Are Americans Really Open
to Obama’s New Ideas?
October 6, 2008
Most of us believe that the personality of the typical Minnesotan differs
from that of the typical New Yorker. But has anyone demonstrated the truth
of that belief with a study based upon information given in 600,000
questionnaires, controlled for "variables such as race, income and education
As Stephanie Simon reports in the WSJ ("The Geography of Personality”),
researchers Rentfrow, Gosling, and Potter have, ranking the fifty states
plus DC according to five personality traits and linking those traits to
certain outcomes. (For example, "Amiable states, like Minnesota, tend to be
lower in crime.”)
My purpose here is not to discuss the study but to show that one of its
findings can enormously improve John McCain’s chances of winning the
election, specifically, the finding having to do with "Openness,” defined as
how "open” citizens are to new ideas, with DC ranked as having the most
"open” residents, New York second, Massachusetts fourth, and Iowa,
Minnesota, and Wisconsin 40, 43, and 47, respectively.
I argue that the McCain campaign should slam home the facts about Obama’s
"new ideas,” especially in swing states, because one of the conclusions the
majority of Americans must draw from the strikingly disparate rankings
listed above is that liberals are dangerously and ideologically impetuous in
laying "the old aside” to become the self-exalted "first by whom the new are
"Must draw” that conclusion? Yes, unless the majority are prepared to
denounce themselves not simply as fuddy-duddies but as stupid, close-minded
So, let’s discuss Barack Obama’s "new ideas” — ideas that may sell
swimmingly in the most liberal states but will never be bought by the
majority of citizens in red and swing states, including Ohio ("Openness”
ranking, 24), Pennsylvania (25), and Michigan (36).
Even before the Wall Street mess, common sense Americans understood that
with the stresses caused by high energy prices, high taxes, the housing
bust, the mortgage debacle, and the effects wrought by foreign economies out
to "get us,” politicians had better forget about the policy called "tax,
spend, and borrow.”
Despite that reality, Barack Obama has loudly and consistently proposed the
following "new idea” for the economy:
Raise taxes on a few and magically multiply the sum to (1) give a tax break
to everyone else (including a hand-out to those who pay no federal income
tax) (2) pay for a government controlled health care "fix” (3) make Social
Security solvent and (4) spend tens of billions on a plethora of new federal
Problem is, Obama’s taxing doesn’t come within three trillion miles of his
spending, a distance we’ll find right on the mark when we listen to what the
moderately liberal Tax Policy Center (a joint venture of the Urban Institute
and Brookings Institution) has to say:
"Raising taxes on the rich [is] not the only way [Obama would] finance his
ambitious plans. . .he’d also have to borrow $3 trillion.”
Let’s see. In the current environment, Obama proposes raising income taxes,
increasing the death tax, raising taxes on dividends and capital gains
(goodbye to jobs and financial markets), and borrowing three trillion
dollars, yes, three trillion.
Now, liberals in DC, New York, and Massachusetts may praise that "new idea”
as brilliantly innovative; but if I know anything about the people of swing
states from Pennsylvania to Iowa, they’ll call it a crock.
By far, T. Boone Pickens has advanced the most practical, sensible plan for
ending our dependence on foreign oil: "Do it all,” including producing wind
generated electricity to free up natural gas for powering vehicles, thereby
building a "bridge” to a clean, sustainable energy future.
But like the rest of congressional Democrats, Obama thinks natural gas grows
on trees. (That "new idea” must surely be one of the reasons he opposed
Obama has now reversed himself on drilling? True, but in that reversal is
another "new idea” — deny royalties to states for oil and gas pumped from
new offshore wells.
There is the stunning contrast. While Pickens sings the praises of a fuel
that can help place the nation on the road to energy independence, Obama
supports an insidious, unconscionable, perverse political shenanigan that
has no purpose other than to discourage drilling for it — and oil as well.
This shenanigan insults citizens of swing states all the more because it
presumes they won’t perceive his anti-drilling position as part of the
enormously dangerous, madly radical "new idea” that is his energy pipe
But they will. And because of their "Conscientiousness,” they won’t forget
to take their awareness of the pipe dream to the polls.
There is, finally, the issue of extremism.
Smack in the midst of times when the nation faces challenges that range from
profound economic problems at home to threats from abroad that include
terrorism, nuclear proliferation, nuclear blackmail, Russian trouble-making,
and economic warfare waged by China, India, Brazil, et al., the Democratic
Party proposes the "new idea” that Americans elect the most wildly liberal
A conclusion that constitutes mere partisan propaganda? Not if we research
Obama’s Senate voting record. But we must not stop there. We need to ask
whether George McGovern or Walter Mondale ever associated with the kind of
radicals with whom Barack Obama has long connected himself.
In that regard, many of us have been made aware of religious and social
extremists Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger. . .
benefactor, friend, "real estate advisor,” and felon Tony Resko. . . and
corrupt political midwife and mentor a.k.a. "The Chicago Democratic
However, another person with whom Obama associated himself hasn’t received
the attention he deserves, even though he makes Reverend Wright look as
harmless as a church mouse.
Specifically, candidate Barack Obama thought it an excellent "new idea” to
accept money and help from "I don’t regret setting bombs/I feel we didn’t do
enough” Bill Ayers, the unrepentant member of the Weather Underground, a
sixties terror group whose "work” consisted of bombing public buildings,
including a failed attempt to bomb a dance at an army base.
Not satisfied with that "innovation,” Obama improved upon it by serving
closely and at the highest level with the former terrorist in an
organization dedicated not to improving mastery of the "three R’s” in
Chicago schools but to imbuing students and teachers with the R of leftist
Think of it. Never before in American history has the resumé of a
presidential candidate included this:
"Worked closely with an unrepentant former hateful, vulgar-mouthed
"Work consisted of radicalizing students who are desperately in need of
positive mentoring and academically sound teaching”
That astounding doublet of "new ideas” alone will cause significant numbers
of voters in swing states to find Barack Obama unfit for the presidency just
as it will have the same effect in other states, including North Dakota, the
state whose students lead the nation in SAT scores and the state, by the
way, ranked 51st for "Openness.”
How appropriate to end with mention of the Peace Garden State; for when we
consider what it means to be open to the "new ideas” Obama implemented for
Chicago’s schools as well as the "new ideas” he proposes for the nation’s
economy and energy needs, we can fully understand why the honest, faithful,
hard-working, fair-minded, wisely cautious, common sense people of North
Dakota ought to revel in their place on the "Openness” list.