I have always found it interesting how rational ignorance is used by politicians. Robert's mentions this "The electorate can be misinformed. Or rationally ignorant. It's costly for voters to be well-informed. That gives politicians, even in a democracy, the chance to pursue special interests at the expense of the general interest." but he doesn't touch base on something that I think is even more interesting. I find it intriguing when politicians use rational ignorance to manipulate other politicians.
Take for example all of those crazy laws that get pasted without being read. In my high school gov. class one of are projects was to write legislation and vote on it. Two of my friends (One girl was very right wing the other one was very left...so it's bipartisan) wrote a bill that was a parity of the "Patriot Act" it was called something like the "Patriot Education Act" a piece of legislation that would, if passed have measures to make sure the general public knew what was in the "Patriot Act". What happened was utterly amazing I was one of only 2 or 3 people (out of a class of 30) to vote against this thing (The girls who wrote the legislation also didn't vote for it). After it passed I asked for the floor and stated "I'm unsure that you read the bill as it states on page 5 those individuals who fail to learn about the act will be punished by being hit over the head with the 15,982 page manual (except it was even more awesome as the language in which it was written mimicked the unclear strange language that legislation is written in.) In this case the very same thing happened as the actual Patriot Act no one read it.
I think that it comes down to economics when explaining how politicians will paste "Save the Babies" names on legislation and hope that their fellow politicians will pass these things with out reading them. They taking advantage of "Adverse Selection" and know more about the transaction (of knowledge ) than the other party via asymmetric information because those who write the legislation have the upper hand in knowledge to what's in it than those who vote on it.
So vote for my post as it has a really great title, and I'm unsure that you will have the time to read it all.