Sunday, November 02, 2008

The "Deciders"

Remember when George W. Bush, while defending Rumsfeld, said, "I'm the decider, and I decide what's best?" We all looked at him, horrified by his hubris but also uncomfortable in this (supposed) democracy that our president uses words that hearken back to dictators. Perhaps this foot stamping was due to the fact that he felt so powerless and "handled." But it concerned us.

Now, with the election nearing, we have a new group of deciders -- or should I say, "UN"-deciders. In some ways, undecided voters ARE like W in the fact that they must think they are more powerful than they really are. Today, the New York Times profiled some undecided voters and called them both "sheepish" and "proud." I don't get them. I am suspicious of anyone who is even marginally undecided in this race. If you are even slightly, SLIGHTLY sympathetic of the views that Obama puts forth, there is not one tiny little bit of you that can think that McCain could be a good idea.

So, it makes me think that undecided voters really have decided and just like the attention that the news media brings them. When they say that there is very little difference between the two candidates I get suspicious. When they claim that "one issue" is a sticking point, I become enraged. This is not a one-issue election.

David Sedaris, one my all-time favorite writers, has an essay on this issue in the most recent New Yorker. In it he states:

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

So-called undecided voters infuriate me. Very few elections have been as high-stakes as this one. We are maligned by the world and have our allies mocking and dismissing us; our economy is the worst it has been since the Great Depression; we are in a senseless war where tens of thousands of people die every day. Come on people! Undecided? And because of what? Tax cuts? Abortion? What is wrong with you? Wake up and look at the dismal state of this nation. See the forest for the trees. That is, if you are really undecided at all.

When the McCain campaign dragged out "Joe the Plumber" who originally stated he was undecided, I looked at a man who was thrilled to be in the spotlight. He even seemed high from it, and likened himself to Britney Spears! Guess what? Surprise! He wasn't undecided and when given the chance to have more attention routed his way, he started campaigning for McCain.

I actually spit coffee out of my nose when I heard him say that electing Obama would mean the end of Israel. Israel! This guy? Has he even HEARD of Israel? I mean, come on least say that the deciding factor was something believable. * Plus there was that time when he likened Obama to Sammy Davis Jr. on television, but whatever. I'm sure it's the Israel thing that got him to finally decide.

I think the real undecided voters are the ones who haven't ever reported that to the media -- or to anyone for that matter. They fit into 2 categories: First, we have those Bradley Effect folks who apparently say they are voting for Obama but then, once in the privacy of their voting booths, they just can't get their racist selves to vote for a black man. But I actually think this number is smaller than one would think.

The bigger group of undecideds are, what I optimistically call, the "Anti" Bradley Effect folks. These are mainstream republicans, old school guys who are actually pretty moderate. They identified their party as a a type of gentleman's club. Where you are a doctor or lawyer, you make a lot of money, you vote republican. But now? This republican ticket? With yahoos at rallies practically wearing white hoods? THAT is not how this republican intellegentsia wants its party portrayed to the rest of the country, let alone the world. As a result, they are fleeing -- some more obviously than others.

These are the Anti-Bradley Effect voters. The ones who claim to be voting republican but when they are behind that curtain and they think about the sad, ignorant, illiterate masses that embarrass them at McCain rallies they just will not be able to push that McCain/Palin lever. Whether they vote for Obama, I don't know. But I have a feeling they may just throw it away rather than choosing a republican party that no longer stands for its old principles.

I have a feeling -- a hope, yes, but also a very strong feeling that intelligent moderates are the quiet undecided voters. The sleepers. And maybe they'll do just that. When the alarm goes off on Tuesday morning, perhaps they will hit snooze and kind of forget about that "whole election day thing."

Here's the deal. The so-called undecided voters are attention seeking small people who are actually voting for McCain. The real undecided voters are intelligent. Let's leave it to the smart folks to decide.

*Oh, and PS: I found this guy when I was searching for Joe the Plumber.

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Anonymous kat said...

ROFL!!! You have SO hit the nail on the head. I cannot believe that anyone (ANYONE) at this point is still undecided. I mean, how exactly, do these people even get to work and back? There is nothing in the middle about this election, nor the candidates either. I think, next time, I'll claim undecided so I too, can feel important. GREAT post.

6:41 PM  
Blogger derfina said...

Love the Sedaris quote!

2:15 PM  
Blogger Billychic said...

Oh, this was so great!


And I couldn't agree more - Sedaris is one of my writing idols and he really knows how to put it out there. Great quote...great research and links. Thanks so much for this piece.


3:49 PM  

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