Need To Know with Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger
Episode 3: The Idiot Vote

Guest: Author Harry Stein
Sep 29, 2012

This week on Need to Know, Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger welcome author Harry Stein to talk about his new book The Idiot Vote. They discuss the polls, the media, and the unsophisticated electorate.

Subscribe to this podcast via iTunes or other podcast software here. Need a direct link? Click here. You know you want to. 

  1. Indaba

    This is the most important podcast that will determine who wins the election.

    There was honesty on very difficult topics such as the media and race.

    I finally realized that there is this over fifty right winger who is so polite, they will not discuss right wing philosophy because it is too rude to do so.

    Mona mentioned writing an article on media bias and was told she would be branded racist. Yet, Mona already writes on women’s issues from a conservative view. Tough!

    Victor Hanson Davis, Dinesh D’Souza, Thomas Sowell, Mark Steyn do write on race and religion, and have paid a deep price to do so. They have shown people like me that it is not race or religion or sex, but what is decent and based on centuries of human development. It is about fighting fascism. A President who gets an Ambassador murdered and dragged through the streets and then goes to Vegas without being called on it by the media is very, very dangerous. Have you seen the videos of the Ambassador being carried, dead?  

    this level of media coddling and as Mona said, method of picking a leader, will not end well.  

  2. Indaba

    The very difficult topic of race revealed the Achilles heel of the conservatives, race and also gender. Gay too.

    No wonder the left has taken war on women as their cause, the conservatives are white guys who think if they play the ball, they will be taken as sexists. As a working woman, my conservative views would probably shock Jay who, if he saw me, may think that Hillary Clinton speaks for me. Not at all. See Mona? She speaks my conservative views. There are millions of women like Mona who are thrilled by her writing. We are too quiet.

    Play the ball, not the player.

    The Internet is doing what the right wing media should be doing. That video Mona mentioned of the Pakistani actress giving the Mullah a verbal lashing has been out for years. Why does the Sophia Loren look a like have to say what Pakistani people here in Toronto say? 

  3. Indaba

    Romney may suffer from this kid glove attitude to a black man, Obama. Mona mentioned this and it was brave to verbalize it because it made sense.

    Obama did not worry about hurting a woman though, in the cruellest way I ever saw, calling Hillary and her husband racist. Today, Bill speaks for Obama as he has realized no matter what, you WILL be called racist. Get over it. The under 50′s do not care about that label. It is like being called a plagiarizer. That would have failed my Master’s thesis 20 years ago. Now, not at all. A high profile journalist gets back his TV show, no biggie. 

    Paul Ryan is the new Republican. He speaks to Obama about policy, budget and the economy going off the cliff. He is putting principle before skin colour. Call him a racist and he will be back because the new generation knows this game. 

  4. Indaba

    Romney needs to get a black man as his debate sparring partner to get over any concern about racism. He needs to be able to say what the older conservative thinks is too rude to say. 

    It is racist not to do so. The media needs to be called on their bias iften. The Internet is doing that.

    The richest man in Canada is a black man, Michael Lee Chin, the richest person in Australia is a woman,  in London, it is the black Nigerians and Arabs in BMWs while white Brits are digging the  ditches. By the way, the US has a black President. We are in a post race world. But left media still goes on about slavery and dog whistles because they know this is a weak spot. 

    Romney must know he must attack his opponent at full strength. He knows to go for the knockout And having watched Romney, i am fully confident he has everything to punch the killer shot. There is a great post in the Member feed about Mohammed Ali’s fight beating Foreman and comparing Romney to Ali, who invented a new fighting method. Republicans need to use a new method too.

  5. Freesmith

    “Why can’t we pin it on them?” Jay Nordlinger asks plaintively, about Republicans being branded as racist for supporting voter ID laws. He believes, rightly, that the Democrat assumption that blacks are uniquely incapable of acquiring proper registration is the real racist premise.

    Well, Jay, we can. All we need is to have our leaders and opinion-makers – like you, Jay – call Democrats racists over and over again in public and never back down from the accusation. There’s certainly plenty of evidence to support such a charge.

    Democrats accuse Republicans of racist intentions freely, and never suffer any consequences from making those accusations, because Republicans accuse Democrats of being misguided, but of having good intentions.

    Democrats scapegoat conservatives for all social problems. Conservatives don’t believe in making scapegoats. 

    And Jay Nordlinger wonders why we are the ones hammered.

    They spit on us and Jay Nordlinger marvels at how well Democrats clear their throats.

  6. The Mugwump

    Let me get this straight.  The panel agrees that the press is totally in the tank for Obama, yet everyone accepts the polls (?).  Aren’t most polling organizations a part of some media outlet?  Oh, and thanks for cheering me up.  /sark off

  7. Red Feline
    Indaba: Romney needs to get a black man as his debate sparring partner to get over any concern about racism. He needs to be able to say what the older conservative thinks is too rude to say. 

    It is racist not to do so. The media needs to be called on their bias iften. The Internet is doing that.

    Let Mona inspire you!

    This is so correct, Indaba! You ought to be writing your own post on this subject. I could not agree more that to treat another person with kid gloves because of any reason, is being biased against them. Is racist, bigoted, etc.!

  8. Matt Travis

    Mona is phenomenal, Jay’s not too shabby either.  Radio Free Delingpole, and this podcast are my favorites, keep up the great work!

  9. Kim K.

    Good stuff. Please let Jay talk more!!

  10. Richard Young

    What Jay said about this being a test of the electorate as much as a test of either candidate is so true.  If we re-elect Obama we (speaking collectively, not individually) will deserve what we get; just as Greece or Spain or Europe as a whole is reaping what they sow.  As Mona said, the Democrats did not “shoot their way in.”  The American people voted them in.  But, as we saw in 2010, we can also vote them out.  Can we get back if this happens?  I don’t know.  Somehow I doubt it.  But if we do it won’t be until the pain of reality forces us to.  There is a lot of moaning on the right about how Romney is conducting this campaign even though it is fought in the fierce wind of media dishonesty.  Every person on Ricochet, every person on the right, must call every person they know and make the case themselves.  Don’t rely on Romney’s campaign to do it.  He’s only human (I’m sure this will elicit some snide comments) and deserves our support or we deserve the consequence.

  11. Strategoist

    Kinda disappointed with this one.  Clucking about “if you’re complaining about the polls. its a bad sign…”  Those of us who are pointing out skewed assumptions of many polls are not doing it reflexively.  I’ve seen a lot of rigorous thinking, research and analysis making the case for favorable D skew in demographic samples.  We have serious professionals here who are predicting a widely different demo sample than what PPP, Pew & Marist are assuming.  From you three we hear clucking snark in response to thoughtful argument.  Not impressive.

    Then I read this missive from Ms. Charon…Um, who’s side are you on exactly?  Hey, instead of expressing your dismay at your anecdotal perception of the Romney ad buy: why don’t you call some sources and do a little research? 

    If I’m writing something with my byline, I take care to ensure that my views are grounded in solid thinking, and as sourced as best as possible.  If an article is not informing, or adding substantively to the story, WHY WRITE IT?

    Apologies in advance for heat or sharpness in tone.  Believe me, I’m a lot angrier than I read.

  12. Mona Charen
    C

    Thanks for the comments everyone. Regarding my Corner post, referenced by Strategoist, how can you ask which side I’m on? Sweating blood over this election my friend. The post was intended to offer suggestions to the Romney ad people, who seem to need ideas. I thought it was obvious that I’m trying to help. There’s a dose of  exasperation yes, but that’s still permitted in America, no?

  13. Indaba
    Mona Charen: Thanks for the comments everyone. Regarding my Corner post, referenced by Strategoist, how can you ask which side I’m on? Sweating blood over this election my friend. The post was intended to offer suggestions to the Romney ad people, who seem to need ideas. I thought it was obvious that I’m trying to help. There’s a dose of  exasperation yes, but that’s still permitted in America, no? · 2 hours ago

    your article gave great ad scripts. The Romney campaign must be frazzled and an expert’s written examples will be appreciated – for free too!

  14. Red Feline

    I found this podcast interesting because I too have been appalled to discover that people I know, who are intelligent and well-educated, are totally ignorant of what is going on in the political world. They have no idea how it might impact their lives when they vote for the Democrat President. They know nothing about basic economic theory, history, the history of political thinking, anything about the legislation put in place by F.D.Roosevelt, Carter, Clinton, and others, yet they feel entitled to vote on the future of the United States. 

    The idea of having a Voting Course, teaching the basics of some of the things people ought to know before they can vote, sounds good to me.

    Idiot Voters, indeed!   

  15. T-Fiks
         I once asked a fellow social studies teacher at my middle school about her take on a few far-from-arcane political issues, and she calmly revealed that she knew nothing about them.      Then I asked her if she voted.  “Oh, yes.  Every good citizen votes,”  she answered.      In a dangerous fit of candor,  I exclaimed, “Maybe you should reconsider that.”      I immediately blushed as if I had just pulled her skirt from a crease in her backsides and later apologized on behalf of good professional relationships.      She is far from alone in her ignorance in a profession that increasingly values pedagogical orthodoxy over content knowledge.
  16. Daniel Halbach

    When I’m asked if I believe polls, I usually say no, but after hearing this podcast, I think I might be answering the wrong question.  I do not believe that polls in general are intentionally skewed or are otherwise inaccurate accounts of responses at the time of the polling.  I do believe that they are highly inaccurate predictors of the final outcome of the election.

    Several polls change leads weekly and move by at least the margin of error once or twice per week.  And this with only minor “news” (gaffes, etc.).  Plus, there’s no way to know how much influence things like the Bradley Effect are having.  How much do today’s poll results affect tomorrow’s poll results?  Who knows?  I know someone who scored Romney poorly in a poll because he was irritated with something Romney said earlier that week, even though he still had every intention to vote Romney on election day.

    Then there’s this:https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=C__xOdPPZFo

    Polls can be useful, I suppose, but they are mostly just something to occupy us while we’re waiting for something important to happen.

  17. captainpower

    Not everyone should vote.

    Specifically, those who are ignorant should not vote.

    Great podcast. Thanks for having the author on.

    First time I’ve heard the podcast.

    Great tone set by Mona, especially the devil’s advocate questions.

    It’s great when an interviewer has actually read the book and has good questions (Peter Robinson comes to mind).

    Great counterpoints by Jay, like the one about how we distrust the electorate when we are losing, but not when Reagan is elected by a landslide.

    Nice clarification by Jay that he basically agreed with the author though, despite his inclinations toward wanting more people to vote.

Want to comment on stories like these? Become a member today!

You'll have access to:

  • All Ricochet articles, posts and podcasts.
  • The conversation amongst our members.
  • The opportunity share your Ricochet experiences.

Join Today!

Already a Member? Sign In