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Understanding Bush Supporters

Old 10-17-04, 12:07 AM
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Understanding Bush Supporters

Here is an interesting (but long) NYTimes article on Bush that puts forth an interesting theory on why Bush has so much support. (Note: Pro-Bush'ers be warned, this is definitely an anti-Bush article.)

To bypass NYTimes registration, you can access the article through google by clicking on the following links and then the only available link that pops up in Google. (Page navigation won't work inside the article, so you have to do this for each page.) Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Here are a couple of pertinent quotes, both taken directly from White House officials:

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
''You think he's an idiot, don't you?'' I said, no, I didn't. ''No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know what those folks don't like? They don't like you!'' In this instance, the final ''you,'' of course, meant the entire reality-based community.
What I get out of this is as follows: Many of us look at Bush's actions and see that they don't, in many cases, make much sense based on the information available to him at the time. For this reason, we perceive him as an idiot or madman. This article suggests that, in actuality, he is not an idiot. He is quite intelligent, but his managerial style discourages the debate of facts and encourages blind obedience. Whereas, for past presidents, the white-house has served to inform the president and take orders from him in a two-way exchange, Bush's white-house just takes orders. As a result, the orders come from someone who doesn't have all the facts and, frequently, the facts are manufactured to fit the orders.

However, that's not what other people see because they aren't looking at Bush's actions; they're looking at Bush. They see someone they like who believes in what they believe in. They therefore believe in *him*. What he actually does is irrelevant in light of this faith in his character. How he does things is of much greater importance. Acting decisively, with confidence and conviction trumps acting based upon the current facts at hand.

So the idea, in a nutshell, is that Bush supporters will vote for the man, not what the man has done. You can attack what Bush has done all you want, but his winning personality will still be there to bring in the votes. Indeed, Bush's persona transforms the nature of his actions. What appears to be "mad" from an empiricist's view will appear sane and even laudible from the view of someone who has "faith" in Bush.

Flame away I guess.

Last edited by Nutter; 10-17-04 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 10-17-04, 12:16 AM
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KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!
OH ZOD!

Either one of the scenarios (Bush as Idiot, Bush as Autocratic Ruler) are attempts to by the liberal press to give you reasons not to vote for him. The NYTimes Magazine is the liberalist piece of the paper, (save the Editorial page) - read the NYTimes' own Public Editor's own conclusions about it - remember that article about the chic who wrote in the magazine about she didn't want to shop at Costco so she had an abortion.
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Old 10-17-04, 12:17 AM
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I think we'll find that there are many more people than expected who don't buy Bush's act on election day.
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Old 10-17-04, 12:23 AM
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Originally posted by chanster
Either one of the scenarios (Bush as Idiot, Bush as Autocratic Ruler) are attempts to by the liberal press to give you reasons not to vote for him. The NYTimes Magazine is the liberalist piece of the paper, (save the Editorial page) - read the NYTimes' own Public Editor's own conclusions about it - remember that article about the chic who wrote in the magazine about she didn't want to shop at Costco so she had an abortion.
Wow, you went through all ten pages pretty quickly. I'm still only halfway into it.
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Old 10-17-04, 12:31 AM
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I read it earlier, its been out for a few hours.

Anyway, here is the Publc Editor's take on the Magazine:

In the Sunday magazine, the culture-wars applause-o-meter chronically points left.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...ublic%20Editor
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Old 10-17-04, 12:41 AM
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He's referring to the coverage of culture as coming from a liberal perspective, but why split hairs? I agree that the editorial direction of the Times is mostly liberal. That doesn't make it inherently not worth reading, at least not to me.

And of course the piece in question was written by Ron Suskind.
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Old 10-17-04, 10:59 AM
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NY Times is written by people who think they are intellectual and look down on people from the south and middle america
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Old 10-17-04, 01:27 PM
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I will vote for Mr. Bush specifically because of his actions, precisely because of what he has done and the results realised.


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Old 10-17-04, 06:49 PM
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The NYTimes Magazine is the liberalist piece of the paper, (save the Editorial page) - read the NYTimes' own Public Editor's own conclusions about it
I did warn you it was anti-bush. However, I thought it made a fairly good case, as opposed to much of the tin-foil-hat media that's out there. This guy actually has a few primary sources, whereas most media (from both sides) just breeds ideas with those of other media like some kind of incestuous marriage, with the expected grotesquely distorted results.

NY Times is written by people who think they are intellectual and look down on people from the south and middle america
The quote that suggests a rift between the coasts/NYTimes readers and "middle america" comes from the White house, not from the author of the article, although I suppose he may be accused of selecting material in an effort to play on the demographics of his readership to strike a chord. Still, does anyone have any hard data on the NYTimes readership? Obviously, it's going to have a peak in New York, but is it really read more on the coasts than in "middle america"? This sort of message from the white-house may be intentional. They may be seeking to marginalize the opinions of a "liberal" paper in the more hotly disputed regions of the country.

I will vote for Mr. Bush specifically because of his actions, precisely because of what he has done and the results realised.
I'd be curious if you could elaborate a little. Which of Bush's actions have influenced you in this way? What is your perception of why Bush took them at the time he took them, and do you think people's current impressions of why he took those actions is still accurate? If not, who do you think is responsible for the distortions? (e.g. WMD's vs. Fostering Democracy etc.)
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Old 10-17-04, 06:50 PM
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Originally posted by dork
Wow, you went through all ten pages pretty quickly. I'm still only halfway into it.
Must be a Democrat. Sound it out, dork
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Old 10-17-04, 08:16 PM
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Originally posted by kvrdave
Must be a Democrat. Sound it out, dork



Joke's on you, 'cause I'm almost done!
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Old 10-17-04, 10:31 PM
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Wow. That is one ugly smilie! If that thing had a hairy ass it'd be good for a comb-over!
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Old 10-18-04, 01:04 PM
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Interesting and very long read. I think the main point of the article was not to paint Bush as an idiot or an autocratic ruler, but as someone who has too much faith in faith alone and does not want to engage in discussion of details or opposing points of view.
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Old 10-18-04, 04:14 PM
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Originally posted by al_bundy
NY Times is written by people who think they are intellectual and look down on people from the south and middle america
My initial reaction to this comment was to play Dick Cheney to your Patrick Leahy. I went for a walk and cooled down, but I still like the Cheney/Leahy line, so I kept it in my post.

I was without internet access from after the last debate until today, and when I came back, it seemed to me that a lot of the posts in this forum were nothing more than "Go fuck yourself, member of the other party." Maybe things got worse while I was gone, or maybe it's just that I got unused to it, but either way, it sucks. It seems like for every reasonable partisan like dork or Pharoh, there's ten more who just want to fling their own shit.

Which brings me to your post. Your comment, I think, encapsulates something about the right in America, and, more to the point, many on the right here in Otter. The right -- or at least, some on the right -- sees itself as somehow "truer" than the left, because the right is composed of decent, hardworking Americans, while the left is just snobby know-it-alls.

I'm pretty liberal and I don't look down on the right. Some of the smartest, noblest, most moral, most honest people I know are on the right. One of my dearest mentors is a former Republican officeholder. Some of the smartest Otters are on the right. I don't have contempt for the right. Yet I know there are liberals who do have that contempt.

So here we are. The right sees the left as having contempt for them. The left sees the right as having contempt for them. And so we get polemics instead of discussion. And why not? Why would I try to discuss something with someone who has contempt for me?

Can we all try to remember that there are reasonable, intelligent Democrats and resonable, intelligent Republicans? Not everyone on the left is an ivory-towered, pompous snob, and not everyone on the right is a bible-thumping, dirt-eating hick.

I think I'll go start a thread that will (to borrow a phrase) try to unite, not divide, the Election sub-forum.
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Old 10-18-04, 04:17 PM
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Originally posted by al_bundy
NY Times is written by people who think they are intellectual and look down on people from the south and middle america
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Old 10-18-04, 05:20 PM
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Originally posted by JasonF
So here we are. The right sees the left as having contempt for them. The left sees the right as having contempt for them. And so we get polemics instead of discussion. And why not? Why would I try to discuss something with someone who has contempt for me?
At first I thought you made some very pertinent points which got to the heart of the problem with many of the "discussions" here. But then the well-reasoned post after yours persuaded me otherwise.
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Old 10-18-04, 05:22 PM
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Originally posted by dork
At first I thought you made some very pertinent points which got to the heart of the problem with many of the "discussions" here. But then the well-reasoned post after yours persuaded me otherwise.
I'm starting to feel like that crying <s>Indian</s> Italian in those anti-littering commercials.
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Old 10-24-04, 04:48 AM
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I just came across another article that seemed to be pertinent to this thread. It shows polling results which indicate that Bush supporters and non-supporters have fundamentally different views of past events and current affairs. While not unusual, the ammount of skew in perception in this case is extreme. The article proposes a couple theories to account for this. For example, one theory is that, after going through 9/11 with Bush, many voters feel that they have a close personal bond with the man and therefore cling tenaciously to perceptions that justify their continued faith in him even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Some quotes:

"And, more specifically, why are Bush supporters clinging so tightly to beliefs that have been so visibly refuted? As discussed, one key possible explanation for why Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had WMD or a major WMD program, and supported al Qaeda is that they continue to hear the Bush administration confirming these beliefs."

"The roots of the resistance to this information very likely lie in the traumatic experience of 9/11, and equally in the near pitch-perfect leadership that President Bush showed in its immediate wake. In response to an unprecedented attack on US soil, with the prospect of further such attacks, Bush responded with a grace and resolve that provided reassurance to an anxious public. In the war with the Taliban he showed restraint as well as effectiveness. Large numbers of Americans had a powerful bonding experience with the president--a bond that they may be loath to relinquish."

"Bush appears to assume that his support is fragile. He refuses to admit to making any mistakes. He admits that he was surprised that WMD were not found, but does not say that the most reasonable conclusion is that they were never there and continues to talk about “disarming” Iraq. He asserts that he never said that Iraq was directly involved in 9/11, but maintains that there were contacts with al Qaeda in a way that implies that they were significant. Most telling, his supporters as well as his opponents overwhelmingly say that they hear him still saying that Iraq had WMD and supported al Qaeda. To remain loyal and bonded to him means to enter into this false reality. Bush may be right. Admitting his mistakes may shatter his idealized image in a way that some supporters may not forgive."

Last edited by Nutter; 10-24-04 at 04:52 AM.
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Old 10-24-04, 08:28 AM
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Originally posted by Nutter
<snip>...one theory is that, after going through 9/11 with Bush, many voters feel that they have a close personal bond with the man and therefore cling tenaciously to perceptions that justify their continued faith in him even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
I think that is one of the problems right there. You assume that your opinion equals "overwhelming evidence to the contrary"; where as a Bush supporter would believe otherwise. It's easy to be smug and spout reasons why you believe the opposition is deluded IF you believe it is a delusion and not a different way of interpreting the facts.
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Old 10-24-04, 12:43 PM
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I am still trying to understand Kerry- Edwards supporters....Cant hold a sign right

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Old 10-24-04, 12:47 PM
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Originally posted by raven56706
I am still trying to understand Kerry- Edwards supporters....Cant hold a sign right

OMG

THE SIGN IS UPSIDE DOWN! NO ONE AFFILIATED WITH ANY POLITICAL CANDIDATE HAS EVER DONE THAT! WHY HASN'T FOX NEWS OR CNN REPORTED ABOUT THIS GROUNDBREAKING EVENT! IT'S SIGNGATE 2004!!!!!!!1111
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Old 10-24-04, 01:36 PM
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........ he is just happy about the upside down sign
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Old 10-24-04, 01:38 PM
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Originally posted by raven56706
........ he is just happy about the upside down sign
Who's he!? Is he me? You speak English good.
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Old 10-24-04, 03:00 PM
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You assume that your opinion equals "overwhelming evidence to the contrary"; where as a Bush supporter would believe otherwise. It's easy to be smug and spout reasons why you believe the opposition is deluded IF you believe it is a delusion and not a different way of interpreting the facts.
Opinion and Fact are two different things. Do you:

1. Believe that Iraq had a substantial stockpile of WMD's prior to invasion?
2. Believe that Sadam and Iraq had close ties to Al Qaeda and was providing them with substantial support?
3. Believe that Bush is well-liked abroad?
4. Believe Bush supports multilateralism and anti-global warming measures?

The majority of Bush supporters believe in all of these points according to the linked article, yet none are based in fact. There has been no evidence for WMD's found in Iraq. No evidence for close relations between Sadam and Al-qaeda exist, let alone any support he may have provided. Every poll I've seen in foreign papers indicates Bush is somewhere in between Hitler and the antichrist in terms of international popularity, and that includes U.S. "allies". (e.g. Britain) Bush's administration has a long history of thumbing it's nose at multilateralism (e.g. Internation Criminal Court) and has quite openly placed economic concerns over those of global warming. (e.g. Kyoto) I'm not going to debate the legitimacy of the global warming theory or the efficacy of Kyoto here. I merely point out that a majority of Bush supporters believe Bush supports action on global warming when, in fact, he has remained inactive on the issue.

That's the anti-Bush interpretation of the "facts". In order to logically dismiss this as "smug opinion" you will need to refute these points with facts of your own. If you can't, then it's time to examine your reasons for supporting Bush.

I am still trying to understand Kerry- Edwards supporters....Cant hold a sign right
10 for effort, 0 for relevance.

Last edited by Nutter; 10-24-04 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 10-24-04, 06:55 PM
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Nutter, we were discussing that study in this thread earlier. The DVD-Talk right pretty much backed out of it though after claiming the study was biased but without really giving any supporting evidence to that claim.

The issues that Bush supporters incorrectly assumed the president was for and their perception (and I use that word extremely losely) of how the world sees Bush were most surprising. I can't seem to find a reasonable answer for them either.
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