so wiling to reverse them in support of politicians is terrible.

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Filed under election, GOP, poverty, state politics, Super PACs, Trenton

Doublespeak from a Doppelgänger

Gov. Mitt Romney wants to have his cake and eat it, too. At least that’s how I see his attempts to fend off meaningful discussion of our nation’s growing inequality gap.

When asked about whether or not he thought the issue was worth talking about during the 2012 Presidential election, Gov. Flip-Flop cast the topic as mere political posturing from Pres. Obama’s camp. It’s class warfare and divisiveness from the Left, Mitt claims, while simultaneously assailing Obama for positions like fair taxation and a (nonexistent) hatred of capitalism.

Displaying his penchant for unscripted gaffes, Mitt has taken to saying tax policy and other issues are best decided “behind closed doors.”

Once again, we see the Wall Street elitist within the likely GOP candidate, someone who “likes being able to fire people” and feels major policy decisions are best left to smoky rooms full of bought-and-paid-for Washington pols.

God help us, in the event of a Romney Administration!

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