Saturday, December 29, 2012

Meet Semi, Lloyd Marcus's Semi-Feral Cat

Semi the cat is a good model for us all: She accepts and returns friendly gestures, but she's not willing to sacrifice her freedom.

I would have enjoyed the rest of Lloyd Marcus's essay more if he'd tied in some recent Blaze and Freedomworks polls showing that most existing conservatives are high-info voters. He's right, but he doesn't choose to make what I'd call the best explanation of why he's right.

So I'll add another observation. Some attempts to identify low- versus high-information voters are misguided because they rely on unreliable measures of how informed voters are. For instance, although I participate in polls, that site has apparently labelled me a low-info voter because I haven't memorized the titles of various semi-famous members of our government. A real Washingtonian does of course memorize who's currently secretary, undersecretary, chairman, and so on of every federal department and congressional committee. This is not especially wonky or nerdy; a real Washingtonian is motivated to memorize this information because a real Washingtonian is likely to meet these people socially. Those of us who don't live or work in Washington, however, don't have to memorize the titles, because the news stories we read about these people always supply the titles for us. My mind has shifted by now into filing almost all the names in the category of "Influential federal employee--check paragraphs above and below for current job title." This doesn't mean I don't remember which responsibilities go with the job title, or even whether the individual has done something I found particularly praiseworthy or blameworthy in the past; it merely means that I'm aware that, at the time when the individual did whatever it was, s/he may have been in a different position.

Trying to stay informed about our government is a full-time job, and all readers are hereby invited to join me in the full-time job of reading the bills currently before our state legislature. The web site is still building its database of current legislation, so it's not yet possible to read all of them in order. That will be taking place during the next week. Read the bills with me and marvel that a few of our legislators can still walk around without thick glasses.