Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I have heard that question before. When I was living in Sweden, I often heard (about Reagan) "how can Americans elect such a dimwit?". Some considered that it was an irrelevant mistake, an accident of history and that it wouldn't happen again. Well they didn't know about Dubya. And the most appalling is that a majority of Americans still consider him for having been a "good president"...  

This quote from G.Soros book "The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror" might be a part of the explanation :

The chapter "What is Wrong with America" could be considered by some to be harsh. Soros reaches the conclusion that the US has become a "feel good" society where citizens don't want to deal with difficult issues or complex questions.

He attributes this unwillingness to confront difficult issues to a political process driven by the principles of consumerism. It is this combination whereby people are coaxed into settling for simple answers to difficult questions. "It's almost as if people are clamoring to be deceived," he says. And, later: "The American public has shown a remarkable indifference to being deceived."

This is a key criticism because it focuses the responsibility for the distortion of truth on the public in their "begging to be deceived". Consider the following Soros quote (my bold type):

The entire construct of open society is based on the assumption that the truth matters. The ultimate truth is beyond our reach, but the closer we get to reality, the better. In dealing with nature, the truth is paramount. In human affairs, there is a shortcut to success. We can impose our will on other humans directly [without] going to the trouble of pursuing the truth.


To be fair I must say that Europeans can elect assholes and dimwits too. The latest I have in mind is Berlusconi. But it seems that the US takes the price anyway, or is it just a cultural aspect that differs ?. When I see the current debate in France and the speeches made by the duo Sego/Sarko, I must say that we are not very far from the Reagan level... But it seems that there is here a gag reflex somewhere. We can use Le Pen as a scarecrow, but we would never elect him as President. And if it by mistake happened, the country would probably fall immediately into civil unrest , with new elections as a result...

So why can a Dubya figure can be reelected ? Because there is no free access to "unbiased information" except maybe for the Internet...

 "The media merely [serve] the market," says Soros, but the role of a free and independent press is one of the cornerstones of US democracy. Like other cornerstones, it has been so badly eroded that the entire edifice is in jeopardy. Some of the other cornerstones of US democracy are free public education and libraries, and the division of powers among the three main branches of government.

And probably the worst problem of all is that the legislative branch that is supposed to keep the executive in check has been bought off. The legislators are completely co-opted by the Washington money and power game. Getting re-elected is what the vast majority live for."

by oldfrog on Tue Dec 26th, 2006 at 09:48:40 PM EST

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