How short is the memory of the American People? How ephemeral is their focus and attention?
Do you remember where you were when Kennedy was shot? How about when the Iran hostage crisis occurred? The opening of the Berlin Wall? If you’re of voting age, there’s no doubt you remember the events of September 11, 2001.
It’s equally certain that you remember the bank collapse of 2008 and the Great Recession that followed. Americans seem to have vault-safe memory of those events that are etched into our collective consciousness, but somehow when it comes to remembering the facts leading up to those events, that steel vault is all too often turned into a plastic sieve.
The 2010 midterm election is happening right now and virtually all polls indicate that the American people will return control of at least one chamber of the Congress to the Republican Party. Much of this is anti-incumbent hostility stemming from a bad economy, but that’s certainly not the whole story. The most recent Gallup poll on the question of whether voters believe the country would be better off with Democratic or Republican control of the Congress shows a clear plurality, 45% compared to 23%, backing the Republicans.
Those people who dig beneath the hyperbole and spin, those who actually check facts are likely to shake their heads in bewildered disbelief at the writing now on the wall. They may still be in denial, as so many in Washington still appear to be, or they may have resigned themselves to the expected outcome of the election. But regardless of their reaction, knowledgeable voters must all be stupefied at the amazing capacity of the American people to be manipulated and used by those willing to play on their fears and ignorance.
President Obama is fond of using the “drove the economy into a ditch” metaphor to describe the Republican-created mess that he inherited. He asserts that they “can’t have the keys back, because [they] don’t know how to drive.” The Republicans naturally respond that the President needs to stand on his record and stop trying to blame his predecessor.Continued on the next page