Thinking for themselves

I don’t know how many people actually believe the American voters who supported George Bush in the 2004 election were “trapped in the Matrix,” “brain-dead,” “mindless sheep,” “brain-dead sheep,” or some variation thereof. But such thinking– exemplified in its most offensive form by Ted Rall— has certainly made its mark among leftists who like to consider themselves more enlightened than the rabble.

After the election– when so many on the Left were despairing for the future of the republic– I pointed to evidence suggesting that, yes, even Bush voters are capable of thinking for themselves. For example voters in Florida supported Bush while overwhelmingly approving a Republican-opposed increase in the state’s minimum wage. And a majority in Dallas County, Texas, supported Bush while also electing a Hispanic lesbian as sheriff.

Now, despite Bush’s frenetic criss-crossing of the country trying to sell his misbegotten Social Security privatization plan, only 37 percent of Americans support the idea, according to an Associated Press poll. A sold majority– 56 percent– disapprove of the President’s handling of Social Security.

This is in marked contrast to the 52 percent who approve Bush’s handling of foreign policy and terrorism– a margin that has increased by five percent since February in the wake of the Iraqi election.

Reports of American mindlessness are, as always, greatly exaggerated.

Update: Commenter Mark points to Josh Marshall’s excellent Talking Points Memo as the blogosphere’s most effective opponent of Bush’s Social Security plan. TPM provides an ongoing seminar on how to use a blog in a political struggle based on a specific issue.