published Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Robin Smith: Informed? Really?

Robin Smith
  • photo
    Robin Smith, former Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and congressional candidate.
    File Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Early voting is under way in Tennessee and other states. The ballot is not too crowded in most areas, with only a few state legislative races, congressional races and the top-of-the-ticket choice between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to consider.

With relatively few candidates from which to select, and the seemingly tremendously consequential nature of this year’s election, it begs the question: Just how informed is the average voter?

My mind was prompted by a “Saturday Night Live” spoof on a political ad acknowledging the “undecided voter” in the presidential election. A smartly dressed, skeptical-looking female opens the ad declaring that undecided voters are “not impressed by political spin or 30-second sound bites; before you get our votes, you’re gonna have to answer some questions”.

“Questions like”… and the camera cuts to other “undecided voters” ticking off a few:      

• “When is the election?”

• “What are the names of the two people running? And be specific!”

• “Who is the president right now? Is he or she running?”

You get the point.

Do undecided voters understand that the 7.8 percent September unemployment rate that was hailed as a success by the Obama administration is exactly the same as January 2009 when the president took office? 

Do undecided voters really appreciate that the size of our labor force is currently the same as it was in 1983? And that, according to a May 2012 Washington Post article, there are “about 3.7 job seekers for every available opening.”

While we’re having to manage our budget at home, saving where we can and often struggling to pay our bills, the federal government has burned through over 2 trillion tax dollars annually AND borrowed in excess of $1 trillion more each year for the last four years, according to the 2012 “Economic Report of the President”?

Do undecided voters know that employers are now moving toward part-time versus full-time employees as the regulation, taxation and penalties of the “Affordable Care Act” or Obamacare burden their budgets more?

The answer to each question is, apparently, “No.” 

More of today’s voters look to the government as their daily provider, not an entity with limited powers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in 1980 and 1992, only “3 percent of America’s labor force drew disability benefits.” Yet, that rate is now 6 percent, with the number of workers on disability growing “twice as fast as private employment” in 2012.

The same WSJ piece notes that spending for the “federal government’s 120 means-tested programs” provides over $1 trillion in benefits and has “grown 21⁄2 times faster during the Obama presidency than any other comparable period in American history.”

Late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel tasked an actress to conduct woman-on-the-street interviews and ask folks about their opinion of the second presidential debate. The interviewees lauded Obama’s good performance and spoke in support of his economic plan. Sadly, the second debate was still four hours away. 

Please vote. It’s your right and civic duty. It’s also your right and civic duty to be informed. As two presidents wisely said:

• “A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user” — Theodore Roosevelt, and

• “If a nation expects to be ignorant — and free — in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be” — Thomas Jefferson

Robin Smith, a consultant at Rivers Edge Alliance, is a wife and mother living in Hixson. She served as chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 2007 to 2009.

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librul said...

TJ certainly had it right, Robin. And it is quite curious that you would use that quote since it is your party's propaganda machine over at Fox Noise that exists for the sole purpose of dumbing down the people and spouting falsehoods 24 hours of every freakin' day.

October 22, 2012 at 7:43 a.m.
conservative said...

At least half of the voters have just one issue for voting and that is they want government to give them checks or programs and it is the ONLY issue that matters.

This is why Owebama's ads constantly charge that Romney will cut or change Socialism Security, Medicare, deny the voter healthcare etc..

Written around 1835!!! What Wisdom!!!

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville

October 22, 2012 at 9:57 a.m.
timbo said...

librul.....I've got five words for you...CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, NBC....

That why your comments are stupid. Fox is biased to some degree but those others are just propaganda arms for liberals. Why don't you grow up.

October 22, 2012 at 12:12 p.m.
Leaf said...

So, timbo, ALL of those other media outlets are liberally biased and Fox is "biased to some degree" conservatively? Are you informed? Really?

October 22, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.
timbo said...

Ok, Fox is biased. I listen to all of them and the same news story is almost unrecognizable. Without Fox, the Benghazi stuff would have been swept under the rug. Conversely, CNN is making excuses for Candy Crowley and carrying Obama water on Libya.

MSNBC has Al Sharpton on a prime time show. Tahwana Brawley, give me a break.

Fox is just one standing alone, they admit that their commentary shows lean right but the other outlets delude themselves into thinking they are "fair." That is the difference.

October 22, 2012 at 2:35 p.m.
librul said...

Fox doesn't "lean right", it lies for the right. The examples are legion. Open your eyes. MSNBC exposes their lies by playing tape of actual events and recordings of their own words - only a right wing numbskull could not see through their gross prevarications.

October 22, 2012 at 6:51 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Like when Sarah Palin said the Stevens was sodomized before being killed? Did Fox ever retract that claim?

October 22, 2012 at 7:17 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

The conservatives who constantly whine about the "liberal" media need to reflect back on the run-up to the Iraq war. Not one major news channel was allowing so much as a whisper of dissent. If anyone was talking anti-war they got canned in a jiffy. Bill Press and Pat Buchanan co-hosted a show on MSNBC at the time and they both were talking against the war. Canned. Phil Donohue also had a show running on the same network and he was speaking out against going to war. Likewise...canned.

If the media were truly liberally biased war is an issue about which it would readily show its true colors. But war is a godsend for the corporate owned networks - and they ALL, with the exception of PBS, are corporate owned. The public sits at home in its armchair patriotism while the news hosts bring on military experts who talk about our sophisticated high-tech weoponry and speculate about detailed strategies in such a way as to sound convincing. Dissent is strongly discouraged, and in the case of the Iraq war specifically, where dissent should have been given its proper place, it was not allowed at all. But we are ruled by a military-industrial-corporatist complex and our media is its propaganda machine.

Liberal media, my ass. As Stephen Colbert jokingly said, "reality has a well known liberal bias." The right wingers are so paranoid and myopic they think reality itself is biased against them.

October 23, 2012 at 12:07 p.m.
tipper said...

All of the media, the spin, the debates, the TV ads are now aimed at only 6% of likely undecided voters. And my guess is that percentage will probably split 50-50. Most everyone who intends to vote, know for whom they are voting. The choice between the two candidates and their philosophies and ideologies couldn't be more clear or sharper defined. Robin Smith's column on what undecideds need to know is just another talking head choosing one side. She wasting yours and my time. If I were really that undecided at this point, I'd likely stay home Novemebr 6. Vote your choices and we'll count them up sometime I hope a day or two after the election.

October 23, 2012 at 5:29 p.m.
compspeed said...

Conservative, check your sources. Alexis de Tocqueville never said it. Of course, like any many "feel good" quotes it always helps to try to attribute them to someone who has or had some standing. This is from an op-ed piece from 1951 from an Oklahoma newspaper under the by-line of an Elmer Peterson. Not the first time I've seen this quote attributed incorrectly. Don't think Elmer carries as much weight as Alexis de Tocqueville.

October 24, 2012 at 10:08 a.m.
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