One of the things that always amazes me as I read political forums and weblogs is the number of people who claim to be independent or make up labels to differentiate themselves from both liberals and conservatives, who nonetheless consistently either support or oppose every tiny nuance of what the current administration does. If they were truly independent, we’d expect a lot more examples of people who agree or disagree with the administration approximately half the time, but those people are rare.

If you want to know who the true independents are, though, you have to look beyond correlations. The real acid test is to see if someone ever expresses a strong opinion about an issue where the “official line” is unknown and not readily predictable. Those are the people who are genuinely thinking about issues for themselves, and not just reacting to others who thought about them first. Unfortunately, people willing to do that are the very rarest of the rare.