Sunday, September 05, 2004

It's All Emotion

My analysis of the Republican campaign has concluded that appealing to reason is so outdated. All that is required of a campaign is to cause the right emotions to surface. Never mind if they are not based on any facts at all. This worries me a lot, because if the Republicans succeed with this heinous plot it's pretty clear proof that democracy stinks.

The basic emotions the Republicans wanted to evoke were fear of terrorists, hatred of Democrats, especially Kerry, and a desire for a strong leader who views the Americans as ten-year olds needing an authoritarian father. And maybe they succeeded. Though the early polls were taken at a time when most Democrats were probably not paying attention to anything but the Labor Day weekend, and though there are some questions about the way the polls were conducted, they may show a post-convention bounce for Bush. Whether this will last is a question for the future. Maybe defreezing bin Laden is the next step in the emotional war of the right.

In any case, the Republican campaign asks the audience to leave their brains home. This I find very upsetting, not an emotional reaction that they intended. But then I won't vote for them so my upset doesn't matter.

Here are examples of the way fudging facts is done by the Republicans:

At last week's Republican convention, President Bush and Vice President Cheney repeatedly linked the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the war in Iraq, largely abandoning the rationale offered when the Bush administration invaded the Persian Gulf country.
Announcing the invasion on March 19, 2003, Bush said in a nationwide televised address that the United States "will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder." Two days earlier, Bush had asserted in another address to the nation, "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
But no such weapons were found after the invasion, and the subject was only fleetingly mentioned from the podium in Madison Square Garden. Instead, the war on Iraq was presented as a part of a seamless thread that stemmed directly from the terrorism of the Sept. 11 attacks. "We have fought the terrorists across the earth -- not for pride, not for power, but because the lives of our citizens are at stake," Bush said, before listing Iraq along with the struggle against terrorist groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The message of the week was: You know where Bush stands. You can't be sure about Kerry. But that headline also came with a misleading subhead: Bush is fighting the war against terrorism, and Kerry wouldn't. It was a theme that was pounded from the very start of the convention, and it depended on a sly conflation— the notion that the war in Iraq and the war against the 9/11 terrorists were one and the same. We heard far more about Bush in the World Trade Center rubble than we did about the U.S. in the Iraqi quagmire. And when Iraq was raised, it was done in a deceptive and simpleminded way. Even John McCain, who gave the most serious foreign policy speech of the week, presented a false choice: "Our choice [in Iraq] wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat."

You see what I mean? There is something very sad in watching a democracy shake and start crumbling by the use of such vicious and unethical tactics as simple lying and yelling louder and louder when one points out that the facts are missing. Never mind busing people in to Bush meetings, if it happens, here we are lying about the very blood and meat of the campaigns.

The Republicans have always appealed to the lowest common denominator, of course, and what's so worrying about it that it may just be working. According to Newsweek polls, 49% of Americans do believe that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 slaughter. And this is solely attributable to the Republican campaign to make it seem so. What are the conservative values nowadays that lying is regarded as a virtue?

In other political news, the wives of presidential candidates are once again judged. Theresa Kerry is seen as a potential negative for Kerry, while Laura Bush is all good news. This is another example of appealing to emotions, this time to those of the men who don't like gender equality of who fear their own wives, perhaps. Look, Laura is quiet as a mouse! A good traditional wife!

Why does it matter what the personalities of the candidates' wives are? After all, the candidates have been married to their respective spouses for some time, and coped just fine with that fact. Why would this suddenly change? Of course it doesn't, and it doesn't matter, but the point is to get people to vote with their lower animal minds, to focus on primal fears and desires, to ignore what is actually happening in this world and in their own lives. If this works it makes me very scared of living in this country. Just saying.