How do they live with the cognitive dissonance?

Our local town council elections are coming soon.  The candidate statements in the Voter Information Pamphlet are so generic as to be meaningless, so I did what I always do:  I went out on the internet, looking for information.  I discovered that one of the candidates donated to Barack Obama.  With that in hand as the only information I had on her, I crossed her off my list.  I don’t need a big government person sitting on the Council of my small, somewhat indebted town.

Today, though, I had the opportunity to talk to the gal and I discovered that she’s a fiscal conservative.  I can vote for her in good conscience.  That’s great for my town, because I think she’ll win a place on the council.

What troubles me, though, is how in the world sensible people can square their core values (fiscal conservativism, equality of opportunity, etc.), with being liberals?  Only cognitive dissonance could allow a bright fiscal conservative to place her hopes in Obama, the man who is going to rewrite the whole definition of Big Government when it comes to America.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    Book, you may want to ask her about this.

    Many people voted for Obama because they were anti-Bush, without a clue about what Obama stood for. Many Liberals that I know are fiscally responsible themselves but don’t think through the implications of Liberalism on a national or international scale. Many independents supported Obama because they wanted a change and thought that Obama provided a fresh start.

    In that sense, I think the Obama administration is waking many of these people to the fact that ideas and actions do have consequences. I detect a lot of buyer’s remorse out there.

    On the other hand, if she does suffer serious cognitive dissonance, do you really want her involved in your local governance?

  • suek

    Or additionally, you might find that her research is really limited. I’ll guarantee you that if she is on your city council she’ll be presented with a need to vote on issues about which she has no expertise. When you have absolutely no expertise in a topic, you also lack the information to identify a person or company that can offer you accurate and unbiased information by which you can identify the issues that concern you. You have to do some research – how does she do hers?

    _Why_ did she donate to Obama’s campaign? I agree with Danny – especially in the early days of his campaign, there could have been good reason to consider him desirable – though why _not_ Hillary?

    If you have the opportunity to ask, and if it doesn’t seem to upset her too much, you might want to probe a bit…is she happy with him now? what factors determined her decision? was it a job linked thing? (that would bother me – the need to run with the crowd)

    You might learn all sorts of interesting stuff about her! But fiscal conservative is a good start – if she means it. That could be your intro to asking about her rationale for donating to his campaign, maybe. Did she end up voting for him?

  • Ariel

    I have to agree with Danny here. There can be so many reasons, that in her mind their totality swamped her inclination to fiscal conservatism. However, if it is a clear case of cognitive dissonance, you still may want to strike her name.

    Interesting that you included “equality of opportunity” in your list, as that is what all statist liberals think they are doing, providing equal opportunity to those who haven’t had it before. The truth however is something different…

    Even though I have a visceral reaction to McCain that has kept me from voting for him in the past, this last election there was no choice but to draw the arrow towards his name. I would have preferred Romney, but that wasn’t the choice.

  • Bookworm

    Statists always confuse equality of opportunity with equality of outcome. I believe in the former, but vigorously resist the latter.

    As for the cognitive dissonance disqualifying her, I suspect, having talked to her, that she’s simply what I was before I crossed the conservative Rubicon: a kneejerk liberal. Of course, ultimately I couldn’t live with that, and I changed my political tune so that my politics matched reality.

  • Gringo

    IIRC, one of the multitudinous talking points of the anti-Bush campaign was that the deficit had ballooned under Dubya, and that ∅bama would set that straight, among other things. After all, he will do all that Dubya didn’t do. So a fiscal conservative could have been fooled with a superficial examination of ∅bama.

    He was the anti-Dubya, and voting for him would prove that racial healing had taken place: what’s not to like? That sentence sums up the reasons for voting for ∅bama for a substantial proportion of the population.

  • Ymarsakar

    Bush wanted a line item veto. He wouldn’t veto bills and funds for the troops, which Congress would put in, just to eliminate the pork.

    The deficit was being cut in half in the years after 9/11, but before the Democrat congress came into power. When that congress came into power, the deficit started growing again.

    So by electing Democrats more into power, you had to have been a tool, dumb, or an ignorant willingly fool to believe that the deficit would go down, Obama or no Obama.

  • Charles

    She donated money to Obama. That’s very different from voting for the guy because one doesn’t like the other choices. I don’t donate money to politicians anyway so I am a bit biased here; But, I think those who give money to politicians are looking for return favors or they really believe in the candidate. Donating is not a “passive” action.

    I would be very sceptical of what she says now – is she really a fiscal conservative? Or has she just realized that that is what voters are looking for now? So, she is going to use those words, ideas, or whatever, to get elected and then do what she really believes in?

    The reason for my scepticism is that I just received in the mail the Democratic brochure for Freeholders here in New Jersey. Everyone of them is talking about “fiscally responsibility” or something along those lines. Something that NJ Democrats have seldom, if ever, mentioned before. It seems to me that they have completed their latest political surveys and realized that fiscal responsibility is now the current “buzzword” to help them get elected. I don’t see it as a core value that they believe in as their history doesn’t support it as being a core value for them.

    Just as in buying a used car it is best to check an independent source for the car’s history rather than believe anything the salesman tells you. I think your first reaction to cross her off your list may be the “right” one. (pun intended). You checked her history and that says more about her future actions than anything she is inclined to say now.

  • Ariel

    Statists always confuse equality of opportunity with equality of outcome. I believe in the former, but vigorously resist the latter.

    Absolutely. If you have the feeling, having talked to her, that she is a kneejerk liberal (we are talking Bay Area here) then she likely is. So, can a fiscally conservative but kneejerk liberal give you good local representation? (I’m not sure if that’s rhetorical or not.)

  • Ymarsakar

    How do they live with such cognitive difficulties, Book?

    Why, they do so by killing off a few mary jo kopechnes every once in a while. william Smith Kennedy when he gets antsy, can rape any woman he brings to his family retreat.

    Democrats love film directors that rape children

    It’s all a way to relieve the stress of being what they are. So long as there are people to fuel their urges and sadism, they will be happy.

    They live with such cognitive difficulties quite well, BOok. Quite well.

  • Ymarsakar

    The fictional account that O’Keefe was said to have given to ACORN, is only fiction if you don’t replace O’Keefe and HG’s names with Barney Frank and his mistress (male) that was running a prostitution ring out of his property, rented or not.

  • Earl

    If I’m remembering my college psych class, “cognitive dissonance” requires that you are cognizant of two contradictory ideas that you hold at the same time…….if you’re oblivious of the contradiction, or you are suppressing your recognition of the contradiction, then you are not experiencing “cognitive dissonance”.

    BW, you switched from your “knee-jerk liberalism” when you became aware of the contradiction — the cognitive dissonance you experienced forced you to resolve the conflict and make things straight.

    I don’t think your prospective town council-person suffers from cognitive dissonance at all — she sounds oblivious to me. And I think it is HIGHLY significant that she actually took her own money and sent it to a politician who clearly did NOT share her fiscal conservatism.

    I would in NO WAY vote for this person — she’s a politician who says and believes contradictory things and doesn’t seem to recognize the contradiction.

  • suek

    >>she’s a politician who says and believes contradictory things>>

    Well…maybe. Book doesn’t know that. She may have just had the wool pulled over her eyes. It’s possible. Not necessarily true, but possible. I think I’d want to know if she finally decided to vote for him, and what she thinks of him now…

  • Earl

    suek: You’re correct — “she may have just had the wool pulled over her eyes”, and if that’s so, she is not suffering cognitive dissonance. But, can you explain to me how someone who is “fiscally conservative” could not see BO’s record in the Senate? I think that sending his campaign her money, when that Senate record was widely available, indicates someone who was completely clueless, or is now lying about her fiscal tendencies…..

    In either case, she can’t have my vote.

  • Bookworm

    Sadly, Earl, in my neck of the woods, she’s the second best candidate there is. One of the other candidates is ethically challenged (and I have first hand knowledge of this), the other is incapable of functioning in groups, and the last is a highly functional Republican for whom I will cheerfully vote. And then I’ll fill out the box for this gal, to get the ethically challenged person off the Council.

  • Earl

    Well, sometimes you hold your nose, say a prayer, and do your best.

    I’ve always had the luxury of living in states where it didn’t matter which way I voted – California, and now Tennessee. So, I was able to vote my conscience and to send a message – Libertarian since 1976.

    And I’m headed to Oregon, where it’s going to be the same – except in local elections, so I better start paying more attention to those.


    Ariel — another Romney supporter (not ecstatically so, but as the best of the lot). Almost every other Romney supporter I know of is LDS (I’m not), but he seems to have done the best he could with the hand he was dealt.

    Bookworm, like you, I also do not insist upon ideological purity at the ballot box: you choose the best you’ve got available, and then work for improvement.

    I’d like to offer up a perspective. Political encounters are not good places to get a candidate to reexamine his or her biases and beliefs. If not self-initiated, it has to come from someone who already has a realationship. At least, in most cases.

    Let us know what happens!

  • Al

    I can’t help but think that anyone who donated to Obama’s campaign is not only intellectually challenged, but also ethically challenged. Remember those votes in the Illinois Senate about babies surviving an abortion?
    Searching for ideological purity is close to self defeating, and one must consider the political landscape one is in, but I would not put this gal on my list.

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