Four years ago, in another election year, as in this year, I found myself thoroughly disgusted with what passed for the conventional wisdom of the day. I posted this entry in July 2010. It was a long, hot summer that got even hotter as the weeks went by. I expect nothing less than that this year as well, but the conventional wisdom of the beltway media still seems off the mark to me.
Everywhere I turn these days, from radio, newspapers, television, to online news sources, (and not necessarily in that order) all the pundits are telling me that this election year is going to be a debacle for Democrats and they might even lose control of both the House and the Senate, and it's all because the electorate has gone off President Obama. They just don't like him anymore.
And on what do they base these opinions? Well, there are some polls that are not all that clear if you really look at them, but mostly what they base it on, from my perspective, is their conversations with each other. One of the "respected pundits" introduces this line of reasoning and Fox News picks up on it and expands and tweaks it to fit their agenda and they repeat it endlessly 24 hours a day. It feeds back into the loop of information that makes the rounds in Washington and, suddenly, all the pundits are talking about it and repeating it. It has become "conventional wisdom."
Is it true? Does that matter? It is conventional wisdom.
Well, I'm no pundit and I don't have the questionable advantage of being a part of the inbred Washington scene, but I just don't see it. Furthermore, I don't feel it.
Yes, people in the country are unhappy because the economy hasn't turned around as quickly as any of us would have hoped. A lot of people are unemployed and suffering. Even though it seems that a depression has been avoided by infusions of stimulus money from the government and thus things are not as bad as they might have been, is a person who has been looking for work for months likely to appreciate that? Perhaps not and perhaps one can't blame them.
But what about the rest of us? Are we really so stupid that we would jump from the frying pan back into the fire that was started by economic policies that ran the country into a ditch over the eight Bush years? The Washington pundits certainly think so. Conventional wisdom says so. My husband, that purveyor of conventional wisdom in my house, says that you can never go wrong underestimating the intelligence of the American voter.
They may all prove to be right. But it just doesn't feel like that kind of year to me and my instincts tell me that things may not be quite what they seem. Maybe I'm just hopelessly optimistic, but November is coming. We'll see.