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Independents - REASONING, Not Emotion and Sound Bites, Is The Key To Making the Right Choice [7]

Updated on August 22, 2016

High-Scoring RWA Rand Paul Supporter Stomps Protestor

What The Election Shouldn't Be About

THE ABOVE PICTURE EPITOMIZES THE TRAITS OF MANY WHO are running for or blindly support those those who are running for office, e.g. Donald Trump. Now, I do not mean to say that they are all head-stompers (or display other acts of violence) as this one is; most are not, but I do mean to say that most DO act without engaging their reason. That is a characteristic of high-scoring Right-Wing Authoritarian Followers (RWAs), as defined by psychologist Dr. Robert Altemeyer whose own research expands that of Thoedor Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunwik, Daniel Levinson, and Nevitt Sanford.

Take another look at the picture above and then consider Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's statement, just prior to President Obama assuming that office, that his (and the GOP as a whole) number 1 agenda item wasn't job creation, it wasn't rebuilding the economy, and it wasn't national security. Instead, he said that the most important thing on the Republican agenda was to make President Obama a one-term president! He thinks he has found the magic formula for doing just that, and judging from what may happen in six days (the 2010 mid-terms) unless the Independents have an epiphany, and that is stymie President Obama's agenda at every point! In other words to vote NO on every piece of important legislation that he may propose as they have done for the last two years.

It is now 2016, six years later, and I am very sad to say that Senator McConnell's promise to drag America to its knees almost succeeded; but the good news is that "almost" is the operative word. It took much longer than it needed to, but three months before America chooses and new president, a new house, and 1/3 of the senate, what President Obama was able to sneak through the GOP blockade has born fruit. What is more, the citizens have noticed by giving him above 50% approval for his economic achievements. This fact might sway Independents to put Democrats in charge; at least in the White House and Senate.

I just don't understand how Independents out there, who are being given another chance to right the Ship of State, cannot fail to learn from recent history of "no compromise" politics and finally put in office politicians, be they Republican or Democrat, who will put country over Party for a change. I feel confident that if Independents and Moderates block out the nonsensical political advertisements and use reason to overcome emotion in their decision-making. Why do I think this, because by definition, Independents are not high-scoring RWAs, so they are not built to blindly following the conservative dogma.

This Is What a VERY High-Scoring Social Dominator Looks Like


What prompted me to write this hub was a comment made in a lecture I was listening to by Professor Daniel N. Robinson, Oxford University and Columbia University, titled "American Ideals: Founding a "Republic of Virtue".(I wish I could afford to go there, it is a book-on-tape.) He was talking about the Royalist View of the American Revolution and the revolutionary's arguments against them. One comment I thought particularly apropos to today's political environment.was this.

Professor Robinson paraphrases one Daniel Leonard who argued back then that there can be only one single, sovereign power in any state. In other words you must have either the King and Parliament or the colonies, it can't be both. America is either part of the British Empire or it is not.

Now Leonard was using this argument in support of the Royalist. John Adams, in refutation. agreed with the core principal but then turned it on its head by arguing that Great Britain had, through its actions, given up its rights to rule America. Back to the point. I see a parallel here in the Republicans, led by dogmatic politicians like Senator McConnell and Representative Ryan, and followed by high-scoring RWAs have set themselves apart from the rest of government. They followed through, for the most part, with their promise to shutter the government for the 6 years. Why is that reasonable??

We either have to have a Congress and Administration who may disagree but that will work together for the good of the country as they always have prior to 2000 or we do not. You can't have both. When there was a super-majority of Democrats, Congress worked for the good of the country by dent of the compromising that goes on within the Democratic party. Why did I leave out the Republicans? Because they had voluntarily left the field. Once the super-majority was gone, so was any semblance of governance.

A Short (or so I thought) Piece on Reason

From the same lecture, Professor Robinson paraphrases John Adams this way:

"Adams wants to make quite clear that the law of nations, Cicero's ius gentium, is or ought to be founded on the law of reason, [that] is the ultimate grounding of a rule of law, if that rule of law is to be the right rule of law for beings who are rational as such."

Reason, Rational. Words used in a time when emotions ran very high. Here were men inciting a revolution against the greatest power on earth at that time and here they were counselling using reason.

I ask you, should we be any different today?

One of the traits of a Social Dominator and high-scoring RWA, who make up most of the Tea party and many of the Republican candidates by the way, is that they are unreasonable. You can hit them with as many contrary true and verifiable facts, as you want and they won't even blink let alone back down from their position.

For example, I watched on CNN's Parker Spitzer show I watched Spitzer interview Representative Mike Pence (the current Vice Presidential nominee with Donald Trump) ask Mike Pence the following (paraphrasing):

"Until President Obama came into office we were losing 700,000 jobs per month. He instituted the stimulus program. We are now (18 months later) creating jobs. You have been intensely critical. By all economic accounts the stimulus has worked. A third of it contained tax cuts that the Republicans wanted. How can you say his program has not worked? What in it failed?"

Representative Pence's answer (again paraphrasing):

"I don't know where the consensus is that it worked. The administration said that it had to borrow $1 trillion or the unemployment rate would reach 8%; I think it has reached more than 9.5% across the country. It clearly has not worked. This administration didn't learn the lessons of the last administration that you can't borrow and spend with deficits and debt your way back to a growing economy. You need to combine pro-growth tax policy with real fiscal discipline."

Spitzer responds with: (some background facts I looked up - Mar 2008 through Aug 2009: more than 6.5 million jobs lost; Sep 2009 through Dec 2009: 1.6 million more jobs lost; Jan 2010 through Sep 2010: 1.5 million jobs Gained; stimulus program began Mar 2009.

"But when you say it hasn't worked, when President Obama came into office we were losing 700,000 jobs a month. When President Bush left office it was going straight down. President Obama turned it around and now we have job growth. How can you say it didn't work."

Representative Pence's reply:

[Pence repeated, almost word for word, his original response about the $1 trillion,etc. and then added] that we have been at 9.5% or higher for the longest time since the great depression. He then goes on to repeat his remarks about this administration not learning its lessons but then adds this economy has made a few marginal gains at the edges."

I will leave it here as it demonstrates my points (BTW, those on the far left are just as guilty of this, there are just far, far fewer of them despite the protestations of Rush Limbaugh; I think the figure is 5%.)

You will find high-scoring Social Dominators and their Right-Wing Authoritarian followers use this tactic often and effectively. No matter how illogical and non-responsive the answer is, given the question they will stick to it.

Well, you say, so does every other politician. If you look around, I bet you will find that isn't quite true (except in debates maybe). No doubt, virtually all politicians will trot out the party line on the first go-around. But after that, I think that you will find that those who are guided by reason, will start applying that, if it can be applied. Many times it can't.

When that happens, and the issue is simple and clear cut, you are caught and embarrassed and most voters catch on. But in political campaigns, the issues are rarely simple. For example, take Representative Pence's comment about the 9.5% unemployment being the highest for the longest period of time since the Great Depression. He is right and it makes a great sound bite (as far as the 9.5% goes, but unemployment ran higher, 10.5%, and longer during Reagan's recession); and since it was almost two years into President Obama's term so it is easy to pin it on him. The problem is, what he said is absolutely wrong and Representative Pence knows it and so he is being disingenuous with the voting public. Unfortunately, the electorate will never know they are being duped because the answer is arcane and hard to understand and cannot be shown the light of day by the Democrats because it will not fit into a sound bite.

(You can skip this if you don't want to know the answer. The reason Pence is disingenuous is because of the way the Department of Labor (DOL) counts unemployment. When people stop looking for work, DOL stops counting them. When they start again, DOL starts counting them again. So when 6.5 million people lose their job, there is a large number of them that quit looking. (That is one of the reasons why you can't predict with any accuracy what the unemployment rate will be ... Obama should have predicted 15%, which his economic advisers might have done had they had 4th Quarter, 2008 data to work from, and he would have become a hero instead of a villain.) That is what limited the unemployment rate to 10%; if DOL counted everybody, it would have been much higher. In January 2010, when people started going back to work the unemployment rate started going back down to the current 9.5%. That encouraged those who had quit looking. Now, about as many people are finding jobs as there are those who are starting to look for work again who had previously quit looking. Therefore, the unemployment rate remains unchanged and is why the administration says it will remain unchanged for a while longer. Try fitting that into a sound bite, lol.)

Now in terms of defending on how long it took for the stimulus to start working ... President Obama started getting hammered in earnest in June 2010 ... one can go to sound bites and pictures such as "have you ever tried to stop a freight train" or "how long does it take to stop an avalanche" and the like. Unfortunately, I haven't seen the Democrats use such ads.

The same is true about Representative Pence's statements about the $1 trillion dollar spending spree Obama allegedly went on as well as the idea of "borrow and spend" in general. Again, his complaints (no implementable solutions of course) make great sound bites that appeal to the emotions but are totally antithetical to reason as to make one want to beat one's breast with frustration. As with unemployment rates, the fundamental response is again uninspiring numbers but at least you can draw better word and real pictures. Again I didn't see the Democrats doing this so the Republicans won the media battle once more.

Spitzer, in his interview, made an attempt to do this by putting up a chart that showed back in the 1940's our top tax rate was 94%! WoW! Now it is 35%. Other need-to-know facts are:

  • 2009 Federal Receipts - $ 2.11 T
  • 2009 Federal Expenses - $ 3.52 T
  • 2009 Deficit - $ 1.41 T
  • % Military Spending - 23% ($ .78 T)
  • % SS and Medicare and Other - 46% ($1.96 T).
  • % Discretionary - 31% ($ .78 T)
  • 10% Waste in non-Discretionary - $0.27 T

I hope that for some of you that are good with numbers, something is popping out at you. Representative Pence's and the other Republican's pat solution to all of our economic woes has been and is to 1) lower taxes, 2) cut spending, 3) repeal regulations on businesses, and 4) less government. That is a time-honored refrain, is it not? Anybody disagree?

Let us apply reason to this scenario in today's economic times. (Well, let me digress a second. The previous Republican administration hit two out of the four, they lowered taxes and they repealed crucial regulations on business that resulted in today's economic collapse. Spending went through the roof making President Obama attempts look like child's play, and the size of federal government increased significantly as did the K street lobbyists.) OK, back on track.

Look at the first mantra - Lower Taxes to spur the economy, History shows that works occasionally (which the Republicans happily point out), but most often it does not (which, of course, they don't tell you). It works best, as it did in President Kennedy's time when we go from a high tax rate to a low one.

It also works in reverse, which the Republicans will never admit to, as when the first President Bush and then President Clinton raised taxes modestly, mainly on the rich and our economy went into the longest growing period it has known up to that time. My point here of course is nothing is a panacea! Tax cuts don't always work, as the Republicans would have you believe they will. Just reason it through.

Tax cuts do two things, They reduce revenue to the federal government thereby driving up the deficit and debt (unless counter-balanced spending cuts) and they might increase business growth over time, depending on what type of cuts they are, but history is no friend to the GOP here either. There are two key phrases or words there: "might" and "over time". If the tax cuts do work, it will take a while ... years in other words. Tax rates are already down to 35%, the lowest or near the lowest in history! Exactly how much lower can you go without doing real damage to the functioning government. If you brought the top rate down to say 20%, would that bring in enough money for the government to function? How much effect would it really have on economic growth. Given the current state of the economy, it shouldn't have much effect at all.

OK, the other thing Representative Pence isn't telling you and the other side of this equation - the second mantra, spending cuts. Look at the table above, If you add the 10% cut in mandatory programs for savings from fraud, waste, and abuse to the 31% spent on all discretionary programs you get $ 1.05 trillion. Now consider at the $ 1.41 trillion deficit that Representative Pence and his friends say they can easily get rid of through simply lowering taxes and cutting out waste and getting rid of some discretionary spending. How does that even add up?? Well, the obvious answer is ... it doesn't.

Need I say more? This is why the Republicans can not answer when they are asked how they plan to do what they want to do. Why are they being voted for?

So, what is left if the Republican program logically won't work?

  • You can't lower taxes enough to really impact growth because they are so low already.
  • You can't cut spending enough to lower the deficit because there isn't enough their to cut.
  • Private business, although they have the money to do it, isn't spending to make the economy grow
  • and Americans don't have the money to spend.
  • how do we get the economy going again?
  • From the only source left that can do the job ... the STIMULUS PROGRAM.

Much to the Republicans delight, there were no other alternatives left to President Obama and because the Democrats are such dunderheads when it comes to getting out the message, the Republicans are having a field day. Sighhh. (and it hasn't changed much six years later in 2016.)

A Final Thought On Character

 Since I was into quoting books in this hub, I thought I would offer one more from Cervantes, Don Quixote (which reminds me a little bit of todays Democratic party, sorry to say).

Don Quixote of the Rufule Figure was talking with his niece.  She was exclaiming that all of the books on knight-errantry ought to be burned, to Don Quiote'x horror.  He responds:

"What would Amadis (a famous knight) say if he heard such a thing?  He, no doubt, would forgive you, for he was the most meek and courteous knight of his time, and, moreover, a great protector of damsels. But others might have heard you who are would not have let you escape so easily; all are not courteous and well mannered, some are vain, swaggering, taken with their own valuation, for some of are of gold,, others of base alloy, and all look like gentlemen, but not all are able to stand the touchstone of truth.  There are low men who blow themselves up to bursting point to appear gentlemen, and others of exalted rank who seem to be gying to pass for men of the vulgar herd.  The former rise through ambition or virtue; the latter sink through indolence or vice.  And it is necessary to have knowledge and discernment in order to distinguish between these two kinds of gentlemen, so alike in name and different in actions"


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