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Friday, April 20, 2012

"What I heard..." conversation on a Florida Beach: Word of Mouth Politics

So, a Florida beach might be someplace pundits need to check on, as lots of opinions appear to exchange during early morning walks , giving credibility to "word of mouth" politics.

I told the lady from Macon, Georgia that I didn't come to a gorgeous beach on Florida's east coast to talk politics.  But she rolled her eyes and said, "Well....let me tell you..." (Southern drawl emphasizing "weeeellll"). Then she proceeded to tell me what she heard about ...."that man".   So, that's when I gave her my, "I didn't come to Florida to talk politics...." response, cutting her off in the middle of her "...that man" sentence.

Although I didn't want to hear what man "that man" was, who she wanted to spew upon, the point of this blog is that the Macon Georgia lady was ready to spew out what "she heard".  She didn't read what she heard to be true.  Rather, her opinion was about something she heard.

Regardless of what "Ms. Macon" was about to tell me, I'm disturbed by the cunning way she was able to grab my attention, attesting to what she "heard".  I wasn't about to engage her in a conversation about what I just recently read in The New Yorker, the January 30, 2012 edition.  She would have cut me off before I could stump her "heard".  Thankfully, I was able to head her off by simply stating the obvious. On a beautiful Florida beach morning, sun shining, sea shell collecting....why in the world would a person engage in "...what I heard" politics?

It's like the cloths line gossip of years before electric dryers.  But, it still works, though not for me (this time).

Rather than gossip, "The Obama Memos: The Making of a post-post-partisan Presidency" by Ryan Lizza, in The New Yorker, should be required reading for anyone who wants to vote in the 2012 election.

Although the article is a detailed account of President Obama's challenges, untarnished by opinion, there is one paragraph I think should be a side bar, but The New Yorker isn't into that kind of publishing:

...page 36..." 'Two well-known Washington political analysts, Thomas Mann, of the bi-partisan Brookings Institution, and Norman Ornstein, of the conservative American Enterprise Institution, agree.  In a forthcoming book about Washington dysfunction, 'It's Even Worse Than It Looks', they write, 'One of our two major parities, the Republicans, has become an insurgent outlier - ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime, scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science, and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition'."

Although I'm presuming Ms. Macon, on the Florida beach, was about to give me a gossip oriented tirade about President Obama, I'm being unfair in assuming this to be true, because I cut her off.

Nevertheless, what I'm sure of is that she didn't read anything where her opinion might be measured against something printed in the main stream media, The New Yorker, of course, preferred.

And the point of this blog is this:  our political campaigns might put surrogates on Florida beaches, if they intend to win this state's impressive number of electoral votes.

Unfortunately, even the Internet on-line news age isn't dissuading word of mouth politics. This form of communication appears to be the way many people are forming their political opinions.







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