Thursday, October 28, 2004

IGNORANCE IS BLISS

I'm sure the afterglow of the Sox victory will linger on for a bit but next Tuesday pulls us back to reality (unless there's some kind of Massachusetts magic that Kerry can feed off of).

The Program on International Policy Attitidues at the Univ. of Maryland released a study last week which states some of the following:

  • Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%).

  • Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.

  • 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission.
Mind you, this is all in direct contradiction to every bit of official evidence that has been collected and reported: including from within the Bush administration. Iraq did not, as we know very well now, have any WMDs. Nor did Iraq have a substantial relationship to Al Qaeda. But the mere fact that the Bush Administration insists on both claims - despite flying in the face of all the evidence that suggests otherwise - seems to be enough for most Bush supporters.

I've always joked about how stupid the American electorate was but it's rather stunning to see how entrenched their ignorance is, to the point where they assume illusion = reality simply because the President says it is. For a long time, I wondered how it could vaguely be possible for Bush to be re-electable given how duplicitious, dishonest and just plain incompetent his adminstration has been at times. Now it all makes sense: the folks backing him apparently lack functional minds of their own. This isn't across the board completely: I'm sure there are intelligent people who can make the case for re-electing Bush without having to resort to false claims but this study clearly suggests a vast number in the public are still willing to buy into the misinformation of this administration.

Then again, if millions of teens can believe that Ashlee Simpson had to lip-synch on SNL because of an acid reflux problem then the GOP has their next generation of voters lined up quite nicely.