Monday, February 20, 2006

Happiness is Being ... A Republican

I am sure I am opening myself up to the ignorance is bliss comment, but I read this recently (February 14th post on

The Pew poll mentioned below confirms a longstanding trend: Republicans say they are happier than Democrats. This year, 45% of Republicans said they were “very” happy as opposed to 29% of Democrats. That’s a big gap!

This stability is interesting in part because, I take it, that the demographic composition of Republican and Democratic voters has changed not insignificantly over the last 30 years. Is that right? Anyway, what accounts for Dem.-Rep. gap? Well, it’s not income. Republicans report themselves as happier at all points on the income distribution.

I was reminded immediately of the post-2000 election discussions, when the result hung in the balance, and the popular wisdom was that, psychologically, Gore would be more affected by the loss than Bush; indeed, that Bush wouldn't be all that affected, whereas Gore would be relatively devestated. No way to test the reaction of Bush, but Gore has seemed to jump off the deep end, most recently when he decried the assault on freedom in the U.S. on Saudi soil, where freedom is a joke.

Let me offer my two cents on the happiness thing: the defining moment for many idealistic liberals was the Civil Rights movement, when a few people could truly change, and did truly change, the course of the country. It was a clearcut issue from the perspective of who had the moral high ground, and victory went to those on the moral high ground (not that it was exactly a Dem vs. Rep issue). In any event, the thought that the small guy mattered in the course of a big and great nation's policies was evervating to Democrats, and it spilled into Vietnam as well. But post-Vietnam, there are no lay ups - in the form of the good guys against the bad guys where victory is eventually assured for the Dems. Abortion, the War on Terrorism, welfare, the Cold War - standing on the liberal side of these issues in the past 30 years has not exactly been a winning political strategy, nor one where the moral consensus has even swung in their direction.

But why does political loss for Dems lead to more comparative unhappiness? My guess is that it follows from a more utopian (and mistaken) view of the way things could be (creating a greater sense of grief when opportunities are perceived to be lost), coupled with a declining lack of religious faith. Politics is, for many of them, their religion, but there is no after-life reward for the battle fought well but without victory; in contrast, we Republicans can lose but rest happy in the belief that when Democrats "win" they have just secured their place in the eternal fires of hell. Either way - through direct political victories or the shadenfreude over the fates of our political enemies when they win - Republicans are happy. Or maybe we just drink more Chartruese. Either way, I'm happy.


Blogger Pulvarizer said...

I too have recently discovered why so many people these days are proud to say they're a Republican. It's simple, you can f*%k up just about everything you touch in a spectacular fashion,(1)Iraq, (2) Katrina, (3) assult on personal liberties, (4) relations with foreign allies, and to a lesser extent (5) environment, (6) No Child Left Behind, (7) fixing social security, and you're ultimately not held to blame for it.

Clinton lied to the country, no doubt a serious matter, but about something of no national importance, and he's technically impeached. Bush invades a country that couldn't threaten Mr. Roger's neighborhood on trumped up pretenses, and practically sleep walks through one of the nation's largest natural disasters, yet, he's not to blame, its everyone around him. Who wouldn't want to belong to a club that allows it's members to make such monumental mistakes, but not hold its members accountable, just sweep it under the rug. Name any other job that would allow a boss to make such historical blunders while still giving him a company car.

Ahhh yes, it is good to be a Republican!!!

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to amend your post.
NO ONE in this administration has been held accountable.
They have managed to pass the blame for Abu Graib to the lowest rank soldier, the attempt to levy a charge of 'you're either with us or your with the terorrists' on our foreign allies, continued the pattern of unfunded mandates - No School Board left funded, allowed the energy and oil companies to write their own policy of regulation under the misnomber "wise use" and sided with States rights only when it suits their overall views.
If anyone else ran a company like this, they would be bankrupt and have out of business.
Luckily for GW and boys, they have a stranglehold on congress and have basically made the other branches of government subserviant to the executive.
Funny, all you have to do is remember Reagan and begin to wonder whether it will take another 20 years to recover from this Republican president.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Hatcher said...

You guys sound really unhappy!

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Jim O said...

With all due respect to your political ideology, I beleive that your happiness derives far more from the general values you have been raised with and adopted as your own than the particular values currently on display by the Republican party.

I am sure that republicans are in general happier, because the values traditional Republicans hold dear lend themselves to happiness (in my opinion and my experience). Too bad that the party powers currently don't share those values.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Pulvarizer said...


Goods points, my last post is so amended.

Hatcher, you're right. Ever since Dubba-yah took office, I've gone nearly bald and aged beyond my years. I need to start drinking large quantities of Chartruese to dull the frustration and general confusion with today's state of affairs. Alcoholic bliss, here I come!!!

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've been doing a heckuva job posting, Hatchie!

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know the solution for the Democrats' discontent. Let's give each crying a liberal a bottle of Chartreuse.

4:38 AM  
Anonymous G Hindsley said...

Looks like Hatcher beat out George Will on this topic. Will's column appeared in yesterday's (2/23) WP:

It's almost time for a new bumper sticker...

11:59 AM  

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