Data Not Found

Here’s something that I don’t get.

The people in this White House (like many before them) have often claimed that they don’t govern by polls. Here’s just one representative sample, from Bush in 2005:

THE PRESIDENT: Polls? You know, if a President tries to govern based upon polls, you’re kind of like a dog chasing your tail. I don’t think you can make good, sound decisions based upon polls. And I don’t think the American people want a President who relies upon polls and focus groups to make decisions for the American people.

Yet on the flip side, they love to make blanket statements that announce what the American people ostensibly want. Hell, Bush tacked one on the tail of that answer! Here’s another one, from Monday’s press briefing:

MR. McCLELLAN: [in response to a question on domestic wiretapping …] The American people have made it very clear they support the President’s efforts to defeat the terrorists and prevent attacks from happening.

As here, this is always presented confidently, usually without the slightest bit of data to support the assertion.

So here’s my deal: just once, I’d like to see a reporter respond to the stock “the American people want…” phrase by asking “well, given that you don’t follow polls, how do you know?”

(And for bonus points, the followup: “Did Jesus tell you?”)

One Response to “Data Not Found”

  1. jw Says:

    Maybe that’s the real reason for the NSA phone taps and FBI spy photos. They aren’t spying on us, they are just trying to give us the government we really want. People lie to pollsters but not to their friends. It’s kind of like giving Radio Shack your zip code so they can tailor your shopping experience. Oh, and Jesus.

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