Sunday, February 01, 2009

Diehard Bush Supporters Against Obama

Associate Professor Donald Douglas, an Instapundit clone in the "What He Said" model of blogging used by those unable to write original material, has a post in which he quotes a large segment of Peter Berkowitz's piece in the WSJ (which I was unable to open).  And in typical Douglas fashion, he summarizes what he quoted and gives his equivalent of "Heh indeedy."  And Berkowitz's point seems to be that people love Obama for the same reason they hate Bush: They're intolerant crazies.

And when you put it that way, it's obvious who the intolerant crazies are.  I mean, sure, yes, there are crazy Obama supporters who were crazy about hating Bush.  But that's just because there are crazies on both sides of the spectrum.  Just as there are people who attack Obama's critics, there are people who attack Bush's critics.  Seriously, who amongst us can forget the hatred thrown upon the Dixie Chicks after one dared to express shame for being from the same state as Bush?  And that was by their fans!  They even had to apologize for being "disrespectful."  I wonder how many country artists will be forced to apologize for disrespecting Obama.

And so anyone who pretends that partisan hatred only comes from one side is willfully ignorant of the truth.  And for Berkowitz to label all Obama supporters as irrational Bush-hating hacks only shows his own true colors.  It's Berkowitz who is the intolerant one.  It's Berkowitz who is smearing all of his opponents for disagreeing with him.  And once we realize that everything Berkowitz smears on Obama's supporter can be said equally of Bush's supporters; the farce becomes self-evident.  

Getting It Backwards

But mere assertions are for conservatives; let's talk rational.  For Berkowitz's claim to be correct, you'd need to be able to show that the more hateful a Bush critic was, the more they support Obama.  But anyone familiar with the left-end of the political spectrum knows this is entirely incorrect.  Obama supporters are more likely to be moderate to moderate-liberals, and the further left you go, the less they support Obama and the more they hate Bush.  And at the end of the spectrum are the Nader-types, who hate Democrats for enabling Republicans and not impeaching Bush.

Similarly, far-lefties heavily criticize Obama for not playing hardball with Republicans on the stimulus bill.  Even if they voted for Obama, their hatred of Bush and Republicans is even stronger than their support of Obama.  In fact, most far-lefties insist that Obama's defenders aren't true liberals.  And so this undermines Berkowitz's theory completely.  Bush hatred and Obama love aren't flipsides of the same coin.  Rather, the more you hate Bush, the more you disapprove of Obama.  Sure, Obama supporters usually hate Bush, but a majority of people hate Bush.  Had all these people voted for Obama, McCain would have lost by even bigger margins than he did.

But what about on the other side?  Back when Bush was popular, were the hardest anti-liberal forces Bush's biggest supporters?  Yes.  He appealed to the base and the mere act of dissing liberals was enough to gain their support.  In other words, the more you loved Bush, the more you hated liberals.  And so Berkowitz's theory holds true, but only if we flip it on its head and realize that it only applies to his side.

Bush by the Numbers

But let's not just rely upon my perceptions.  Let's turn to the numbers.  Just like I suggested, per WaPo, we see that Bush's numbers are a fairly straight line, getting firm support from conservatives, less from moderates, and little from liberals.  And that happened in both January 2002 and January 2008.  

As WaPo said:
Overall, 68 percent of Republicans approve of the job the president did, but partisan views on Bush are further split by ideology. Among conservative Republicans, he is a resounding success: 82 percent approve, 53 percent strongly. But moderate and liberal GOPers have a more tepid take. Just over half (52 percent) approve, only about a quarter (26 percent) do so strongly.
And the other numbers at that link suggest the same thing: Bush supporters are hardline conservatives, gaining more support from the far-right than from anyone else.  Even in January 2002, 97% of moderate/liberal Republicans approved of Bush, while 69% of liberal Democrats did.  Meanwhile, Bush got 100% of conservative Republicans.  100%?!  Jesus Christ himself would have a tough time getting such numbers.  

And by 2008, there was a 30 point gap between conservative Republicans and the moderate/liberal ones, with 82% of conservative Republicans still approving of him.  In other words, Bush still had the hardliners, but barely had a majority of mainstream Republicans.

Obama by the Numbers

As for Obama's numbers, it's all a bit murky, as he's just starting out.  But despite Berkowitz's insistence that it's the far-left Bush-haters who support him, Obama actually has HUGE support.  It says 80% of people approve of Obama, so either there are a LOT of far-lefties, or Berkowitz is totally wrong.  And yes, that must include some of people who support Bush.  And 46% say they "strongly" approve of Obama.  Again, in defiance of what Berkowitz's theory suggests.  

And what about ideology?  That poll also showed that 65% of people said Obama's ideology is "just right" while only 29% said he was "too liberal."  Call me crazy, but that looks to me like about the same number of people who support Bush.  And 4% said Obama is "too conservative," and again, that would correlate with the amount of support Nader gets; ie, the far-left.  And again, this indicates that the minority of Bush-supporters are the few who hate Obama, while far-lefties disapprove of him and Bush.

Of course, this is just one poll and far from conclusive.  But it does fit nicely with what I predicted.  Bush support doesn't have an inverse relation to Obama support, and for as much as there's a difference, it's because Obama gets more support from moderates than Bush did.  In other words, the more conservative one is, the more they support Bush and hate Obama.  While Obama's support has a bell-curve type shape, being rejected by the ends.  And that fits with the experiences I've had.

Creeped Out By Song

And what's funny is that it's this same dynamic that has Berkowitz and his copycat, Professor Douglas, adopting this erroneous theory.  While Bush's biggest haters are too far to the left to support Obama, Bush's biggest fans come from the far-right.  And rather than realize this, they project their own personality tendencies on the people they hate most and perceive that their enemies are doing what they themselves are engaging in.

And so we get fairly ridiculous complaints like this from the professor:
I noted previously how I became creeped out a bit when one of my own political science classes started chanting "na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, hey, hey, eh ... good bye..." during lectures. And when I drive down the road and see wide-eyd 50-ish women captaining Toyota Prius' plastered with "Change We Can Believe In" stickers and with mugs of "O'Biden" poking out from every corner of the vehicle, I can only shake my head at the success of Obama's mesmerizing political campaign of pop-culture sheeples indoctrination.
Wow, how shocking!  He witnessed people celebrating liberalism by singing a mild taunt heard at many sporting events.  And, omigod!  Bumper stickers on a car!!  Where's Gitmo when we need it most?  And these very mild acts creep Donald out and make him shake his head while insulting these people.  And what is their big sin?  Expressing their political preferences.  Heavens forfend!  Get thee to a gulag!

And when put that way, it's obvious that Douglas is describing himself.  He's the intolerant one who is creeped out by people disagreeing with him.  Both he and Burkowitz need to dismiss the opinion of those who disagree by labeling them all irrational.  And that's because they're so irrational that they simply can't admit that there are logical reasons for disagreeing with them.  They don't like Obama so anyone who likes him must be crazy.  And the more someone likes him, the crazier they must be; evidence to the contrary be damned.

Crazy Donald

And what's ironic is that the only reason I read the professor's post is because he linked to me as an example of a crazed Obama-supporter-Bush-hater.  And it's ironic because, for as much as he's obsessed with attacking me for being a radical leftie, he never actually gets around to explaining why I'm wrong.  

While I completely eviscerated the theory he copied from Berkowitz, he links to me regularly, but without ever explaining why; other than that I'm just crazy.  And it's quite obvious that he doesn't say why I'm wrong because he can't.  Despite the fact that I'm a devout liberal atheist and he's a firm conservative nutjob, he can't seem to find a damn point of mine to disagree with.  Instead, he keeps giving me the online equivalent of the angry fist shake.  He's upset at me, but can't express in words why he's upset.

But I know why, because I'm a rational liberal and he can't find a damn thing wrong with me.  And because he's assured himself that such people can't exist, this creates a paradox in his worldview.  Because I really am the fly in his ointment.  I'm a strong Obama supporter, yet I'm not on the far-left.  Nor was I one of the more fervent anti-Bushers.  And I'm pretty standard for Obama supporters.  

Despite the meme that we're all cult-like zombies who are easily mislead (a myth even Clinton's team tried perpetuating), that was never the case.  Obama's supporters were always the more educated Democrats; professionals with college degrees and savvy political instincts.  Even Berkowitz knows enough to label us "disproportionately members of the intellectual and political class," yet acts like this is somehow an insult.  Because they hate Obama, hardline conservatives insist on imagining that intellectuals are easily led cult-members.  Sorry guys, but that's entirely illogical.  Say what you will about intellectuals, but there's a reason the word "intellect" is in there.  

The reality is that Obama is a truly bright guy who has attracted a bright bunch of supporters.  His success didn't come because he attracted the cult-like believers, but rather because he got the smartest of us.  And our strong support of Obama is entirely rational.  Obama represents everything that the intellectual political classes wanted in a president and it's only rational that we defend him.  And the proof is in the pudding, as we got the results we desired.  Sounds like sanity to me.

And for as much as Professor Douglas wants to imagine that he's teaching irrational idiots, their only mistake seems to be the one they made on Registration Day, when they signed up for his class.  I'm glad to see that his attempts at indoctrination have failed miserably.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To make it worse, there are conservatives supporting Obama. But, of course, they can't be conservatives because they are supporting him. Therefore, they must be far-left, radical, Stalinist, Maoist, Castroists.