Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama Supporters Will Not Defend Views

As we are exactly one week away from Obama being sworn in as President, I have something I need to say: Obama supporters simply will not defend or explain their views.

Throughout the election season, I would challenge anyone willing to listen (and some who were not) to take a long hard look at what they believe politically. Some people are simply apathetic, but that was not the problem this election cycle. The problem was a huge number of individuals who simply latched on to Obama without making that decision critically.

I'm going to generalize (a lot) here, but this is what I have found:

When I question people who support Obama, the conversation goes one of two ways:

1) Immediately attack of Bush and Republicans. Once I told them that I was not voting Republican, nor did I agree with a number of things the majority of Republicans did when they had power, they went quiet. "Really? Who are you voting for then?" Which, as you can expect, diverted the attention from why they are supporting Obama to why Ron Paul's the man.

2) An attack on me! Apparently for questioning their political views. I don't care if someone says they don't have the answers or they are not informed enough, but when someone supports something, surely there is a rational thought process that was involved? And if not, you should not be embarrased to admit it. But it was pretty amazing when I start going on about why I believe Obama's policies are 'bad' and immediately I get the "I don't have to defend my views to you" and "It's none of your business" and whatnot. What?

My friend Matt Chesla sent me a clip from the Howard Stern show a few months ago where they went out and asked Obama supporters what it was that they liked about Obama's policy. They would say stuff such as "do you like Obama's policy of finishing the war in Iraq or his pro-life stance?" To which the responder would choose one. Each time neither of the views would be those that Obama has, yet sure enough the responder has no idea.

I have waited a while to write this post because I would rather defend the views I have than attack others. But actually what I am trying to say is that I rarely find an Obama supporter who will defend their views and explain why that view is better than a Conservative or libertarian view, or why it would work better. Of course each time they simply attack policies of the past eight years.

Now, I'm sure there are many Obama supporters out there who do not fit my generalization - I have yet to meet them. Perhaps I find too much enjoyment in debating an issue that I think is right, but it would be great to talk to Obama supporters who will defend his views (and not just attack, attack, attack).


jpberthiaume said...

What I have found, Dave, is that they are unable to really argue their points. I don't think that it's that they are unwilling, but unable. When pushed, they decide to make the argument about something else (ie. Bush, you, etc.).

It's really hard to argue from the standpoint of relativism. There are absolutes in this world, and the more complicated an answer or a viewpoint gets, the worse that viewpoint typically is as the tougher it is to explain. It's really hard to defend poor viewpoints.

DC said...


I think it is so interesting with me because I would state that I don't plan on voting for McCain, and then it's like "Shoot, what do I say?" because a lot of the argument is simply against the Republicans and the GOP. That is why I am still waiting for someone to make an argument in favor of Obama. You can't say to me that the Republicans have done a horrible job, because I won't defend them (for the most part I would say). I also can articulate some decent arguments against any support of Obama's policies.

One thing I used to like to say to people was "what change?" when they said they voted for change. Also I would say sometimes, "I voted for change too." I'm pretty sure everyone voted for change in one form or another. "What change?" should not be an offensive question. If you voted for change, you should probably be aware of what change it was.

jpberthiaume said...

Well, I read an article (and think I blogged about it if you do a search) about a woman who was asked who should would vote for if Jesus returned as a Republican and the Devil as a Democrat and she said, "Well, I guess I'd have to vote for Satan, himself."

The reality was that any candidate was a "change" candidate in this case. Even if McCain *wanted* to be GWB, he's not GWB. I guess they voted for a larger degree of change, I don't know. But, the merits of it are still hidden -- I agree.

Bart said...

Great post! I've had similar experiences. I notice they get very fustrated when you compare Obama to Bush. Sometimes they refuse to recognize the similarities between the two and instead just focus on the differences. However, I think it is important to point out the similarities because this is often not a comparison they are forced to refute. Usually their argument is just Obama vs. Bush/McCain but when they have to defend things that both of the parties stand for against Ron Paul/libertarian ideas it becomes a whole new ballgame.

I can already see myself having these discussions with the people that will be serving in the Peace Corps with me. I have met some future volunteers online and from what I can tell every single one that I have met so far is an Obama supporter. I am excited about the chance to bring a different perspective to the organization but at the same time I am nervous about the discussions going in the directions you describe in your post. I think it is important when one introduces his or her views to someone who does not share them that one takes special care to not make it feel like an attack on the other person. I look at it instead as a chance to open up thier mind and expose them to an idea they may have never considered before. Hopefully that will lead them to do some research on their own.

Budsy Jean said...

The DNC/Obama campaign was brilliant! It appeared to me that, as the campaign began, Obama was never really pushed to detail his ideas/ideals due, in part, to the fact that no one seriously believed that he would become the Dem candidate. As the Dem field narrowed, Obama had already used the “Need for Change” slogan/philosophy so often that people simply attached to it and said, “Yeah, we need change.”, never questioning what that change might be and never pushing too hard on the policies that would facilitate that change. The blind attachment to the “Need for Change” simply continued as the campaign progressed. Once they were on the wave, they didn’t get off of it.

When I ask supporters of Obama why they voted for him, most of the answers that I get are attached to the “Need for Change” slogan/philosophy. After that, there are few details of what will facilitate that change. When something is repeated over and over again, coupled with a pleasing package of an attractive candidate and family, and the tide of enthusiasm of having the first African American become president, it is virtually impossible to beat.

I think that a similar thing happened when Jesse Ventura ran for governor in Minnesota. I voted for Jesse, but not because I blindly attached myself to his candidacy. Many people voted for him to ride that wave of change, not for his philosophical and political stands.

The DNC/Obama campaign was brilliant! Watch future campaigns be mirrored after it.

I don’t beat people up too much for their lack of knowledge for whom they vote. In my younger days, I used to be very “political”. I was even a member of the Young Republicans on campus at my college. That is, until I realized the control that the RNC and DNC have over the political system. That, and being exposed to other political philosophies. I wised up, I guess.

Many people do not take the political system seriously and surely don’t take their vote seriously. That is based on the low voting percentages in average elections. If they do vote, most people either vote via the wave of the most popular candidate, such as in this election (Obama’s “Need for Change” or Anti-Bush), or they vote straight line party, with little thought given to the individual candidates. Blind voting.

I’m more frightened of the Obama presidency now than I was when he became president. I just have a very bad feeling about it all. I’m STILL not sure that there is anything there except the “Need for Change” slogan. Of course, I hope and pray I’m wrong. Maybe he will lead our country to the Promised Land. I, for one, will not be holding my breath.

DC said...


I agree it is usually the more "popular" candidate that ends up winning.

You shouldn't be too frightened about the Obama Presidency. I can see the whole thing collapsing, it will just take a few years. The policies that they are going to implament are just not goin to be effective. Just using common sense and economics can tell you that. It's too bad what our country will become, though. We are not going to be as propserous as we once were because of the policies, and I do not expect Keynesian economics to fix anything.

The foreign policy won't be nearly the change he has promised. Just yesterday Biden assured the Iraqi Prime Minister we would not pull out of Iraq until we are sure that it will be stable. HUH??? That's what the GOP ran on! Oh well, I'm not surprised. Our global military empire will surely bankrupt us (not to mention all the other trillions of dollars of bailouts/stimulus's/etc.

It is going to be (and already is) a tough time for America. But trust me when I say this, there is a big movement among young people for libertarian principles. It will only grow, and I'm confident of that. The best part about it is people who catch on generally are not apathetic, and that's a GOOD thing.

Thanks for the comment!