Overestimating the American people

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008 - 1:15 pm PDT

“You can’t just make stuff up. The American people aren’t stupid.” So said Barack Obama recently in reaction to the latest headline-grabbing string of inane distortions and brazen falsehoods from the McCain campaign . But Obama may be naively overestimating the American people. If history and the latest polls are any indication, these sorts of Karl Rovian smears and outright lies work like a charm on American voters. Contrary to Obama’s claim, it seems politicians can just make stuff up, and it may just be the most politically expedient thing for them to do if in fact the American people are as stupid as they let on. On the other hand, Obama may already know all this, but perhaps also knows that the American people enjoy being told that they are not stupid.