Karl Rove Offers Hope…or not?
At first, being of a cynical mind this morning, I wondered if Karl Rove (via Dale Light) had ever been to Rhode Island when I read his recent statements at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. But upon further consideration, I think he truly hit on one truism, which I’ve highlighted:
“There are some in politics who hold that voters are dumb, ill informed and easily misled, that voters can be manipulated by a clever ad or a smart line,” said Rove, who is credited with President Bush’s victories in the 2000 and 2004 elections. “I’ve seen this cynicism over the years from political professionals and journalists. American people are not policy wonks, but they have great instincts and try to do the right thing.”
Rove said it is “wrong to underestimate the intelligence of the American voter, but easy to overestimate their interest. Much tugs at their attention.”
I’d offer that here in RI that interest in local politics is also proportional to how much the average RI thinks they can make a real difference. In other words: Not Much.
At this point, RI citizens have–for the most part–simply gotten used to putting their “attention” elsewhere than politics. Wrong or not, they seem to think that, for the most part, their everyday lives aren’t affected that much by the actions of the General Assembly or local school committees and town councils. The irony, of course, is that this attitude of “They’re all the same” is just about as self-perpetuating as it gets.
I guess the task for those of us who want to change the political climate in this state is to get the attention of the average Rhode Islander. Calling them ignorant certainly won’t endear them to our cause, after all, and it also happens to be a cop-out. It takes hard work to change minds. The obvious fly in this ointment is that maybe, just maybe, the status quo here in Rhode Island is exactly what the average Rhode Islander wants….and if that’s the case, maybe we’re all just Ocean State versions of Don Quixote. But perhaps people are only satisfied with the status quo because that’s all they know.