Why is the Conventional Wisdom Conventional? Or Wise? January 10, 2012
Have you ever noticed that the conventional wisdom in a particular area is neither conventional nor wisdom? Mark Twain once said that “You may have noticed that the less I know about a subject the more confidence I have, and the more new light I throw on it..”
Twain also said, ”For all the talk you hear about knowledge being such a wonderful thing, instinct is worth forty of it for real unerringness.” When it comes to presidential elections, the United States seems to go with instinct rather than fact.
Mitt Romney won the NH primary today, which he was supposed to do. Conventional Wisdom and the TV Pundits all told us so. But why? Why would a Massachusetts politician be expected to win next door? Indeed, why would he be expected to even win his own state? Wouldn’t we expect the people of his own area (state plus TV market perhaps) to know both his positive and negativeattributes even better than the rest of the voters?
Maybe I am missing something, but what has Barack Obama done for Illinois that he hasn’t done for the rest of the U.S.? Or, a better analogy if New Hampshire couldn’t fit in the back pocket of Texas shorts shorts, what has he done for Iowa, Indiana and Missouri that he hasn’t done for the rest of the country?
Was George W. Bush any less of a failure for Texans during his presidency than he was for the rest of the country? New Orleans didn’t benefit from being in a neighboring state for eight years.
Sports teams have fans outside their city and state, especially if they play in cities where the neighboring state doesn’t have a sports franchise for that sport. But politics shouldn’t be sports. Do voters simply choose the name they’ve heard the longest? Do they want their state to “win”? Do they assume that a politician from their state or region of the country shares their values? Or are they just more familiar with the accent?
I don’t care one way or the other about the results of any state’s Republican primary, but I do care about my vote. I would rather vote for a liberal than Barack Obama, but I’d never choose a “home state” candidate over a candidate whose ideas I support. Why do other Americans?