Wednesday, December 05, 2007


The problem is not that 'electability' is hard to determine. It's that the primary voters suck at it.

John Kerry was not electable, but people I know (including family members, I'm sorry to say) were convinced that while Kerry was horrible, he'd be 'electable' because he was acceptable to Independents. The fact is that Kerry - as I've said before - was a boring, effete, waffling, liberal from Massachusetts with actually little going for him besides heroism expressed 40 years earlier. If actual independents would have been asked in early 2004 if they would elect someone boring, callow and shallow, they would have said "NO"

Yet, instead of Bill Clinton in 92 & 96, the Democrats nominate gawky, irritating nerds. Here's the key to electablity, something I wrote a while ago (from my old blog, Sept 15 2004):
A conclusion I make from this [a collection of polls], as a die-hard Democrat, is that my fellow party-voters are a collection of fumbling chuckleheads. Back in the primaries they voted not for the candidate they wanted, but for somebody they thought “Swing Voters” would vote for. In general, as an anthropologist, I am reluctant to call a group of people, a culture, idiotic. Generally, a mass of people do something that is in their best interest. Not in this case.

I said it back then, too, Kerry is a poor candidate. He has the charisma of untanned leather. He makes Gore look like P Diddy. He also has gaping gaps in his trained moral reasoning. How could he support the Iraq war? I’m not talking about flippy-flops, and despite my [initial] support for the war (see my post on 9/11/03 for nuances) – if Kerry were any fashion of real deal he would have voted against the war. The comparisons to Vietnam are clear for a sidelines observer, for someone who ostensibly based his youth on ‘Nam-opposition, he should have been the first to vote against. He didn’t. He’s a weenie.

The Democrats primaried Kerry because of what they thought someone else would want. This is stupid because of a countervailing psychological rule: when in doubt choose real over potential. Put simply, the Democrats liked Edwards, but thought a Swinger will like Kerry better. Except that Edwards had inherent and established value while Kerry had potential value. Is it any surprise that people still like Edwards and nobody – even Democrats – like Kerry?

If I had a chance to talk to the Democratic leadership (alert me next time a pig flies) I’d tell ‘em straight out – the only way a Democrat wins is with charisma. That is it. Yet the party keeps nominating these policy robots (Stevenson, Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry) as if the power of ideas will outweigh the natural human desire to look up to a leader.

Successful Democrats? All charismatic bastards. JFK, Clinton, LBJ, even Truman. A Republican doesn’t need charisma in America, despite the majority of the country’s population being democrats, the state-electoral college thang makes the states significant, and there are more Republican states. The GOP can run moral reprobates (Nixon, Bush II) and spineless crackers (Bush I) and win as long as the opposition is a standard Democrat weenie.

Both parties know these heuristics:
Evil GOP vs. Robot Dem, GOP wins
Weenie GOP vs. Robot Dem, GOP wins
Charisma, no matter whom, always wins.

1960: JFK v. Nixon – Charisma/evil
1964: LBJ v. Goldwater – Charisma
1968: Humphrey v. Nixon – evil/robot
1972: McGovern v. Nixon – evil/robot
1976: Carter v. Ford – the only exception which is manifest evil is hard to win
1980: Carter v. Reagan – doofus/Charisma
1984: Mondale v. Reagan – Charisma
1988: Dukakis v. Bush – possibly the worst election in my lifetime; gads what a waste
1992: Clinton v. Bush v. Alf – Charisma
1996: Clinton v. Dole v. Alf – Charisma
2000: Gore v. Bush v. Nader – don’t get me started on the election results

If the Democrats had only nominated any one of the candidates with charisma – this would have been no contest. E.g. if the ticket were flipped and you had Edwards as the candidate with Clark, Dean, or even Kerry as VP, then we'd be having red-terror alerts every day of the summer just for Bush to barely catch sight of the donkey's rear.
Back in 2004, I said that Kerry was annoying - just as annoying as Mondale, Dukakis, and Gore. And now we got the howler monkey in a pantsuit: Hillary.

Backpost finished 4/15/08, 1:57 PM. Why didn't I publish this at the time? The whole thing was written and just sitting there.

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