Voters Want Simplicity

Another Post gem from Shankar Vedantam:

In an unusual study analyzing State of the Union addresses like the one President Bush will give tonight, psychologists found a curious pattern in the speeches delivered by 41 U.S. presidents. … The study found that in the first three years after a new president takes office, his speeches displayed higher levels of complexity compared with addresses in the fourth year in office. In the first three speeches, presidents were more likely to acknowledge other points of view, potential pitfalls and unintended consequences. In the fourth year, however — as they were about to run for reelection — the complexity of their speeches plunged. 

Not only that, but American presidents who showed a sharper decline in complexity were more likely to be reelected than those who continued to acknowledge that the challenges facing the nation were complex. …  So the next time you hear presidential candidates say simplistic things that people want to hear, remember that they are merely responding rationally to the incentives that voters give them. The disturbing question is not why politicians pander, but why pandering works — and for that we need to look in the mirror.

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  • http://exoptica.typepad.com/blogoptica/2008/01/politics-sex-di.html R H Nigl

    Politics, Sex, Dildos — A Breakfast Dialogue
    RHN: I am fairly certain, recognizing the profound and beautiful nature of sexuality, that ages ago, humankind did ‘it’ mostly like we do.

    Oog: “Bend over, woman, submit to me, I am man!”

    Of course, there was no ‘missionary’ position back then — there were no missionaries.

    Ms Oog: “Yeah, right. (If I wasn’t so horny, I’d club the jerk).”

    So, she, woman, on hands and knees positions herself, and he, man –semi-mindless, controlled 99% by hormones, empties himself within seconds, then heads out to meet with his fellow ‘seducers’ around the pulled-Mastodon barbecue fire pit, where all present, after adequate rounds of grog, and serious bragging about their ‘sexual prowess‘, fall quickly asleep, snoring loudly.

    And yet another Cro-Magnon is being genetically assembled in the womb, no doubt, evolving into ‘modern man’.

    Without the presence of the men, the women simply take care of the family.

    Dildos had not been invented, yet.

    GHD: Now wait a minute, RH, societies are way more complex than that.

    RHN: How so?

    GHD: Let’s go back, say, around 8,000 years, BCE, to Mesolithic Ireland, (now called … Ireland), to a small community of about 150 people living on the banks of a winding, icy cold, glacier melt, river, which, obviously due to global warming, no longer exists. This hardy pre-Celtic tribe called themselves the ‘Uppadownafoots’ (roughly translated from rock inscriptions). Today, this group is known to professional anthropologists, worldwide, as the ‘River Dance People’, (okay, okay, I’m taking a few liberties here).

    Anyhow, the women of this extraordinary tribe were extremely beautiful: jet black hair, wide-set big blue eyes, long black eyelashes, pouty lips, ample (in fact, more than ample) breasts, long legs, fair, flawless skin –like peaches and cream, and, the in-bred desire to raise large families. The men of the tribe, to a man, had flaming red hair, and freckles all over, but were otherwise, really, really, well endowed. They also had, ‘attitude’.

    When the men were out hunting, (scavenging the remains of animal kills and fighting other ‘hunting‘ males for the spoils), the women of the tribe were left to their own means. This, is where the dildo comes in, (no pun here).

    RHN: Yeah, right.

    GHD: No, really. Check this out: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alun/29080210/

    And, so, women got the upper hand, so to speak.

    Men were really not needed for the sexual act anymore, only for their genetic material — even back then, women suspected there was a connection between becoming pregnant, self gratification, and sex. But this concept was only a side issue. As for the men? They, had no clue. In reality, however, this was the beginning of politics.

    RHN: I suppose men then started to ‘buy’ women’s votes with promises of bigger and better dildos? GH, you’re full of it.

    GHD: Well, I don’t know about that scenario, but you, have to admit, both men and women today are whipped into a lather by the ‘appearance’ of a candidate, we call it ‘charisma’.

    RHN: True, nobody really votes for ‘values’ or ‘ideals’ anymore, maybe, never did. But, I think your analogy between self-gratification and the political process is a stretch. Well, time will tell. As for me? I’m voting for Kucinich.

    GHD: Pass the butter, Henry.