Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Why Americans Trust Republicans

Over at Andrew's blog, Ross Douthat makes a point about Bush's wiretapping that prominent Democrats should think long and hard about:
[It is] almost always better to be tagged as "the party that might go too far" than as "the party that won't go far enough" - which is how the Democrats are perceived these days. This explains why the GOP can weather controversy after controversy, from Iran-Contra down through Iraq War intelligence and the secret prisons and CIA waterboarding, and still hang on to the public trust on foreign affairs - because in each case, they're perceived as having gone too far with good intentions, 24-style, and in an arena that most Americans perceive as being slightly outside the law anyway.
White Americans in the "heartland" vote Republican because it is the "patriotic" thing to do. A little torturing here and some illegal wiretapping there is only going to make them respect Bush and Cheney even more. "Making the world a better place" is just not a vote-winner in today's America.


Anonymous said...

I don't think you understand the American heartland. (That's fine, I don't understand Scandanavia). People don't vote here on the basis of who is "patriotic", when it comes to foreign affairs. They vote on who will protect America and Americans, and they do not care what Scandanavians (or Canadians or anybody else) think of them. The folks in the secret prisons, for the most part, are people who would do harm to this country and who are not citizens of the USA. The average American believes if they weren't in a secret prison, they'd likely be in the US plotting the next 9-11. And they don't believe that they are about to go to a secret prison.

This may be moral blindness. It's also kind of foolish, when you consider the consequences of being considered a rogue nation on our ability to accomplish our foreign policy. But it is the attitude of your average Red`State denizen.

(I live in Atlanta, and grew up in Ohio. My eartland credentials are pretty good.)

Appalled Moderate

Mads said...

AP - isn't "they vote on who will protect America and Americans" at least somewhat similar to "they are patriotic"?

Regardless, I take your point and I agree with your assessment of the attitudes of the average red-stater. There seems to be a good number of them over on Greg's blog.

Anonymous said...

Patriotism is: "My country, right or wrong".

Safety/security is a different thing altogether. Patriotism is joining the army to serve my country. Security is voting for a larger military budget so I can bribe more people into joining the army.