Sunday, January 06, 2008

Policies or Personality

I've already been trumpeting my cynic cred, so I might as well go whole-hog. [Mmmmm, hog]. When choosing a politician to support as an executive - as opposed to legislator - there's wisdom in choosing personality over policies. One reason comes from the peculiar system called Federalism that we in the United States have had for a few centuries.

The president has NOTHING to do with making policy. Yeah, we've eroded those lines steadily through the years, most notably with W's 'signing statements' but (a) those were illegal, and (b) it's not the norm by any means. The president submits whichever ideas and policies he wants Congress to enact into laws and then Congress takes those ideas, defecates on the assorted documents the ideas were written on, then takes a fresh sheet of paper and piles money on top of that amid chunks of salt-pork from a big barrel. Viola, how a bill becomes a law.

The president is in charge of leading the nation by carrying out (or 'executing' like an 'executive') the laws of Congress. And that's about character, not policies.

Simply put, each of the major candidates this season - and every season - need to paint a picture of their attitudes and character. And that's what's sold, and purchased, by the electorate.

For example, in 2000 Gore was selling "I'm a big ol' Nerd and I will bore you to death about things you need to hear but won't bother hearing from me." Bush was selling "I am a Southern Cracker who likes to Party - before with hookers and beer but now with Jesus"

Note, that these were remarkably true personalty projections. Bush has spent our money on things that he thinks Jesus cares about: live stem cells and dead Arabs. And Gore is still annoying as all git-out to the point that most Republicans deny that there's global warming merely because Gore said it exists (using a freakin' slide show to do it... how nerdy A-V club do we need to be?!)

2004 was the battle between Flightsuit Bush and the Even More Annoying Nerd. [Note, I still cannot get over the fact that Bush wore a freakin' flightsuit to announce mission accomplished... even if it HAD been accomplished, it was tacky; now that its clear that it was a despicable lie, how can he still be not behind bars?!. [Barfing sounds]]

The Democratic contest is among three main candidates with three narratives:
  • Hillary = "Hi! I am Gore and Kerry but with Ovaries!" or "Do what I say or the puppy gets it!"
  • Edwards = "I am a very handsome, small town, Southerner who will fight for you, the small guy, against big business"
  • Obama = "I am young and handsome and want to tell the Baby Boomers to finally take their hellish ball of partisan warfare and go home."

    I like Edwards and Obama's messages - and chances in November. Because winning in November is all about attitude and not about policies. The last wonk who won POTUS was Nixon.
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