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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Shush, the Base is Listening

The mainstream media's manic attempt to plumb the depths of the collective mind of conservative voters, which in fact amounts to a disguised quest to discourage those voters from going to the polls in November, is starting to remind me of those hilarious high-speed chase scenes from the old Benny Hill Show. At the end of each episode the posse pursuing Hill became longer and longer in a feverish sequence set to unforgettably cornball "Yakety Sax" music. The Foley affair stands in perfectly for Hill's trademark innuendo-laced humor — although it's fair to note that the continuing revelations about Foley's depravity leave precious little to the imagination. Which of course is precisely the aim of the disclosures: to unleash a flood of lurid details that will convince the GOP base — especially the so-called values voters — that Hastert and Company have betrayed the cause; better to punish the Republican congress by staying away from the polls than to vote for them one more time and thereby encourage future laxness on core values issues. The key question driving the debate: Will the Foley fiasco further depress the conservative base? Two weeks ago the same question was being asked about Iraq; two months ago it was the failure to secure the border that would keep conservatives from voting; a year ago "runaway congressional spending" was the thematic elbow to the ribs of the base. Starting to sound like a broken record? Well, sure; that's the point of advertising. But sometimes repetitive advertising backfires, and I think that's likely to be the unintended consequence of the left's hardy fforts to herd conservative voters away from the polls on Nov. 7. The liberal media and Democrat operatives are banking on what strikes me as a stunning lack of sophistication on the part of these voters, which no doubt reflects these elites' view that conservatives are basically neanderthals whose primitive cognitive capacities keep them from tasks beyond immediate sensory perception. Don't get me wrong — I'm not saying the conservative base is destined to turn out in droves to keep the GOP in congressional power. I do believe it's possible that many conservative voters might be sufficiently turned off by the GOP as to stay away from the polls, which, combined with a large Democrat voter turnout, could result in Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid. But I doubt it — and here's why. The very voters whose Nov. 7 intentions are at question are listening to and watching the ongoing debate about what they will do. Information Theory 101: When a given population overhears a conversation about what is expected of that population, this creates a new and potentially decisive vector that must be taken into consideration in any attempt to predict future actions. Example: When anthropologist Margaret Mead came to Samoa to study the natives she thought far less sophisticated than she, the natives cooperated by describing their norms, their folkways and practices. Mead wrote it all down, only later to discover that the natives had strung her along with lies that conformed to Mead's assumptions about how Somoans "really are." Analogy: If in fact GOP voters are tracking current political developments in the way the liberal media and Democrat strategists are hoping, these voters by definition must also be tracking the plethora of speculation about what it will take to keep them from voting. I'm guessing that if a lot of these voters are sufficiently sophisticated (read: smart enough) to vote "strategically" on Nov. 7 — as Pelosi, Carville, Soros, and Hugo Chavez all take for granted — well, it strikes me as nat least plausible that many of these voters might motivated by a certain desire to prove wrong the growing left-liberal orthodox view that so confidantly predicts these voters will turn on the GOP. Wouldn't it be funny if the increasingly ham-handed efforts to discourage the conservative base, turn out to have the opposite effect? Maybe the Foley revelations, and the way the revelations are being spun by left-liberals, are a blessing in disguise for the GOP. Pelosi's betting that core conservative voters will stay home because they're tired of getting punked by wayward congressional leaders. I'm suggesting that a lot of those voters will go to the polls and vote to keep the GOP in power because they're tired of getting punked by Pelosi et al. I am further suggesting that such strategically minded core conservative voters can probably find compelling ways to make it very clear to a very grateful GOP-dominated congress that conservatives expect their issues to be taken very seriously in 2007. "Meta-punking." The word doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but you heard it here first.