Six Dirty Secrets of Presidential Politics

January 18, 2012
The Six Dirty Secrets of Presidential Politics in 2012
By John Ziegler

It is amazing to me how many political opinions/predictions from seemingly intelligent people are so clearly wrong and how little it seems to matter to them or anyone else in the punditsphere when this is inevitably proven to be true.

The reasons why this is the case are many, but at the core of this phenomenon is the fact that there are several basic realities of presidential politics that appear to have somehow failed to pierce the bubble/echo chamber of the media elites.  These are, if you will, the “dirty little secrets” of presidential elections in general and 2012 in particular.instead

You simply can’t properly evaluate what will happen this November without first understanding that:

Ignorant votes rule

No matter how politically incorrect it may be to say out loud, there is absolutely no doubt that the voters who determine who wins our presidential elections are frighteningly lacking in even basic knowledge of the issues or the candidates.

While this has probably always been the case, the evidence is overwhelming that, for a variety of reasons (most notably the fragmentation and “fluff-ification” of our celebrity-driven media), this problem is getting worse every cycle.  In 2008, I commissioned two scientific polls as part of my documentary of the media coverage of the election which proved just how incredibly ignorant of fundamental facts the voters of each candidate were.

It is quite clear that the country is basically split politically into thirds.  One third is known in overly polite circles as “independent” or “casual” voters.  In truth, these are people who don’t pay attention and don’t really care about current events.  Unfortunately, because the other two thirds of “partisans” tend to balance each other out, it is these voters (yes, regrettably, they do indeed vote) who usually decide the winner in presidential elections.

Because the media has by far the greatest influence over this group (because they get their political “news” almost entirely from headlines, comedians, and friends), they went for Obama in a huge way in 2008 and, to a lesser extent, probably will again this time.

Issues/Ideology Mean Very Little

Thanks to “dirty little secret” number one, I find it almost hilarious that so many political commentators still desperately hang on to the delusion that voters (at least the ones who matter) make their decisions the same way that said commentators do.  This reminds of me of the identical fallacy which occurs when a woman interprets the actions of a man based on the erroneous belief that his brain works like hers does.

These ignorant voters don’t delve deeply into the candidates’ record/positions to decide which one is closest to their views.  They have no real ideology.  Instead, they make their choices based mostly on feeling, and often that doesn’t even mean a sense about each of the candidates.

Instead, these people tend to vote based on which decision will make them feel better about themselves.  Ironically, that usually means which side will make these “stupid” people feel as if they have made the “smart” selection.

A glance at recent history proves this point.  In 2008, there was no doubt that the media had convinced the “middle third” that Obama was the “wise” choice.  In 2004, despite the media’s best efforts, the middle third felt like Bush 43 would keep us safer in a post-9/11 world.  In 2000, there was no real sense as to which candidate was the “wise” option, and it basically ended in a tie.  In 1996, thanks to the economy being good, they deemed Bill Clinton worthy of a second term.  In 1992, thanks to a misperception of the economy, they simply felt like three straight Republican terms was enough.

Now, if one candidate is perceived as being ideologically outside the mainstream (which, thanks to a media-created matrix, can really happen only to Republicans), then that perception will very likely impact the way that the “middle third” decides which candidate is the “wise” pick.  But this usually won’t be because of the candidate’s actual views, but instead because of the narrative that his or her ideology creates (for instance, Rick Santorum would get crushed not because most people disagree with him about gay rights, but rather because his misunderstood views on the issue would create the impression that he was outside the mainstream and therefore not the “wise” alternative).

The bottom line as this relates to 2012 is that the notion that Mitt Romney would be at a disadvantage against President Obama because he is supposedly a “right-leaning moderate” going up against a “left-leaning moderate” is just silly.  As long as there is no conservative third-party candidate, Obama himself will single-handily produce a near-100% conservative voter turnout for Romney, regardless of how his ideology is perceived.

This is also why Newt Gingrich is so unelectable, especially against Obama.  All these voters would ever really know about him is that he is a fat, old, angry white male, with two ex-wives, who resigned as speaker of the House because he got Clinton impeached while he himself was having an affair.  Game, set, match.

The 2010 Midterms Are Largely Irrelevant

The biggest political misunderstanding that most hardcore conservative voters have is that presidential elections are pretty much the same as the midterm variety.  This is like comparing the NFL’s Super Bowl with the Pro Bowl.  Even though they are both football games, it would be difficult for them to be more unlike each other.

Midterms are local and state elections with almost no national media narrative/impact or principal individuals and where the turnout is usually pretty light.  Presidential elections are 50 separate state elections with a distinct national narrative set by the media where there are two much-focused-on individuals and where turnout out is much higher than normal.

In short, midterms are based largely on ideology/party affiliation, while presidential matchups are about mostly about the feelings of people who don’t follow politics.

This misconception has caused a huge problem for conservatives in this cycle because the Tea Party people seem to think that, based on the relative success of the 2010 campaign, beating Obama should be rather easy.  This, in turn, has caused them to consider a number of candidates who have no shot at winning and who would ordinarily never even be considered for the task of trying to bring down the Obama monster.

In the end, it is likely to create enormous disappointment when Romney wins the nomination based mostly on the idea that he is the most (only) electable alternative.  I also fear that, should Romney lose, the incredibly false lesson that will be “learned” (much like with John McCain in 2008) will be that we lost because we nominated a “moderate.”

The Liberal Media’s Influence Is Increasing

The popular perception among most commentators is that the media’s general influence is on the decline and that, therefore, liberals are slowly losing one of their most powerful political weapons.  I have devoted most of the last four years of my life to proving that this premise is patently false.

The counterargument to mine goes something like this: because of fragmentation, the audience sizes of the traditional liberal news outlets is shrinking, and thanks to Fox News, talk radio, and the internet, we are able to get our message out around the old gatekeepers.

This might very well be the most dangerous fallacy in the conservative movement today.

There is no doubt that fragmentation has dramatically altered the entire media landscape for the worse (except for the Golf and History Channels) and that audiences for individual outlets are indeed getting smaller.  The problem is that numerous factors (including having largely gotten away with singehandedly electing Obama in 2008) have freed up these same liberal outlets to allow their true selves to really come pouring out without a hint of self-restraint.

After what they so overtly did for Obama and against Sarah Palin in 2008, why would they ever go back to just the relatively tame “bias” of the Nixon and Reagan years?  The referees have gone from putting a finger on the scales of justice to flat out sitting on them, and yet there have been almost no repercussions.  Even though they don’t have nearly the same weight/power that they used to, they are happy to simply use a much greater percentage of what they still possess in order to get the job done.

Conversely, it is a myth that Fox News, talk radio, and the internet allow conservatives to get our truth out.  In reality, at best, these outlets allow the previously converted to feel better about what they already believe.  At worst, they provoke the other side into justifying a more overt bias in order to “balance” things out.

The ultimate example of this comes in the way the cable news networks have positioned themselves.  MSNBC is far more left than FNC is to the right, and now, significantly left CNN is somehow allowed to be perceived to be in the “middle.”

It is important to note here that the definition of “media outlets” which influence presidential elections now goes far beyond the “news” variety.  You can actually argue that entertainment media has even more control these days than news divisions do (assuming you can even tell the difference between them anymore).

Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Bill Maher, Saturday Night Live, and other “entertainment” outlets all have incredible power to create the narrative of a presidential election (just ask Palin), and they are highly unlikely to do so in a way that would ever harm Obama.

One of the many reasons why Romney is the only Republican candidate with a chance is because he is the only one who would be the target of mostly harmless jokes (teasing about how rich, straight-laced, and boring he is won’t be nearly as devastating what they would easily come up with for Gingrich, Santorum, Paul, or Perry).  Interestingly, this past week’s attempt by SNL to parody Romney in exactly that way bombed dramatically.

The 2000 election provided an important lesson in this area.  Interviews since then indicate that SNL staff thought that they were destroying Bush 43 by making him seem stupid.  Instead, they actually helped his candidacy by making him seem way cooler and more likable than Al Gore, whom they portrayed as incredibly annoying.

The media testified on behalf of Obama in 2008.  They are simply not going to let him be a one-term disaster if they can possibly help it.

Which leads directly to the next “secret”…

Obama Will Be Much Tougher to Beat Than Perceived

Even if the economy doesn’t improve (or at least provide enough data for the media to manipulate into making it seem as if it is), Obama has at least a 50% chance at reelection.  This assessment may be shocking to many conservatives, but it is based on sound analysis.

Incredibly, even now, both Obama and Romney are almost exactly even when it comes to net approval ratings, with the only difference being that a few more people have made up their minds about Obama than have with Romney.  The head-to-head polling data also indicates that they are approximately tied.

Taking out an incumbent is always difficult (even Bush 43 improved on his 2000 vote with an unpopular war and a partisan press working against him), but especially given two elements that seem to have been forgotten by overly optimistic conservatives.

The first is that the number-one argument (at least as approved by the cowardly McCain campaign) against Obama in 2008 was that he lacked any executive experience.  Well, he now has essentially served four years in the most difficult executive position in the world.  To the “middle third” voters, this weakness has now become a strength (as has, by the way, his lack of a foreign policy resume, which now boasts the killing of Osama bin Laden on it).

Second, “middle third” voters hate one party controlling all the levers of power, especially now, when trust in politicians and Congress is at all-time lows.

Republicans currently control the House and seem very likely to take over the Senate.  This is a reality, I am quite certain, of which (unlike 2008, when my polls indicated that most Obama voters wrongly thought that Republicans were in control) the media will make very sure every “casual” voter is made painfully aware.  The fact that they would be able to claim that a Romney victory would allow the “crazy” (and increasingly unpopular) Tea Party coalition to “take over” will only exacerbate the negative impact this will have on undecided voters.

The only reason why Romney has any real chance at all is because he is uniquely positioned to win in New Hampshire, Nevada, and Michigan, all of which are critical to Obama’s various paths to 270 Electoral College votes.

But this all assumes that the economy stays basically where it is between now and November.  If it is perceived as really getting better, then Romney will almost certainly lose barring some sort of significant scandal, which, given the incredibly high standards the media would use to judge any possible indiscretions, would seem to be highly unlikely.

The reason why Romney is indeed the most electable Republican left is because he makes the race more of a pure referendum on Obama than any of the others (though not as much as a Tim Pawlenty would have).  This means that, to a large degree, his destiny is not in his own hands, and his candidacy is at the mercy of largely ignorant voters’ feelings about the economy.

The only other plausible scenario here is that Iran, Iraq, and Syria explode to the point where foreign policy becomes a much bigger issue than anyone currently expects.  This, of course, does not play into Romney’s strengths, and unless he took the bold/risky step of picking Condoleezza Rice as his VP (and she surprisingly accepted), it would be hard to see how he could fully take advantage of this shift in the campaign’s narrative.

The Conservative Media Has an Incentive for Obama to Win

The “dirtiest” little secret on my list is one that, because it is so obvious, I am astonished has not been mentioned in any significant way.

In my experience, the most universal misconception that conservatives have about politics is that most of those in the “conservative media” or those who are “activists” are motivated primarily because they believe in the cause.  Unfortunately, for many reasons too numerous to get into in this space, this is simply not the case.  The vast majority of the decisions made in the conservative media and by activists are decided by business considerations rather than by what is best for the cause.

In other words, it is ratings, traffic, and, ultimately, revenue/job security which dictate a huge portion (not all) of the content produced by Fox News, the Drudge Report, and talk radio, and it is donations which determine how most activists react.  This is why Sarah Palin’s irrelevant presidential tease and Herman Cain’s always-doomed campaign were given so much more attention than they deserved.  It is also a significant part of why the “Tea Party movement” evolved as it did.

It is also why there is a very good chance that many people in both groups will effectively lay down their arms in the battle to unseat Obama.

The reasoning behind this controversial declaration is quite simple.  Those entities have absolutely no financial incentive for Obama to lose and, if fact, have a profound disincentive against facilitating his defeat.

The Obama presidency has been a financial windfall for all of them.  Fox’s ratings have never been higher, Drudge’s traffic has never been better (which is rather “ironic,” given how blatantly he protected Obama during the 2008 primaries), talk radio has been at least temporarily saved, and dozens of “Tea Party” groups have raised millions of dollars with which to line the pockets of their organizers and consultant friends.  If Obama loses, not only does all of that stop, but the prospect of possibly eight long years of being “obligated” to support a rather boring Mitt Romney with no “boogieman” to attack must scare the daylights out of them.

To be clear, there will be no overt conspiracy.  There is no need for there to be one.  These are all people who live their daily lives based on pursuing their own interests, and many of them will have no problem coming to the conclusion that an Obama loss would be a terrible thing for their personal “cause” all on their own.

For those skeptical of my rather cynical hypothesis, I offer two quick examples.

If those I speak of really were primarily devoted to the cause of beating Obama, every conservative in the country would have been activated to support Pennsylvania’s proposal to alter the way that it allocates its Electoral College votes because it would have made Obama’s reelection almost impossible.  Instead, the proposal got almost no attention, and the idea was unceremoniously dropped.

Similarly, some have compared the attacks on Romney’s Bain record to what happened regarding Obama’s “Rev. Wright” issue during his successful primary run.  The big difference (other than the Wright issue being far more legitimate), of course, is that Hillary Clinton did not take up the attacks on the Wright connection, while Newt Gingrich has led the charge on the Bain issue.

While Gingrich has been criticized by many conservatives for his actions here, there has not been nearly the universality of ferocity of condemnation on the right as there would have been on the left had Hillary done the same to Obama (which is probably why she never dared to go there).

The primary reason for this is that the conservative elite are simply not as willing to go to the mat for Romney as their counterparts on the left were (and still will be) for Obama.

In a bizarre way, I am coming to see the coming Romney candidacy much as I view the Iraq War.  It was a good idea; was based on seemingly sound, though ultimately flawed, assumptions; and was executed well under very difficult circumstances, but it ended up being doomed in public perception largely because too many weak-kneed conservatives weren’t willing to pay the price to achieve ultimate victory.

In other words, if every conservative power broker sincerely wanted to defeat Obama as they claim they do and acted based on that as their primary priority, then, with any luck, Romney would win.  Unfortunately, based on my extensive knowledge of these people, I have zero faith that most of them will be there for the cause when it really counts.

Therefore, the most likely scenario is that Obama gets re-elected, the country is harmed, and many so-called “conservatives” will smile.

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Jon+W Yesterday 01:03 AM
Even if what you say is true Mr. Ziegler, this is only January. We still have 2 months shy of
a year where, in a short time span, all manner of bad things can, and likely will happen.
Not the least of which, is the financially debauched state of the U.S. monetary system,
and to a greater degree, what seems to be the inevitable collapse of the E.U. and their
fiat currency, the Euro. When that happens, the mortgage meltdown will seem like a blip
on the radar screen. Americans will long for the days when their property values decreased
by 40% and the unemployment rate was 9%. There aren’t enough rose colored glasses to
pass out to the Obama faithful. This is Obama’s economy, and there is a great deal to worry
about in just the next two months regarding the strength of the dollar, and our ability to borrow, and our national debt is greater than 100% of our GDP. We are now the most
indebted nation in the history of the world! There are damn few republicans that Obama
can lay the blame on when the bill finally comes due. And the bill is coming due sooner
than anyone knows, or has been told. Sadly, no amount of hope will change that fact.

fordprefect 01/18/2012 08:34 PM
This entire column is based on a false premise: That the electorate is divided into “thirds” and that elections hang on the votes of Independents. This is poppycock.

Presidential elections rely on GOTV efforts.  The candidate who gets the bulk of his base to vote is the winner. Had Thompson gotten the nomination last time around, the base would have been energized and we would have had a President Thompson. But open primaries allowed McCain to take the nomination and large numbers of the base stayed home. End of story.  We see it time and again. Conservative candidates rally the base who then turn out to vote.  Reagan proved this.  Milquetoast candidates generate no excitement and they lose. Ford, Bush the Elder, Dole, and McCain proved that.

Now, Newt is not the most conservative guy out there but he did prove his conservative bona fides while he held office.  I’m more of a Santorum guy but he too has his moderate moments. Either one can beat Obama. Romney or Paul.  No chance at all.

Ventuckylocal 01/18/2012 08:20 PM
I think Mr. Ziegler has a pretty clear view of the present landscape. For all the unhappiness some liberals I read about have with Mr. Obama’s “reign” thus far I have met no one who voted for him in ’08 who says they have been dissuaded from voting for him again. Their beef, by and large, is that he hasn’t been given the chance to make the changes he needs to to improve our economy and personal lives because of the opposition of the rich Repubicans he has to deal with. When I have brought up issues like Fast and Furious, endless czar appointments, dissing Israel, Solyndra and $5 trillion in new debt I am simply dismissed or stared at blanky. They don’t care. They are the reason the man with no past history got voted for in the first place and why he will probably get voted in again. Even if Obama does not (by some miracle) win the election who will make him leave the White House if he decides he doesn’t want to go? It would appear that he ACTUALLY can do anything he wants to with no opposition. He has underperformed by almost any standard held for the office, refused to prove he is a citizen and has committed several crimes under the Constitution according to several reliable political “experts” I’ve heard bleating over the last 2 years. Why then haven’t impeachment proceedings been started or even discussed publicly if all these things are true?
Those of us wishing for a return to a more conservative group of political leaders are perhaps more vociferous about stating our outrage with the present administration more than any other in our lifetime.  However, I don’t see much taking place that would indicate we aren’t in for at least another four years or Emperor for Life with Obama because we are surrounded by a populace of the dumbest people ever to live in America at one time.
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alwyr 01/18/2012 06:38 PM
O.K. So it’s all over……Obama is inevitable! THANK YOU Mr. Z for your ‘insights’.

BubbasBBQ 01/18/2012 06:19 PM
Sorry, you can boil the election down to three things a) people vote their wallets, or who they think will help keep money in it b) they vote for the one who most looks like a winner and the strongest leader c) They will vote for he one who they find the most likeable or the most positive. Short of sending up a complete dunce, you can pick the winner based on these factors. Kennedy over Nixon, Carter over Ford, Reagan Over Carter and Mondale, Bush over Dukakis, Clinton over Bush and Dole, Obama over McCain are the most glaring examples of this.

Have a candidate who projects confidence, leadership and likeability and then Project the bad economy, that Obama is unlikeable and a loser and a weak kneed leader and you have a winner. You can’t send a dead raccoon out to accomplish this (Hello, McCain) although Obama’s race and the tanking economy was a lot of him to overcome, he also was projected that he was one above roadkill.

MaxEntropy 01/18/2012 05:31 PM
Good, thoughtful piece. I concur mostly with the writers analyses but can simplify it a little. For that disengaged, dumbed-down middle third the choice usually comes down to the prettiest face and the most charm. High school popularity contests redux. A second part of that is the old aphorism that “a simple lie is more readily grasped than a complex truth”. The devious, postmodernist Left lives by this axiom while the GOP seems to believe that people who watch “Houeswives” will be putty in their “supply-demand-Laffer curve hands.
What the writer (inadvertantly?) leads us to is that America has reached a point where the inmates are running the asylum and keep asking for more beatings because it’s all they know. In other words we can no longer manage our individual lives so we’ll turn that responsibility over to Big Brother and go back to worrying about The Kardashians.

NeoBoethius 01/18/2012 05:23 PM
You must also understand that the most decadent elements of left-wing evil have far more control of the universities in this country than they do of the media. I recently left my #1 ranked graduate program at a famous American university because I literally received explicitly Marxist lessons in all four of my courses. Was I studying sociology? Critical theory? Political “science”? Nope, I was just trying to learn how to make computer software. Computer software! And they were giving me no practical knowledge whatsoever! Instead, in one class we had an entire day dedicated to how to make software aiming at a global socialist government. In another class, occupiers were invited to speak (and, in protest, I refused to come). In the other two classes we got post-modernism and Marxist homilies literally every class period. One of our Marxist professors literally told us that he would not read any of the writings he assigned us to write, because it would take too much time. But, we should support the occupy movement since they clearly aren’t merely lazy bums. I wrote my final paper about how he specifically was undermining this country and the only feedback I ever got from him was my A grade, which I got solely for turning in some sort of digital text file at the required intervals. I just wanted to become skilled in creating computer software, and I was instead the invisible victim of a Marxist machine. It was soul crushing and so I left. But no one else left with me, no one else even perceived a problem! They all spoke as though atheism was common knowledge, Obama far too right-wing, and hard work an unnecessary evil. And they will design the internet’s future.
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RightingOurConsent 01/18/2012 05:14 PM
While the gist of the problem with the electorate is that uniformed voters are the deciding factor in presidential races, as this article points out, what is the purpose of electing those who will not do what is needed to save our constitutional republic?  If ignorance needs to be countered, why hasn’t the GOP leadership countered it?  Is going along with show-biz reality, instead of changing it, going to do anything to address a massive debt that will crush our future generations? Have asked this before, if we “win,” what exactly have we won? Not much, the country would still be speeding toward a cliff, but perhaps a tad slower. Here is an indication that the msm won’t report…The kids are not even supporting Obama any longer…they laugh at him now. They call their friends “Obama” to diss them for fun.

The GOP has the money to change the script and wake up the ignorant.  The tea party should have shown them there is a solid base of people that are ready to help…instead what have they done?  They gave us Romney, and figuratively told us “you will vote against Obama so we wont worry about what you think.”  These same people gave us Dole and McCain and still they expect a different outcome…only in the movies, by the way, the left dominates showbiz.
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garyhope 01/18/2012 05:13 PM
Before I’m a conservative or a liberal or an independent, I’m voting for the survival of the country, freedom, reason and rational reality and that excludes re-electing Hussein Obama.  Perhaps labels mean something and we can nit pick our way to a perfect solution, but I doubt it.  This election is not just about Obama and an imperfect Republican nominee whomever that turns out to be.

What are the most important issues concerning the survival of the USA?  I don’t know which is the number one issue.  Tell me what you think it is.  There are real immediate and consequential issues and then there are philosophical issues that can be just a bunch of words. Is it money, the economy, unemployment, jobs and the budget deficit?  Can that eventually be worked out?  Probably. Is it abortion?  Can that change?  Can that be altered or worked out?  Probably.

I think that there are 2 main issues.  I think one is cultural, the left changing our culture until we destroy ourselves and can never change back.  The country is Balkanized into minority groups and sexes.  The basic chemistry of the planet, male and female  has been politicized into a division and people made to think that we don’t share the same needs or world.  All the races and ethnic groups have been made to believe that all our needs are separate and different.

Then there is the left and Islam and Islamofascism and the naive, uneducated and ignorant of our citizens that don’t know or  believe  that we’re in a war for our survival against a bunch of barbaric fanatics who want us all dead and gone  and our culture and country destroyed and razed to the ground.

Al 01/18/2012 05:11 PM
First off, I am getting tired of the phrase “Dirty little secret”. The use of said phrase attempts to yank the reader into a new perception or understanding or final acceptance that the reader’s previous perceptions were wrong. And I know that Rush uses the phrase multiple times a day. Enough. I must say that Mr. Zigler’s analysis is detailed. He has explanations for the behavior of many disparate groups. And the ultimate unifying theme of his piece is that Obama is going to win in 2012 because the various groups of alleged Conservatives value their warm beds more than the welfare of the country. I submit that Mr. Zigler’s piece could be considered suspect (by that, I mean using a manipulated analysis to enhance one’s own agenda) because he presumes to know what is in the hearts of a large number of different groups.

I do not think anyone can get their arms around the ideas, desires, goals, fears, and loves of more than two different groups of people. And one of those groups is by necessity one’s own. First, the idea that Rush Limbaugh has a vested interest in Obama remaining in office so Rush can have more controversial things to talk about on air is so absurd that Zigler’s presentation of the idea almost completely invalidates Zigler’s proposition in itself. As another commentator here has stated, Rush never is at a lack of topics to discuss.

The same goes for Hanity, Levin, Savage, and the rest. Second, I do hope Mr. Zigler has seen the polls that have recorded the shift of voters from Democrat to Independent, and from Independent to Republican. Third, the old Liberal media is dying. The LA Times is firing staff. The New York Times is on life support. I do not know, but I think it’s an even money bet that there are as many reporters busing tables at the Carnegie Grill as performers. We will take back our country in 2012, and it will be marvelous

rlr001 01/18/2012 02:34 PM
A lot of sobering truth in this article. The cynicism is justified. In the long run history shows democratic societies fade into socialism because few people understand the difference and do not care to learn and people vote with selfish short term motives. Freedom is embedded in the context of personal responsibility, and the less people believe in personal responsibility the more they will allow the transition to greater government power. Unfortunately this is history’s cycle, and we are now on the downward hill of dissolving freedoms.

norman1978 01/18/2012 02:10 PM
Mr. Ziegler. Ultimately, what choice do we conservatives have? Every single point in your article may be entirely fact based. It may be that one third of the American people are simply too stupid to actually do some research on the candidates, or even worse, too stupid to actually pay attention to what is going on around them. That one third of ignorant voters may very well put Obama back in office, but does that mean that we give up?
You are correct when you say that the conservative media are only conservative because it is good business. At least there is a media out there willing to push the conservative point of view, rather than giving the legacy media a monopoly on political thought.
So, maybe it is your opinion that we give up on our great nation. Should we just lay down and roll over? We know what is ahead of us if we continue to allow the steady march to the left. Leftist ideology has ruined many nations, and continues to ruin many more. If we continue down this path, we will eventually be lumped in with history’s losers. We must fight! We must convince the ignorant masses! We must defeat the statists! No matter how grim we may feel about our prospects.
The point is Mr. Ziegler, we already know everything you just said. Do you really think that you are the only one who has been saying it? It seems like a regular theme on many conservative sites, that the reelection of barrack Obama is inevitable. It is a line that is spouted off by the media and by many politicians. How about, instead of adding your own voice to the chorus in the name of “realism,” instead you attempt to put forward a strategy to at least try and defeat Obama?
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cedarhill 01/18/2012 01:36 PM
If Romney is nominated there will be at least one conservative, who years ago sold cans of Goldwater to raise money for his campaign, that will not vote for Romney.  Period.  McCain was the last mirage.  To borrow from the Left, it will be time to move on past the GOP.

ManfredHoffmann 01/18/2012 01:27 PM
The political campaigns are indeed designed and orchestrated by pollsters, psychologists and advertising/publicity professionals. Ideology only comes in if it is assumed to translate to numbers on election day. Deception, lying and manipulation are core principles of the political game. Many here on AT know that the accelerating destruction of our culture is not a game. That is why so many of us like Sarah Palin. She might just be a normal and honest person. Same for Ronald Reagan. Voters are treated  just like  lab-rats in  experiments. We get manipulated to do what the guy in the white coat wants. If we are unlikely to perform, they just ignore us and move on to more gullible groups. AT readers are such a tiny minority, we do not matter at all for any election.

So I liked your provocative article, Mr. Ziegler but please have somebody proofread before you submit for publication. My English is bad and my mistakes are embarrassing, but to read your piece was painful to say the least.

ansonheath 01/18/2012 01:00 PM
Gee Zig, I guess we conservatives should just roll over and die, since ignorance rules our elections and there’s very little we can do about it, so you say However, may I ask this question: How did we get into this mess? And how long did it take? The progressive indoctrination program is well over a 100 years old and is now proving its results, but nothing lasts forever. It will take a long time to reverse the effects of the dumming down, but why give up now? Whether Romney gets elected or not is almost irrelevant. The best he can do is slow down the degradation, if at all.

The dirty little secret is that any one election will accomplish little in the long run. What needs to take place is an American awakening, accompanied by a continuing and relentless program to educate our public. And where do we start? How about your own home, your church, your school board, your local community politics, colleges, etc. Eventually, in time, we will retake the political and cultural landscape. Let’s face it, we lost it because we got lazy and fat indulging in our prosperity.

Now the events around us are getting our attention and these realities are best at motivating us to change our behavior. Just think, what motivated the TEA Party to generate? It was Obama. I thank God for Obama! Even more of the ‘the dumb and ignorant’ are waking up. They may be ‘D and I’, but they’re not stupid! Therefore, our job is simple, if not easy. I’m in this for the long haul, as l long as God gives me life. Political expediency solves nothing. I am not fighting for me; I am in this battle for my grandkids.

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Hitchhiker 01/18/2012 12:24 PM
I remember when GW put forth the very principled and conservative plan to start privatizing social security and those willing to go to the mat in his defense as the lynch mob set upon him leads me to think that you are absolutely right with this analysis as disheartening as it is. A man much maligned as a Rino put forth a solid conservative proposal and what happened? I will trudge to the polls and cast a ballot for Romney at any cost but, I live in a state that went two thirds for McCain last time. My vote doesn’t matter one whit. It is up to the ignorant and stupid middle third of independents in a few key states. Certainly reason for pessimism.

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gordiduk 01/18/2012 10:58 AM
One thing that nobody seems to mention is that only around 50% of the eligible voters (fraudulent or not) actually get off their butts or take time out of their day to vote in presidential elections. So when the fear of this group or that group deciding the election arises remember that only about half of their group will actually pull a lever. More than half of all eligible (I didn’t say registered) voters in this country have never voted in their life nor will they start this time. Voter apathy is the only thing predictive in this upcoming election. You can count on it(pun intended).

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mike harris 01/18/2012 09:27 AM
Obama knows that the ‘ignorant’ vote gets Presidents elected. Thus the important thing is not to be suspected of any sexual shenanigans, to look as if you are a good family man, and to maintain an excellent TV profile. Above all though, keep your teeth clean and shiny, don’t smile showing a piece of lettuce etc., between your teeth. Your choppers can be a decisive factor. Obama knows very few people care about real issues,or even notice them. That’s why Herman Cain was a potential winner, negating racist guilt and frightening the Dems to death. Those (still unproved ) allegations have stopped his wagon. The only way to beat Obama, alas, is to play the same game-pick a candidate as you would a representative sports or film star, even if he is ignorant. In fact it’s probably an advantage. If you don’t believe my cynicism then try this… find a person who you think is an average Joe. Point out to him Obama’s ignorance- ‘corpse-gate’, Hawaii in Asia, and the ‘Austrian ‘ language.”etc., Watch the look of unconcern,boredom, or even lack of understanding on  his/her face. People don’t care about things like that, ie-serious, real things.Get the Hollywood make-over folks in, and simply choose your best-looking candidate. NOTHING else matters, even a tiny bit.
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er 01/18/2012 09:20 AM
Mr. Zeigler’s cleverly disguised comments remind me of the overriding fear guiding many sincere constitutional conservatives.  That is, “Liberals are so all powerful, and Americans are so ignorant, that our only hope for the future of America, is to vote for a Liberal like Romney, because he is not as destructive as Obama”  Even Ann Coulter panicked before even ONE vote was cast this Primary season.  Mr. Zeigler has even appointed himself the official proclaimer of who is a real conservative;  and since he concludes almost no one is, except maybe himself.  Then what possible chance do we have against the Obama PR machine, including the invincible SNL!

I think Palin has the wise instincts here.  She just urged So. Carolina voters to vote Gingrich in order to stop the McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Feingold , McCain-Romney, reach- across -the -aisle branch of accomodationists.  You remember, the ones that gave us No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, TARP, Amnesty X 2, etc.  I do not fear debate on the Right, nor do I think that two puny states and over eight years of fundraising should anoint any Republican candidate.  McCain destroyed any chance of beating Obama in 2008 with this defensive attitude.  He turned Tea Partier for five minutes to get re-elected in Arizona, and now whistles happily working with his “colleagues across the aisle”.  Romney’s stripes indicated he will in the same way quickly lose his “conservative” coating as he Zeigler’s his way through the disapproval he will face in the National Election against the Chicago Attack Machine, and the FEARED SNL

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Mr. Zeigler’s cleverly disguised comments remind me of the overriding fear guiding many sincere constitutional conservatives.  That is, “Liberals are so all powerful, and Americans are so ignorant, that our only hope for the future of America, is to vote for a Liberal like Romney, because he is not as destructive as Obama”  Even Ann Coulter panicked before even ONE vote was cast this Primary season.  Mr. Zeigler has even appointed himself the official proclaimer of who is a real conservative;  and since he concludes almost no one is, except maybe himself.  Then what possible chance do we have against the Obama PR machine, including the invincible SNL!

I think Palin has the wise instincts here.  She just urged So. Carolina voters to vote Gingrich in order to stop the McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Feingold , McCain-Romney, reach- across -the -aisle branch of accomodationists.  You remember, the ones that gave us No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, TARP, Amnesty X 2, etc.  I do not fear debate on the Right, nor do I think that two puny states and over eight years of fundraising should anoint any Republican candidate.  McCain destroyed any chance of beating Obama in 2008 with this defensive attitude.  He turned Tea Partier for five minutes to get re-elected in Arizona, and now whistles happily working with his “colleagues across the aisle”.  Romney’s stripes indicated he will in the same way quickly lose his “conservative” coating as he Zeigler’s his way through the disapproval he will face in the National Election against the Chicago Attack Machine, and the FEARED SNL.

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PattyMor 01/18/2012 08:13 AM
Well you are probably correct in that several of those in the “analysis” business have agendas all their own and not the stated ones.  But Newt Gingrich is the only one with the guts to fling the dirt right back on The ONE with his nose up in the air.  He certainly isn’t perfect, but he doesn’t have the radical associations that Obama has.  And the establishment doesn’t want him.  Why, because they don’t want things to change.

roadmaster 01/18/2012 07:27 AM
The best looking guy wins.  It’s as simple as that.  Fat/skinny, cranky old guys like Newt or Paul?  Not a chance, no matter how smart they may be. The American electorate collectively is dumber than it’s ever been.  Really, really DUMB!  The only chance we have is to preach and teach conservative principles, with the scant hope we can educate a few ignoramuses to quit voting against their best interest.  That’s how Reagan did it and Newt is the only one who could do it now, BUT there is the fat, cranky, old guy thing.

Romney is just the latest, slick, oily politico pushed on us by NE elites and who the Obamanoids have been drooling for because he’s such an easy target.  There is a reason why he hasn’t gotten much scrutiny – the Down Stream Media and dhimmicrats are holding their fire so as to insure he gets the nomination.  Then we’ll find out how nutty his religion is, how much money he’s worth, how liberal he actually is and on and on.  If they can go after a Downs child without mercy, think what they’ll do to their most hated enemy, a weepubican trying to get their main man fired!
Look forward to the dirtiest campaign ever, and the dullards in the middle will eat it up as if it’s just another episode of Survivor, The Bachelor, Wife Swap, Wipe Out, X Factor or Ameruhcun Idol.
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George+S 01/18/2012 04:58 AM
You must have spent hours interviewing yourself for this article. While midterm and presidential elections are different, midterms are the boring ones. Not so with the 2010 elections; did you not notice something different? When was the last time every day Americans got so scared  they actually went to their representative’s town hall meetings while ObamaCare was debated? When was the last time people were interested in debt ceiling debates? Why does Obama play to more empty seats than people? Why are college students all of a sudden laughing at him (remember when kids sang songs about him)? Why did he write off the white middle class vote (THE biggest factor in this election). Can you drive for more than a mile without seeing shut down stores? 15 million are unemployed (but can still vote). Don’t look now but gasoline prices are back in the mid threes — never a good sign during an election. Do enough people still feel the need to prove they are not racists by voting for Obama this time around?

Ronald Reagan forever defined electoral success with one simple question: “Are you better off today than four years ago?” To that, let’s add: “Do you really want four more years of Obama?”
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gordiduk 01/18/2012 04:41 AM
Hey Ziggy, you only have one vote. So does everyone else. That’s how it works. Your spin on things is no different than the people you are criticizing. It’s just an opinion. Sometimes presidential election results are unpredictable. Let’s wait and see.

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