When pollsters ask Republicans and Democrats whether the president can do anything about high gas prices, the answers reflect the usual partisan divisions in the country. About two-thirds of Republicans say the president can do something about high gas prices, and about two-thirds of Democrats say he can't.They attribute the difference to cognitive dissonance, and say:
But six years ago, with a Republican president in the White House, the numbers were reversed: Three-fourths of Democrats said President Bush could do something about high gas prices, while the majority of Republicans said gas prices were clearly outside the president's control.
VEDANTAM: So one of the theories that Nyhan and many others are playing with is that this has to do with something called cognitive dissonance, which is that we find it difficult to hold contradictory ideas in our head at the same time. So if you are a Democrat, you like President Obama, and if someone comes along and tells you the president can do something about high gas prices, but isn't, that hurts, because your guy isn't doing something that could help you. ... What cognitive dissonance predicts is that given the choice between our emotional ties and the facts, the facts will lose almost every time. So one of the ideas that Nyhan is playing with is that people don't reject facts because they hate the facts. They reject the facts because the facts are painful.Facts? There are no facts here. It seems plausible that the Bush supporters believed the he was doing all that could reasonably be done for oil availability. And they are skeptical that it is a priority for Obama. Meanwhile the Obama supporters say that he cannot do anything because they don't even want him to increase oil development. There is no inconsistency or cognitive dissonance.
Last week Obama supporters were arguing that it is okay for him to politicize killing Bin Laden because G.W. Bush politicized 9/11. Also they complained that Bush congratulated the troops by landing on an aircraft carrier that had a "mission accomplished" banner. He did that after winning the Battle of Baghdad, and that mission was indeed accomplished just as much as the mission to kill Bin Laden was accomplished.
What Obama did that was different was to take the credit for himself, and to insinuate that Romney would not have given the order to get Bin Laden. Compare Bush's Speech on the Capture of Saddam Hussein to Obama's Remarks by the President on Osama Bin Laden. Bush credits the soldiers while Obama credits himself.
Obama will spend the next 6 months bragging about killing Bin Laden. He will use it to justify his escalation of the Afghanistan war, but Bin Laden was not found in Afghanistan and that escalation did not help. He will act as if it was a gutsy decision. It was not. After Bin Laden was found in Pakistan and attack missions were prepared, Obama indecisively waited 5 long months before giving the go-ahead. Obama was also afraid to take Bin Laden alive because he did not want to be accused of torturing him or of not giving him a fair trial. So Obama ordered that Bin Laden be executed on the spot, and for the evidence to be destroyed.