By Jim Berlin
They are actually America’s lovable dummies – Larry, Moe and Curly — the dimmest bulbs in the electorate, the same poor boobs who appear in the “no opinion” category whenever that face-saving choice is available.
The political ideologies of Obama and Romney are obvious and opposite. To say you don’t yet side with one or the other is to admit to no ideology of your own, no world view. You are living what Socrates called “the unexamined life,” a life, he added, “not worth living.”
I think that’s a bit harsh. People with unexamined lives can still have loads of fun bowling, noodling for catfish (catching them barehanded), playing non-stop video games and painting their faces for sporting events. And it makes it easy to write their obituaries: a simple list of surviving relatives, a note about their nice smiles — and it’s done.
But the thing about undecided voters– especially in a tight presidential race – is they often decide who runs the country for four years.
Knowing this, Obama and Romney are faced with the task of how to win them over. How do you reach Larry, Moe and Curly? What motivates them?
First, they are personality voters. Do they like the candidate’s smile, the way he talks, does he seem nice?
Would he be fun to go bowling with, or when you wade into the water to noodle a catfish, would you like him noodling right next to you?
Obama wins this category hands down. “I love noodlin’,” he might say. “Let’s you’n me go noodlin’ this weekend.” They would believe him.
Second, they are fear voters. Is the President going to take away what I’m already getting? Or, if I’m not getting what I used to, can the President give it back to me?
This is where Romney has a chance. Undecided voters who have lost their jobs and security under Obama outnumber the undecideds who like the way he talks and smiles. They are afraid that four more years of the same might bring four more years of the same.
Larry, Moe and Curly may be hungry for hope and change.