Election 2008

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The Other Slacker Uprising

« May 2009 »

Memo to "Longshot": JUST THIS ONCE.

Today's column should in no way be taken as a precedent. Seriously. What I'm about to do combines a number of things I normally eschew. Like dares. Dares are ridiculous. Or reader interaction, which I keep to a minimum because, well, this is a web page, not fucking Facebook. What else? Oh, this also combines Livejournal, people who go by Internet handles for no good reason, and overreaction, all of which I try to avoid whenever I can.

But I'm making an exception. You see, I got an e-mail from a guy known only as Longshot14 (mildly irritating) daring me to write something (mildly irritating) about a subject he'd also written about on his Livejournal (mildly irritating). The topic? Conservapedia's entry on the 2008 presidential election. You all remember Conservapedia, right? One of dozens of conservative "answers" to allegedly liberal products and/or services.

So I read Longshot's Livejournal post (mildly irritating), and was very close to abandoning this column in the blastula stage, because the stuff he was cranky about wasn't particularly... evident. Yes, technically, the article only explicitly mentions the outcome of the election once, but it's right at the top. Oh, sure, it ignores vote tallies, but I'm more than willing to chalk this up to the fact that there are probably five guys total updating the site on a regular basis right now, and three of them are probably still hanging around at Tea Party sites waiting for the next one to start.

But then I found it. The money paragraph. The glory hole, if by "glory" you mean "connection to reality" and "hole" as "shallow grave". One paragraph, containing the entirety of the section "Election Day", which is one of the most awesomely stupid and racist delusions I've ever heard come out of the mouths of wingnuts. Ready? ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"In an odd move, Obama called upon his supporters to skip work to make sure they would vote and to get out the vote in their neighborhoods. In a sense, it would help disrupt productivity in America at a time when there was already a fear that the country was in a recession and severly pushed the law that allows employees to take time off from work to vote if they could not vote otherwise. Almost half of black Americans planned to take the day off, as did 21% of people who had already voted. 94% of Republicans planned on being at work."

I followed the citation, which is a Rasmussen poll story after the Obama campaign released a web video asking for people who can to take Election day off to get out the vote. So the first sentence is accurate, except for the "odd move" editorializing. Every campaign has a get out to vote effort, every campaign's effort is run by volunteers, and none of those volunteers are at their regular jobs, so oddness is in the crazy-ass eye of the beholder, I guess.

Then things start getting awesome. First, the author of the article essentially blames the recession on Obama voters taking the day off. Oh, he weasels around it, but the implication is impossible to miss. Of course, the data shows that the current recession actually began at the end of 2007, so surprise! Conservapedia is wrong and crazy. Plus, that's not how economics actually works. I mean, it wasn't a fucking general strike. If people got permission to take the day off, that means either someone covered their vitally important shift, or they got caught up on Wednesday. If a bunch of people taking the day off caused a recession, there'd be one after every December 23rd.

Then they twist the election day work law to make it seem like Obama was skirting it. The law requires employers to give two hours off for employees to vote. If the employee asks for more, the employer isn't legally obligated to grant it, but they're also not legally obligated to deny it. The law doesn't apply in the slightest bit to what Obama was asking people to do, which included, in huge block letters, the words "TALK TO YOUR BOSS". But Conservapedia makes it sound like a bunch of liberals said "I'm off to vote!" and never came back, while American industry foundered and legal scholars shook their fists at Obama's dodgy loophole abuse. So. Fucking. Nuts.

The Rasmussen poll article is also chock full of demographic breakdown, slicing and dicing their ridiculous thousand-person sample in every way possible. Yet strangely, Conservapedia chose to focus on only three demographics:

  • Blacks - clearly, the implication is that not only did black people vote for Obama because of his skin color, but they're also lazy and will take any excuse to send the country spiraling into a recession by staying home from work.
  • People who voted - The implication being that they're trying to VOTE AGAIN and STEAL THE ELECTION, even though people who voted early are likely the same motivated people who might want to work on Election Day efforts.
  • Republicans, who rejected Obama's call in huge numbers so that they could stay at their posts as captains of industry, hedge fund managers, and fixing all the pipes that Sam Wurzelbacher couldn't get to. And not in any way because of a lack of enthusiasm over the Grampa/Whackjob ticket, no sirree.

I'm sure the editors at Conservapedia would argue that I'm making subtextual inferences from the text that aren't there, but let's face it, they're Conservapedia editors, which means they are neither particularly bright nor particularly subtle. Nor particularly able to notice that they've spelled "severely" wrong, come to think of it. They can deny it all they want, but it's clear to any marginally astute reader that this paragraph is one part sour grapes, one part conspiracy theory, and one part racism, all concocted in a desperate attempt to explain why the country rejected conservative rule just when it was really starting to pay off. Its crazy is a glorious crazy.

And I never would have seen it if it hadn't been for a dare from a Livejournal pseudonym. What were the odds? Well, for all you Livejournal pseudonyms out there with your cursors hovering over the "Send" key, let me answer that. VERY, VERY SLIM. Like I said, this was not a precedent.

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