The real lowdown on ‘low-information voters’

Red State/ Blue State • DAVE SIMPSON & GREG BEAN

Dear Greg: I have a new policy, Old Pal. When I write my half of this column, I listen to Rush Limbaugh on the radio. That way, my feelings aren’t hurt when you’re mean to me in your response.

Sort of like last week, when you as much as called me a knucklehead for not knowing that some Bosnians are actually called “Bosniacs” (even though the spell-checker on my computer is going nuts right now). You called me “snarky,” which sounds like the politics of personal destruction to me, but I’m doing my best to “cowboy up,” as you once told me to do.

But, I find that if I have Rush flailing away at liberals in the background, somehow it balances out. Maybe you could do the same, with, oh, I don’t know, Keith Olbermann.

However, to quote the great Joe Biden, “Let me say it again,” Greg. If my new gal pal Sarah Palin had referred to “Bosniacs” in that debate, your side would have seized upon it gleefully, no doubt chalking it up to Palin’s lack of experience.

Go ahead, Greg. Tell me your liberal pals in the media wouldn’t have done that. At the very least, they’d have said she is unfamiliar with common usage, and therefore unfit for high office.

This morning on television, I heard a new term for the way your liberal pals see Red Staters such as myself. Chris Matthews referred to “low-information voters,” which I guess would include me after that embarrassing “Bosniac” episode. Matthews said McCain might still have a chance, if there are enough drooling, slackjawed “low-information voters” around.

You know, Greg, guys like me.

Later, he referred to “fourth quintile people,” which I’m pretty sure is also bad. Lately, with all this fancy talk, I feel like Gomer, hearing that Wally is closing the filling station, and now I’m going to have to go join the Marines.

I can handle it, though, Greg. I just turn up the volume so I can hear every word from Rush.

You guys think my new BFF Sarah is dumb, but I notice she’s filling up auditoriums on the campaign trail. Don’t underestimate the low-information vote, Greg. We may be dumb, but we’re fertile as all getout.

And we remember the way you guys used to call Ronald Reagan dumb. But then, even some liberals changed their minds and said Reagan’s writings showed he was pretty smart after all. Even Matthews referred the other day to the “majesty” of Reagan and Tip O’Neill.

Sadly, we conservatives only get to be smart after we’re gone, and even then, only when it helps to depict current Republicans as Even Dumber.

It’s OK though, Greg, because no matter what, we’ve always got Rush.

And now, Sarah.
Your low-information pal,
Red State Dave

Dear Dave:

You know, I fondly remember many of your personal strengths, but I don’t remember being a good poker player as one of them. I don’t think your game has improved over the years; otherwise, you wouldn’t be trying to bluff this busted flush of a political hand by attempting to turn this into some kind of class issue.

Truth is, your guys just can’t argue substantive issues anymore. Say what you want about Barack Obama, but he’s always been just what he started out to be, a liberal Democrat from Illinois. His stands on the issues are pretty much what they’ve always been. Like it or hate it, you know what you’re getting with Obama.

The same can’t be said for John McCain, who has more flip-flops than Jimmy Buffett. Pick almost any issue — border policy, financial regulation, waterboarding, the AIG bailout, pursuing al-Qaeda, gay marriage — and you can’t tell where he really stands. That’s because he’s contradicted and changed his position on all those issues, sometimes three or four times depending on his audience. Fact is, he’ll do anything, say anything, be anyone it takes to get elected. He’s the tofu of American politics. He takes on the flavor of anything or anyone he comes in contact with. John McCain might be a good used-car salesman, but he doesn’t deserve to be our president.

I’m hearing a certain plaintive note in your voice, Old Buddy, and it has me worried. I think Chris Matthews hurt your feelings. I think you are honestly, truly hurt.

Is that the sound of your confidence flagging? Yikes. Let me see if I can give you a little shot in the arm.

No one in my commie-pinko-liberalyakkety social-justice-save-the-whales world thinks that all Republicans are “low information” or “fourth quintile” or, as my dear Granny used to say, “tetched.”

Mostly, Democrats don’t appreciate being tagged with labels (terrorist, for example) just because they are Democrats, and most Democrats aren’t going to tag Red State folks as stupid just because we differ on politics.

Of course, I’m not talking about the vicious chorus that pollutes the blogosphere. I’m not talking about creepy trolls who target Palin’s kids, O’Bama’s color, McCain’s age or Biden’s (really odd) haircut. I’m talking about regular voters, Democrats and Republicans, who honestly believe we live in a great country and feel an obligation to vote for the best possible candidate.

Rest easy, my friend. No one is going to take you, personally, for an idiot because your guy is wrongheaded about almost every single thing. But honestly, Dave, we do take seriously the threat to our great democracy posed by McCain/Palin. They are flat scary.

And even a lot of Republicans who aren’t in the fourth quintile agree with me on that one. Just ask Colin Powell.
Your higher information friend,
Blue State Greg