The S Factor
Yesterday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran a column by Neal Starkman who attempts to explain the popularity of Dubya south of the border.
Starkman observes the fact the president's popularity hovers at around 50 percent. He asks, "What can explain his popularity? Can that many people be enamored of what he has accomplished in Iraq? Of how he has fortified our constitutional freedoms with the USA Patriot Act? Of how he has bolstered our economy? Of how he has protected our environment? Perhaps they've been impressed with the president's personal integrity and the articulation of his grand vision for America?" Of course, the answer to all of the above is a definite "no".
Dubya remains astonishingly popular in the United States because of the S Factor, or the Stupid Factor if you will. "It's not merely that some people are insufficiently intelligent to grasp the nuances of foreign policy, of constitutional law, of macroeconomics or of the variegated interplay of humans and the environment. These aren't the people I'm referring to. The people I'm referring to cannot understand the phenomenon of cause and effect. They're perplexed by issues comprising more than two sides. They don't have the wherewithal to expand the sources of their information. And above all -- far above all -- they don't think."
I agree with Starkman's comments. The S Factor has been around forever and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. The S Factor is not an American monopoly, it can be found in every country. These are the people who keep Jerry Springer on the air, ensure Dude, Where's My Car? has a sequel and create a demand for story after story about Bennifer. The S Factor will get Dubya re-elected in November, in spite of the fact few Americans can honestly say their life is better today than it was 4 years ago.
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