About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Dems ahead, except for the fear-mongering factor
For example, Americans think that Democrats represent their moral values better than Republicans 50-37 (the numbers don't add up to 100 because of the usual undecided). This is astounding, considering that “moral issues” gave the presidency to George the second time around (well, actually the first time, since in 2000 he stole the election). It means that Democrats – despite their lack of ideas and leadership – have managed to turn around the moral tide that kicked them out of the House, the Senate, and the White House in recent years. Good news for the 2006 elections.
It is no surprise that Democrats do better than Reps on issues such as immigration (45-29), the war on Iraq (48-30), education (a whopping 53-25!), protection of civil liberties (62-22), health care (62-19), and even gas prices (57-11). What is interesting, on the other hand, is that the progressives beat the conservatives at an issue such as taxes! 55% (against 27%) of the interviewed people said the Democrats would ensure a more fair system of taxation than Republicans. Could it be that the people are beginning to realize that the Republican version of the American Dream is a big scam meant to favor the already ultra-rich?
What is really fascinating (or, rather, irritating), however, is that the poll also shows that a large majority of Americans (55-29) still thinks that Republicans do a better job at insuring that we have a strong military – despite the obvious failures of said military in Iraq, thanks to the unconscionable “leadership” of Donald Rumsfeld (and let us not forget that 9/11 happened under Bush's, not Clinton's, nose). Even here, however, things are not quite so honky-dory for the hawks currently inhabiting Capitol Hill, since they win on the question of making the right decisions when it comes to dealing with terrorism, but only 40-35, a rather slim margin indeed.
Given all this, is it a surprise that the White House and his Republican allies are betting everything on stepping up the fear mongering and the “we are at war” rhetoric? (One cannot possibly be at war with a terrorist organization, just as there can't be a war on cancer, on drugs, or poverty -- all of these are category mistakes, but that's another story.) It's all they've got, folks, and if the American people begin to see through that last desperate gimmick, well, we might be in for some real change over the next few years.