When The Curtain Closes

by Roberto

There is one thing that political pollsters seem to agree on: a remarkable
number of American voters are liars.

That means, according to the pollsters, that voters will say they’re going
to vote one way but once they’ve pulled that metaphorical curtain closed
behind them, they may vote an entirely different ballot.
So far, this election cycle, I’ve heard this phenomenon discussed
exclusively in terms of what this might mean for Obama’s chances.  The
scenario goes as follows: Pollster X approaches Voter Y (either by phone,
or in person; either before Election Day or as part of an exit poll) and
asks who he/she voted for. If Voter Y is part of that ‘lying’ percentage,
then he/she will say they voted for Obama, when in fact they voted for
McCain (or Minnie Mouse, or Ralph Nader, or None Of The Above). The
reasons given for why voters like Y feel compelled to lie is that they
cannot bring themselves to overcome their gut racism but are either
ashamed to admit this or are afraid of being stigmatized as the
tunnel-vision cretins they are (pollsters don’t actually elaborate that
last part in the way I have).

An interesting subplot is that potential voters in both parties had no
qualms about baldly stating that they would never vote for a Mormon, in
such numbers in fact, that they clearly didn’t feel ashamed or afraid
regarding this particular prejudice. My personal feeling is that this
outburst of anti-Mormon honesty had more to do with people’s distaste for
Mitt Romney than with any actual animus towards the
talking-hat-and-magic-underpants mythology of Mormonism itself. No way to
prove it, of course, at least not until another Mormon (preferably from
the Udall clan) seeks office outside the traditional Utah-Nevada-New
Mexico stronghold.

So here’s my question: isn’t it possible that the phenomenon of the Lying
American Voter is a two-way street? That come Election Day, there will be
more than a handful of born-again evangelicals who won’t be able to bring
themselves to vote for the candidate who is gunning to end the
availability of legal abortions in their state? Even though they’ve taken
part in prayer meetings and bake sales to achieve exactly that end? But
this might be too easy a mark. Overtly, fervently religious voters have
pretty much discredited themselves with a long line of steady hypocrisies,
and so a little polling booth perjury would come as no great surprise.
So here’s another scenario: McCain and Palin seem to be figuring out that
they get good crowd reactions when they rant about cleaning up Washington
and exterminating corruption along the Potomac Tidal Basin. Never mind
that there has yet to be a politician who doesn’t promise to do exactly
this same undoable thing, let’s assume that the ethically-enlightened
engine really starts to pick up steam.  It doesn’t take more than a glance
through recent issues of the Wall Street Journal to figure out that the
people who should feel most threatened by this pork-hating, dust-busting
duo are overwhelmingly Republicans, grown fat at the public trough and not
inclined to join the moral equivalent of Weight Watchers anytime soon.
Faced with the prospect of being flushed from the All-You-Can-Eat buffets
of K Street, terrified at the idea of earning an honest wage, what will
these guys do when that curtain has closed behind them? Can they afford to
risk everything on a gamble that McCain-Palin were, after all, just
kidding? What would be the real harm if they were to help the Democrats
along for the next 4-8 years? Sure, Obama-Biden are big on ethics reform
as well, but given how both the economy and foreign policy are in an
absolutely horrendous clusterfuck shambles thanks to George Bush, won’t
they have their hands pretty full for awhile, restoring sane relations
with our allies, putting the unemployed back to work, beginning work on
the massive job of dealing with global warming? Maybe a few more years in
which these Republicans can pig out in the shadows? Maybe?

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