02 October 2008

Bailout Fallout for Independents

Here's a survey of surveys tracking support for the leading independent presidential candidates based on opinion polls. It's strong evidence of cognitive dissonance, to put it very mildly. Opinion polls all seem to indicate that the bailout is extremely unpopular nationwide. It is well known that both Senator McCain and Senator Obama support the plan. It is admittedly less well known that most independent candidates, and all four recommended by Ron Paul (Baldwin, Barr, McKinney, Nader), oppose the plan. Still, it is a fact that isn't difficult to learn, and in spite of it even the strongest independents (Barr and Nader) can't get above 2% or 3% in most national polls. The news media could do more to call people's attention to the alternatives, but they have had Barr and Nader, at least, on television. But the candidates themselves have failed to exploit the "teachable" moment by getting their message out beyond the internet and little bits of talk radio or cable news. As I've written earlier, this is the ideal time to get on TV, get on radio, get in print with the message that there are presidential candidates who oppose the bailout. Either poverty or ineptitude is to blame for the fact that I see nearly nothing of the kind from the independents. Unless you want to speculate that the media won't run their advertising, I have to judge what I see (or don't) as a collective failure that throws the credibility of all the independents into question. Under current conditions, you have to get on television and you have to run commercials to let the passive mob know that you exist. I can imagine a day when that's not the rule, but that's not today. But let's also hold the masses accountable for their passivity and what has to be called a certain cynical complacency. Let's admit that the more likely result of the bailout controversy is that fewer people will vote rather than more voting for independents. I rarely agree with the conservative view of things, but this is one time when it's fair to say that silence equals consent and apathy equals acquiescence with the existing order, no matter how much they claim to despise it. If this crisis can't provoke a stampede of voters away from the Bipolarchy, then perhaps they are nothing but a domesticated herd after all, no matter how much they complain about it. They're like overgrown kids who gripe about parental restrictions when they're thirty years old and they haven't yet thought to move out of the house. They fear independence, or so I must conclude unless more of them prove me wrong.

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