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  1. #1
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    Default Political Parties and Groupthink

    I read an article recently that tried to explain why Republicans oppose the individual health care mandate even though it used to have wide support among Republicans and even was officially proposed Republican legislation.

    Why Republicans Oppose the Individual Health-Care Mandate : The New Yorker

    In short, the reason is not so much carefully considered reasoning, but politics.

    The article cites several studies that reveal this phenomenon:

    Geoffrey Cohen, a professor of psychology at Stanford, has shown how motivated reasoning can drive even the opinions of engaged partisans. In 2003, when he was an assistant professor at Yale, Cohen asked a group of undergraduates, who had previously described their political views as either very liberal or very conservative, to participate in a test to study, they were told, their “memory of everyday current events.”

    The students were shown two articles: one was a generic news story; the other described a proposed welfare policy. The first article was a decoy; it was the students’ reactions to the second that interested Cohen. He was actually testing whether party identifications influence voters when they evaluate new policies. To find out, he produced multiple versions of the welfare article. Some students read about a program that was extremely generous—more generous, in fact, than any welfare policy that has ever existed in the United States—while others were presented with a very stingy proposal. But there was a twist: some versions of the article about the generous proposal portrayed it as being endorsed by Republican Party leaders; and some versions of the article about the meagre program described it as having Democratic support. The results showed that, “for both liberal and conservative participants, the effect of reference group information overrode that of policy content. If their party endorsed it, liberals supported even a harsh welfare program, and conservatives supported even a lavish one.”
    Supporting and aligning with the party wins out over good policy.

    In fact, the more engaged in the political process one is, the more this groupthink takes hold:

    In a 2006 paper, “It Feels Like We’re Thinking,” the political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels looked at a National Election Study, a poll supported by the National Science Foundation, from 1996. One of the questions asked whether “the size of the yearly budget deficit increased, decreased, or stayed about the same during Clinton’s time as President.” The correct answer is that it decreased, dramatically. Achen and Bartels categorize the respondents according to how politically informed they were. Among the least-informed respondents, Democrats and Republicans picked the wrong answer in roughly equal numbers. But among better-informed voters the story was different. Republicans who were in the fiftieth percentile gave the right answer more often than those in the ninety-fifth percentile. Bartels found a similar effect in a previous survey, in which well-informed Democrats were asked whether inflation had gone down during Ronald Reagan’s Presidency. It had, but many of those Democrats said that it hadn’t. The more information people had, it seemed, the better they were at arranging it to fit what they wanted to believe. As Bartels told me, “If I’m a Republican and an enthusiastic supporter of lower tax rates, it is uncomfortable to recognize that President Obama has reduced most Americans’ taxes—and I can find plenty of conservative information sources that deny or ignore the fact that he has.”
    So instead of thinking and deciding the issues on the merits, political parties lead their members to think the party's stance on an issue is meritorious, rather than simply political gamesmanship. The media helps:

    ...as we’re increasingly able to choose our information sources based on their tendency to back up whatever we already believe, we don’t even have to hear the arguments from the other side, much less give them serious consideration. Partisans who may not have strong opinions on the underlying issues thus get a clear signal on what their party wants them to think, along with reams of information on why they should think it.
    Equally fascinating in the article is how the constitutionality of Obamacare was a foregone conclusion several years ago, but the echo chamber of politics and the media gave the unconstitutional argument legitimacy to the point where a majority of Americans now believe Obamacare is unconstitutional.

  2. #2
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    9/11 happened cause the gays wanted obamacare to fund their HIV addictions



    ... can you repeat the question?

  3. #3
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
    Equally fascinating in the article is how the constitutionality of Obamacare was a foregone conclusion several years ago, but the echo chamber of politics and the media gave the unconstitutional argument legitimacy to the point where a majority of Americans now believe Obamacare is unconstitutional.
    The Constitutionality of a lot of things is a 'foregone conclusion' until people are actually forced to think about it....do you believe the Commerce Clause grants the federal government virtually unlimited authority to control the economic actions (and even more to the point, inactions) of American citizens? That's the crux of the issue, and why 'living Constitution' enthusiasts were caught so flat-footed that they couldn't even come up with a decent Constitutional argument in support of Obamacare, instead focusing on extra-Constitutional issues regarding the importance or specialness of the healthcare industry.

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    Blah blah constitution blah blah patriot act blah blah. Thats literally what i think when i read constitutionality arguments regarding obamacare.

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    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    The Constitutionality of a lot of things is a 'foregone conclusion' until people are actually forced to think about it....do you believe the Commerce Clause grants the federal government virtually unlimited authority to control the economic actions (and even more to the point, inactions) of American citizens? That's the crux of the issue, and why 'living Constitution' enthusiasts were caught so flat-footed that they couldn't even come up with a decent Constitutional argument in support of Obamacare, instead focusing on extra-Constitutional issues regarding the importance or specialness of the healthcare industry.
    Why don't Republicans focus their anger at the thousands of other laws that are also technically unconstitutional? I find this incredibly frustrating. Republicans, as a group, only seem to notice what Fox News points out to them.

    Regarding the OP, this has been pretty obvious to me for years. Whether or not something is accepted by either members of each political party has more to do with whether or not the individual has an (R) or a (D) next to his or her name than anything else. A good comparison is the Republican reaction to Medicare Part D versus Obamacare. Most Republicans I know are completely oblivious when it comes to Medicare Part D, and when they're educated they make excuses.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Why don't Republicans focus their anger at the thousands of other laws that are also technically unconstitutional? I find this incredibly frustrating. Republicans, as a group, only seem to notice what Fox News points out to them.
    Two reasons:

    1.) Obviously, most of us hate Obamacare, making opposition to this particular law a political priority.

    2.) The implications of this law are far more profound than most; like I said, if the Commerce Clause is interpreted to allow the individual mandate, then it basically allows the federal government to do virtually anything, completely nullifying the Tenth Amendment (which is already on life support after several previous expansive interpretations of the Commerce Clause). I, for one, would even rather have single-payer healthcare than completely lose the Tenth Amendment as a check on federal power.

    In short, its a mixture of opportunism and principle, just like any other major Constitutional issue that has ever been hotly debated.

  7. #7
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    not most of us, otherwise it wouldn't have passed. IF it would have passed, maybe we would have a working universal health care structure.

    but no, people like those that live off fox news twisted into some miserable piece of bureaucratic legislature that serves little of its original purpose - to provide ailing citizens the freedom to be healed.


    "we'll spend a hundred grand on the sheathing for a single bomb, but your kid wants medicine to go to school? FUCK THAT!"

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    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jontherobot View Post
    Blah blah constitution blah blah patriot act blah blah. Thats literally what i think when i read constitutionality arguments regarding obamacare.
    I don't recall making any references to patriotism.

    As for the rest, you're not the only one who closes their ears to such concerns....a habit that came back to bite a certain unprepared Solicitor General (not to mention a certain CNN legal analyst).

  9. #9
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jontherobot View Post
    not most of us, otherwise it wouldn't have passed.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_1...-care-mandate/

  10. #10
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    you directly didn't, that was my converse to the argument of obamacare being unconstitutional. the patriot act, something very unanimously supported


    i see only 41 percent want the law repealed. not most.

    i am not and will never be a political analyst, so i'll pick and choose what information i gather as i will

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