H. L. Mencken famously said that nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. If he were alive today, he might note that no Democrat ever lost the presidency by underestimating the intelligence of the American electorate.
How did the worst president in living memory win a second term? Yes, there was widespread and massive election fraud. Yes, the media were once again in the tank for Obama, even more flagrantly so than in 2008. Still, the fact remains that about half of the country’s population was willing, even eager, to re-elect an incompetent bungler whose first term in office had been nothing but a disaster from start to finish. Astonishing.
Much has been said about the fact that a large and increasing number of voters are getting so much free stuff from the government that they will automatically vote for the party that promises to keep the freebies coming. That kind of childish irresponsibility and selfishness is a moral problem whose remedy lies outside the realm of politics. Somewhere along the line, too many parents failed to teach their children the simple economic truth that there is no such thing as a free lunch (or free birth control pills, or a free Obamaphone). Someone has to pay for all the loot that government doles out to its favored constituencies, and no, raising taxes on the rich won’t solve the problem. Even if you’re stupid enough to believe that the rich will just roll over and allow all their wealth to be confiscated, there still wouldn’t be enough to fund government spending at anything remotely resembling its current levels.
But just as troubling as this moral failure is the failure of intelligence that caused millions of voters to believe the outrageous lies that Barack Obama and his gang of thugs told about a good, honest, and honorable man, a man whose shoes they are not fit to shine. Day after day, we heard: Romney became wealthy by impoverishing other people. Romney gives terminal cancer to the wives of men who have lost their health insurance because they lost their jobs (which is also Romney’s fault). Romney is cruel to animals. Romney is an old meanie who never gave his garbage man a hug. Romney wants to kill Big Bird. Romney wants to make contraception illegal. Romney doesn’t pay any taxes himself, but he wants to raise your taxes. Romney wants women to be paid less than men. Romney wants to put black people back in chains. Romney wants to kick Grandma off Social Security and Medicare, and take Medicaid and housing assistance and food stamps away from poor people, and so on ad nauseam.
Romney seldom responded publicly to the lies being told about him, a failure for which he’s now being castigated by some conservative commentators. Why didn’t he defend himself? Because the lies were just so outrageous, so outlandish, so ridiculous that he honestly didn’t see how anyone could possibly fall for them — so he refused to dignify them with a response. In other words, he gave the American people credit for more intelligence than they actually possess. And he lost.
I too was guilty of thinking the American people were smarter than they really are, which is why I was in absolute shock when I heard that Obama had been re-elected. How, I wondered, could anyone who had lived through Obama’s first term volunteer for another four years of the same misery and suffering? Are we a nation of masochists? Or just a nation of imbeciles?
When Obama won the presidency in 2008, the following editorial comment appeared in the Czech Republic Observer, and it’s as relevant today as it was then:
The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting an inexperienced man like him with the presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.
Romney bet on the voters’ maturity and intelligence. Obama bet on their greed and gullibility. Obama won; America lost.
For further enlightenment:
A Post Mortem, by Burt Prelutsky
The Biggest Mistake This Campaign? Republicans Assumed Voters Were Smart, by Joe Paglirulo
Dear Barack Obama: A Letter from Joseph Goebbels, by Gavin McInnes