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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Fun During Elections: Seeking the Gullible Vote

Yahoo! News - Bush, Kerry Use Draft to Target Youth Vote

This so just so much fun! The Dems have a couple of idiot Congressmen submit draft legislation. Then they float a rumor that the President may have a draft in mind; a rumor spread mostly on college campuses and other places young people loiter. The President denies he will implement a draft. The goofball legislation gets hammered down with even one of its sponsors voting against it. But:

The day the poll was released, Bush said in his second debate with Kerry, "We're not going to have a draft, period."

Kerry wouldn't let it go. A week later, the Democrat told The Des Moines Register "With George Bush, the plan for Iraq is more of the same and the great potential of a draft."

So, in the political world you can make up "scary" rumors that might possibly affect any segment of the voter population and, no matter what reality is, go after that segment by playing on the fear you just created. You know, like telling people living on Social Security that if your opponent is elected and if the moon aligns with Scorpio while Aries is ascending then if they live past 85 they will lose 10% of their benefits per year until they die. (Hint to the clueless -It's not true! I just made it up. And, no, I don't know anything about astrology, which is to say I know as much about it as I want to)

Hooboy! What a way to get votes! Can you think of other groups (other than gullible young people) we can play this game with--how about gullible sports fans? We can start a rumor that says that if Kerry is elected then, because of the threat of terrorism, mass gatherings of Americans will not be allowed, so all football, baseball and basketball games will be played in empty stadiums or arenas and fans will only be able to watch them on TV. If Kerry denies this, simply say that it "could happen" because of his "soft on terror" stance while looking serious, like you have gravitas or something.

On further reflection, this isn't a new game. It the same old politics of fright that has been going on too long. Politicians have certain topics they know with certainty will get some group of voters on their side. Threatening social security, the draft, medical care, jobs, security, the environment, gun ownership, racial groups ("if X is elected, he'll hurt all people of some color or another"), is an old political game. Maybe the oldest. Why the media reports these stories as if they were "news" is beyond me. It's just politics as usual.

All the more reason, if you've decided who you are going to vote for, to go do "early voting." Then you won't have to pay attention to this last minute nonsense anymore.

Update: Fixed a silly but embarrassing typo.
Update: Froggy paints a more vivid picture of the sad "scare" game.
Update: Instapundit cites a NYT column by William Safire and a NYT Op-Ed piece by David Brooks that deal with "scare tactics."

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