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Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter and the Racism of “What If”

Scott on October 31, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Last night, as I was reading over Jonathan Alter’s latest comedy commentary piece over at Newsweek, I was struck by something.  Mr. Alter believes that most of us who  don’t/won’t vote for Barack Obama are racist and probably stupid.

No joke.

The title of his clever little piece is “Why McCain Won.”  In it,  while saying that he believes Obama will win on election day, on the off-chance Obama loses he wants to be sure he can say that he anticipated the possibility of such a calamitous event and looked into his crystal ball to discern the causes.

And what are those causes, you may be asking?  As I said before, the causes are stupidity and racism -or- racism and stupidity -or- stupid racism -or- racist stupidity.

You know what I mean.

This is how he explains it all and pulls the argument out of his hat (kind of like Rocky and Bullwinkle, but not as clever) – L.I.V. (Low Information Voters)  It appears as though L.I.V. is the politically correct label that liberals give to those seemingly low IQ individuals who don’t agree with how liberals think and vote.  According to Alter, “low information voters” are

“the three fifths of the electorate that show up once every four years to vote for president but mostly hate politics.  These are the 75 million folks who didn’t vote in the primaries.  They don’t read newsmagazines or newspapers, don’t watch any cable news and don’t cast their ballots early.”

Alter goes further to explain that L.I.V’s change their candidate allegiances easily. In other words, they are fickle.  They bounce back and forth between candidates like a ping pong ball.  If McCain loses, it will be because a lot of fickle L.I.V.’s flip-flopped back and forth and finally ended up over on the Republican side of things.  In Jonathan Alter’s “what if McCain won” alternate universe, he explains

” in the last week, LIV’s swung back to the default choice:  John McCain.  Some had good reasons other than the color of Obama’s skin to desert him; many more did not.”

So according to Mr. Alter, if McCain wins and Obama loses, it will be because 3/5 of the voting public were ill-informed and most of those ill-informed voters made their final selection according to the skin color of the candidates.  In other words, L.I.V.’s don’t really know much so they just vote according to their DNA preferences.

(I am not even sure where Mr. Alter gets his “3/5 of the electorate” number. He never provides a source and expects the reader to take his word for it. I think he may have just pulled it out of a nonspecific orifice somewhere on his body…but below his waist.)

Funny that Jonathan Alter doesn’t acknowledge High Information Voters.  His underlying assumption is that anyone who is well-informed will vote for Obama. I guess those of us who are well-informed and who will not vote for Alter’s candidate don’t fit into his little scenario very neatly. Or perhaps the High Information Voters acronym (H.I.V.) was too awkward for him to deal with.

Anyway, it is nice to see that Mr. Alter’s crystal ball was able to discern the truth of events before they happen.  I wonder if he could do the same thing for the next Academy Awards.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go pull my white sheet and hood out of the back of the closet and take them to the cleaners.  I want my dress clothes to be nice and clean and neatly pressed for election day.

Addendum by John: Yeah, this stuff irritates me too. Alter doesn’t bother to note that Obama has won every poll based on “Who you’d rather have a beer with?” including one that was “Who would you rather date?” He’s also racked up every possible Hollywood endorsement. He is clearly the feel-good choice. For goodness sake, this is the candidate endorsed by Oprah! And many, many of his supporters do not strike me as all that familiar with his policies. Low information voters indeed!

Also, you can add this to Joe Klein’s piece claiming Republicans are racist for time. It’s a news-mag theme this year.

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