Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Today in "Shit State Legislators Say": Feelings

Brian Beutler at TPM flags the story of a New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O'Brien (R) trying to keep whippersnapper college kids from voting, on the grounds that "They don't have life experience and they don't have life experience and they just vote their feelings and they're taking away the town's ability to govern themselves, it's not fair."



First of all, the idea that students should not be enfranchised in the place they spend 75% of the year, if not more, is a bit odd. They're more likely than not to feel the effects of state & local services, and considering the number of college graduates who take up residence at or near school, paying more than zero interest to the political desires of students seems prudent.

Second, Speaker O'Brien seems to object to the idea of voting behavior based on "feelings". I suppose he thinks that all adults elect candidates based strictly on a rational assessment of their self-interest. He's obviously wrong on this account, but even if he were correct, what's wrong with voting based on feelings? It seems the ultimate success of a prosperous democracy that voters can make decisions without thinking purely of their own wants and needs.
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