Patterico's Pontifications


Pat Schroeder: Conservatives don’t read

Filed under: Books,General,Politics — DRJ @ 8:51 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Former Colorado Senator Representative Pat Schroeder thinks conservatives don’t read books or, if they do, they will only read books that say “No new taxes” on every page:

Liberals read more books than conservatives. The head of the book publishing industry’s trade group says she knows why—and there’s little flattering about conservative readers in her explanation.

“The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: ‘No, don’t raise my taxes, no new taxes,'” Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. “It’s pretty hard to write a book saying, ‘No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes’ on every page.”

Schroeder, who as a Colorado Democrat was once one of Congress’ most liberal House members, was responding to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that found people who consider themselves liberals are more prodigious book readers than conservatives.

She said liberals tend to be policy wonks who “can’t say anything in less than paragraphs. We really want the whole picture, want to peel the onion.”

I agree with Sen. Rep. Schroeder that many liberals can’t say anything in less than paragraphs (although sometimes I can’t either – must be all those books I read), but back to the point: How many more books a year do those prodigious book-reading liberals read than conservatives?

“Among those who had read at least one book, liberals typically read nine books in the year, with half reading more than that and half less. Conservatives typically read eight, moderates five.

By slightly wider margins, Democrats tended to read more books than Republicans and independents. There were no differences by political party in the percentage of those who said they had not read at least one book.”

So liberals read one more book a year than conservatives. If only the men and women of the military would read just one more book a year, maybe they could be liberals like Jon Carry and Pat Shrodr.

[UPDATE: Pat Schroeder is a former Colorado Representative, not Senator. Thanks to NYC 3L for the correction.]

34 Responses to “Pat Schroeder: Conservatives don’t read”

  1. Why would we need to read as many books as liberals? I get all the talking points through my helmet.

    Thanks again, Karl!

    spongeworthy (45b30e)

  2. This is hilarious. I encountered many liberals in trying to publish my history of medicine. In fact, I was told by several chief editors of academic publishing houses that the boards of these university presses were dominated by humanities faculty. They would not publish anything that disagreed with their biases. In my case, even though there was no similar book, the fact that I did not have a degree in history was enough to close the issue. I started my own little publishing house and the book is headed for a third printing. It is now being adopted as a textbook because, as a professor of the history of science told me last spring, there is just no other book available on that subject.

    Mike K (2009e3)

  3. Just a point of correction: Pat Schroeder is a former Representative, not a former Senator.

    Thanks, NYC 3L. I’ll correct it above. — DRJ

    NYC 3L (b57b55)

  4. “Books? We don’t need no steenkin’ books!”

    f u cn rd ths u cn gt a gd jb

    Horatio (a549f7)

  5. When your books consist of calling Bu$Hitler a Nazi, and cartoons about torturing innocents, they take much less time to read.

    Since I presume this study was about recreational reading, I would guess that completely ignores the volumes of reading people do on a day to day basis at their jobs. And we know that more Republicans have jobs. lol.

    JD (815fda)

  6. I assume that this data was compiled from voluntary surveys, and we all know how accurate those are. One can imagine a lot of liberal pseudo-intellectuals (and, no doubt, some conservative ones too) fudging on the number of books they have read in order to look better in the survey.

    JVW (6a3590)

  7. So if all of the Liberals surveyed read one of the Al Franken books, and that created the 9-8 difference, aren’t they, in fact, DUMBER for having done so?

    JD (815fda)

  8. Dear Pat,

    Liberals don’t THINK so they look for an answer in a book.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  9. As I noted at my blog today, the article plays silly buggers with the survey results. When you crunch the numbers fro the original source it becomes clear that liberal is not the same as democrat nor is republican conservative. This is not helpful.

    Oh and as I also note the only fiction publishers that are bucking the general downward trend – Harry Potter’s Scholastic and right of centre SF publisher Baen.

    Francis (82e34f)

  10. I find the premise bizarre: how is it possible to only read nine books in a year? I average more than one a week, although now that i’m back in school that number will go down again.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  11. Nine books a year? I have read that many in a week on a lot of weeks. And I don’t mean schoolbooks or law texts. I still read two to three books a week but more eclectically — often re-reading old favorites.

    nk (b038b2)

  12. If blogs are any indication of the relative levels of reading comprehension between liberals and conservatives, conservatives have it all over the opposition. Not only is there marked confusion among liberals on matters of record that can easily be comprehended by the competently well-read, the flights of fanciful interpretation of what they do read as background for debate is stunning sometimes.

    Victor Hanson opined that a good deal of the confusion on the left concerning historical perspective and realistic interpretation of currents events is a symptom of the failure of liberal education policies. I think he’s partly right but also that pointing students to reading lists that tell students what to think rather than getting them to think neither promotes reading comprehension nor encourages reading eclectically. And that is a liberal, not conservative, approach to information.

    Just Passing Through (4b3990)

  13. Liberals cant read their too stupid to and PAT SCHRODER is just one of these liberal dim-bulbs

    krazy kagu (e08c0e)

  14. I read, on average, six books a week. Mostly science fiction, but some history as well. This amounts to over 300 books a year. So, does this make me 30 times smarter than an average liberal?

    509th Bob (077d0d)

  15. I buy the 3 kids who live with me a book a week, each. plus 2 for myself. That works out to 5 a week. Not bad for someone to the Right of Atilla the Hun.

    Don M (66bbca)

  16. Ummm, excuse me, Pat, yea here’s a tissue for those tears. But, to my point, when one gets to be of a certain age, say 16 years old or more, comic “books” really don’t count as books anymore. And, oh yes, that huge coffee table book about hemp designs for your home, you know, the one filled with pictures from cover to cover, that doesn’t count as reading a book anymore either, no matter how many times you page through it.

    Edward Lunny (85f233)

  17. Oh, Pat, its women like you that make the rest of us cringe.

    But at least this, ” We really want the whole picture, want to peel the onion” explains why you’ve spent most of your political whining and crying.

    Where did all the smart women go? I’ll tell you: they’re busy reading books!

    Dana (b4a26c)

  18. Le Roi est Mort! Viva Le Roi!
    Jim Baen (with much convincing by the commie, Eric Flint) made a great deal for me! E-books for free!(in this browser window is a Bean E-book of David Weber’s!) Or newer ones for a whole $6.
    Typo and note sprinkled Advance Reader Copy’s for $15 (Can’t wait some time!). Cd’s full of e-books in some of the hard covers. The cd from the current Eric Flint/Weber book is what the afore mentioned is from.

    JP (7d78aa)

  19. This shows a classic example of the fact that liberals have no knowledge of conservatives, their beliefs or behavior, only ridiculous stereotypes that are cartoonish in their simplicity.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  20. You forgot the main point: liberals think that they are supposed to read a lot of books, ’cause they are supposed to be so intellectual. And, being liberals, they simply lied about the number of books they read, to the high side because they thought they had to look intellectual! :)

    Of course, there is an alternate explanation: since liberals think that they are smarter than the rest of us, they probably actually thought that they did read more books than they actually had.

    Dana (556f76)

  21. By slightly wider margins, Democrats tended to read more books than Republicans and independents. There were no differences by political party in the percentage of those who said they had not read at least one book.

    Which simply confirms my above. When you get to the people who aren’t embarrassed to admit that they haven’t read a book, there’s no lying to inflate the numbers.

    Dana (556f76)

  22. In Why people don’t read, Sharon skewers Washington Post book critic Ron Charles, who thinks that even when people do read, they aren’t reading the right things.

    It is a good thing that we’ve got our friends on the left to tell us what’s important and what isn’t; what we should read, and what we should not. What would we do without them?

    Dana (556f76)

  23. Read what you want to read!…

    Sharon has a post up on why people don’t read. She noted the critic who complained that even when people read, they don’t read the right things, and said:
    For the last year or two, I’ve been back into a reading phase and read proba…

    Common Sense Political Thought (819604)

  24. It was either P.J. O’Rourke or Calvin Trillin (I cannot tell them apart) who did a great routine on the Johnny Carson show during the 1980 Presidential Campaign. Roughly:

    “Jimmy Carter said he taught himself to speed-read. Well, if it’s important enough for the President to read it, it should not be speed-read. And if it’s not all that important so that it can be speed-read, the President should not be wasting his time on it.

    Reagan said that he does not read at all.

    So I give Reagan the edge on that one.”

    nk (595583)

  25. Yup, slogans like ‘no blood for oil’ and ‘selected not elected’.

    Oh, wait.

    SayUncle (6afb5b)

  26. Personally, I think that Libs BUY a lot of books, but fall a little short when it comes to actually cracking them.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  27. Depends on your definition of “read”

    Gerald A (39d0b6)

  28. Let’s see, liberals read 9, conservatives read 8, and moderates read… how many? Only five? Moderates are stooopid.

    letmespellitoutforyou (9632bb)

  29. Hey, is there any way you can put this page in audio or video format? There’s too many words on the page for me.

    Kevin (4890ef)

  30. Yeah, what are you people even doing here?

    Leviticus (3c2c59)

  31. “Among those who had read at least one book, liberals typically read nine books in the year, with half reading more than that and half less. Conservatives typically read eight, moderates five.”

    Of course, since the books which conservatives and moderates read tend to have fewer pictures and larger words, I think it mostly balances out.

    rgriffis (03e5fd)

  32. As I pointed out on another site (but I forget which one), readers are disproportionately female, and women tend to be more liberal than men.

    I wonder, if you did a multiple regression on the underlying data, would you find that the correlation washes out when adjusted to a normal sex ratio?

    She’s most well known these days for attacking libraries for lending out books (gasp!) and costing publishers money (gasp, squared). Good luck to her attempt to stamp out the cancer of organised book-lending.

    I believe she wrote a book (or had one written for her, more likely) in connexion with her hilariously ill-starred 1988 Presidential campaign, but I can find no trace of it today — Amazon never heard of her as an author. (There is a Patricia Schröder, but as the umlaut in her name suggests, she writes in German — books for teens, I think).

    I was hoping her book would be number four million and six on Amazon, but it apparently doesn’t rise to that level. Pity.

    Kevin R.C. 'Hognose' O'Brien (88bf29)

  33. Aphrael writes:

    I find the premise bizarre: how is it possible to only read nine books in a year? I average more than one a week….

    It has less to do with national reading habits, perhaps, than with the peculiarities of the study’s math. When you study any large group or population, it’s self-defeating to use a mean average, as Schroeder’s study appears to have done. Means are very vulnerable to being skewed towards outlying values in the tail of the distribution. When you study large groups, you really need to be working with medians.

    That’s what produces the curiously low figure — a significant number of people read no books at all and drive the average down, especially in using a mean average.

    It’s not surprising that moderates score lowest: most people who are two wishy-washy or uninvolved to pick sides on politics, are more likely to be in the zero-book contingent and form all their opinions from television. Shallow people, shallow medium, it fits.

    An excellent guide to statistics for laypeople is How to Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff. It’s fifty years old, but will give you a way to apply some mathematical power to the instinct that’s currently running your BS detection system. (Huff also wrote a great but less well-known follow-up, How to Take a Chance.

    Statisics is still in print and used copies are widely available for short money.

    Kevin R.C. 'Hognose' O'Brien (88bf29)

  34. […] questions: 1) Does this dispel the misconception that Conservatives (his presumed audience) don’t read books, and 2) What does this say about what many called America’s worst president […]

    Reconsidering President George W. Bush « Ken's Project Blog (2a61ff)

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