There’s an old saying ‘Don’t get too smug that you wind up being the smartest person in the room-In the end that won’t win you very many friends‘. In other words be wary of trying to make others feel or seem stupid. Be humble. Walk and talk WITH people. Don’t preach or talk AT them.
Thats a word of caution to those of us on the left leaning side of the room. Acting smug leads to us underestimating and alienating folks
It was hard not to think these thoughts when watching the Christine O’Donnell vs Chris Coons US Senate debate in Delaware that aired on CNN last night. Here O’Donnell was asked what recent Supreme Court decision has she disagreed with and she was stumped. O’Donnell couldn’t name one.
Now, a lot of my colleagues who are in the media or part of the pundit’s brigade took glee in her misstep. Many were quick to tweet about ‘how dumb she was’ and compared her to Sarah Palin who was similarly stumped when she was running for Vice President.Many are quick to say since she’s running for office she should know. ideally yes, I agree, but many look to see themselves in the folks they elect.
We saw this with George Bush and his ‘aaaw shucks lets have a beer’ mannerisms. Many accused an un-infiormed public of voting for President Obama without fully knowing what he was about other then skin color and our collective reaction to racial attacks directed at him.
If we believe what has been reported in the past we certainly know that many of the bills passed are not fully read by those in office. I caution folks who took glee in O’Donnell’s flub to slow down and not get too full of themselves. Her not knowing is not to far removed from the reality of the average ordinary person who works 9-5 and likes to think they stay fairly abreast of current events. Many folks look to see themselves in politicians and while O’Donnell is likely to lose in Delaware, what about other places?
We’re gleefully calling people dumb but may wind up losing all sorts of seats to ‘dumb’ Tea Party types. How is that happening if we’re so damn smart? Why is Harry Reid trailing in polls to one of those ‘dumb’ tea party types-Sharon Angle? Where’s all the smart people in the room ?I’ll await your answer.
To those who wanna sit back and smirk, I caution and challenge you to ask your neighbor or family member the same question. Heck ask yourself. What recent Supreme Court decisions over the past couple of years do you disagree with? Cite 3 without looking them up. I’ll wait.
Most folks are likely to cite the Supreme Court decision that came down earlier this year that allows corporations the right to pump unlimited funds into campaign ads. However, most including myself are likely to have to google to get the exact name and even then we better have some inkling because simply typing in ‘Supreme Court decisions’ wont get you very far.
Quick, is it People vs Citizens United? or the FEC vs Citizens United? Does anyone know who or what is Citizens United without looking it up?
Thank God for wikipedia. I’d venture to say that very few of us and that includes many folks in the media knew that Citizens United was a conservative non profit. Even fewer knew who Citizen United intended to attack, but was prohibited, which in turn prompted the lawsuit and the eventual Supreme Court’s landmark decision.
For those who don’t know, it was Hillary Clinton. You can brush up on the case here.. FEC vs Citizens United.
There are many who are in media or political junkies who are up on such things or at the very least have enough info on hand that they can start a reasonable search. A lot of folks simply would not know where to begin, even with the internet at their finger tips. For example, type in the term Supreme Court decision and see what you get.. If it’s on Google you get the following sites:
Try reading your way through those pages and come up with reasonable conclusions. The average Joe or Jane is probably gonna call it a wrap and move on. Maybe our esteemed media outlets should spend less time telling me about Lindsey Lohan going to jail or Courtney Cox breaking up and more about important decisions made by the nine justices on the Supreme Court.
Again only the smug, smartest kid in the room is gonna clown O’Donnell for not knowing Supreme Court decisions. Everyone else is going to see themselves in her especially after she noted she didn’t know.
In addition I think most folks watching probably appreciated the fact that she noted how Roe vs Wade wouldn’t make abortions illegal, but would leave it up to states to decide. A lot of folks did not know that.
Here’s a brief breakdown
NANCY KARIBJANIAN: What opinions, of late, that have come from our high court, do you most object to?
O’DONNELL: Oh, gosh. Um, give me a specific one. I’m sorry.
KARIBJANIAN: Actually, I can’t, because I need you to tell me which ones you object to.
O’DONNELL: Um, I’m very sorry, right off the top of my head, I know that there are a lot, but I’ll put it up on my website, I promise you.
WOLF BLITZER: We know that you disagree with Roe v. Wade.
O’DONNELL: Yeah, but she said a recent one.
BLITZER: That’s relatively recent.
O’DONNELL: She said “of late.” But yeah. Well, Roe v. Wade would not put the power — It’s not recent, it’s 30-something years old —
BLITZER: But since then, have there been any other Supreme Court decisions?
O’DONNELL: Well, let me say about Roe v. Wade — If that were overturned, would not make abortion illegal in the United States, it would put the power back to the states.
BLITZER: But besides that decision, anything else you disagree with?
O’DONNELL: Oh, there are several when it comes to pornography, when it comes to court decisions — not to Supreme Court, but federal court decisions to give terroristsMirandize rights. There are a lot of things I believe — This California decision to overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I believe there are a lot of federal judges legislating from the bench.
BLITZER: That wasn’t the Supreme Court. That was a lower —
You can peep the exchange below
O’DONNELL: That was a federal judge. That’s what I said. In California.
Now will last night’s stumble hurt Christine O’Donnell? Probably not. She was already hurt because of her infamous witchcraft remarks which were made known to us via HBO TV host Bill Maher who pulled out the 10 year old clips.
To the degree that’s made her the butt of jokes and has wiped away her shine and momentum is very different then her not knowing the most recent Supreme Court decisions. Trust me I was one of those folks that had a field day because of her remarks.
But I gotta be honest, I was riding that pony with the hopes it would gain traction and slow her roll. I don’t want Ms O’Donnell in the US senate. I disagree with her political Tea party inspired views. The witchcraft flub is fair game. She can explain it away as being youthful indiscretion the same way President Barack Obama explained away his use of cocaine or the way former President Bill Clinton explained away his marijuana puff or lack of a puff. (He said he didn’t inhale-yeah right Bill)
Lastly I cant say what’s what in Delaware but most folks outside its borders know Christine O’Donnell but most would be hard pressed to name her opponent Chris Coons without looking him up. Most of us would do so by googling her name and then reading whatever article popped up in hopes of seeing his name. While I can see folks not wanting O’Donnell in the senate what about her opponent? What’s he about? What’s his stance on issues? Is he progressive or another Ben Nelson/ Joe Liberman type? Has he excited voters so that we wanna vote for him or are folks riled up and wanna vote against O’Donnell? I’ll await your answers…
Something to Ponder