Sunday, October 14, 2012

Beyond the Bradley Effect: What’s Really Happening in Election 2012

In the aftermath of the cringe-worthy debate performance by Vice President Joe Biden — dubbed Dr. Strangelaugh by James Taranto — it’s easy to be bewildered by where this bizarre election is headed.

And Biden’s behavior was not the first instance of “inappropriate affect” by one of the Democratic team. That clinical term for “emotional tone or outward emotional reaction out of harmony with the idea, object, or thought accompanying it” applies to the president’s curiously disconnected presentation in the first debate as well.

What’s going on with these guys? We can theorize forever about the etiology of this behavior (anger, narcissism, desperation, even self-sabotage) in either or both cases, but it’s finally more pertinent to speculate on what the result will be.

As someone who spent over three decades on the left as a liberal-progressive-whatever, I believe I have some sense of how they think and feel. And I have a strong suspicion that at this moment they are not feeling good, no matter what their protestations.

I further suspect some, it’s hard to say how many, are even beginning to question long-held views. How this will translate at the voting booth, it is again difficult to say. Political beliefs — most often inherited or adopted early in life — are notoriously difficult to change just in and of themselves. Add to that the perils of conflict and confrontation with family, friends, employers, and co-workers, not to mention the potential for disintegration of self-image, and you have a perfect prescription for inertia.

And yet we are a moment when more people than ever in recent memory are being forced to think. The economy, nearly everyone knows, is barreling toward the proverbial cliff and on top of that we now have the Benghazi terror killings replete with a metastasizing cover-up, rendering absurd the assertion that al-Qaeda (or its myriad clones) is dead or dying. The White House (Obama/Biden) and the State Department (Hillary/Billary) are already choosing up sides in an unseemly (actually horrifying if you think about its implications) game of liar’s poker.

Foreign policy/domestic policy — what’s a poor liberal to do? Well, there are always the social issues to drum up support, but it’s getting a little late in the game.

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