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More Political Notes

-Rick Santorum seems a somewhat likeable guy who believes several crazy, distasteful things. It may not be helpful to say his ideas are nuts, but it still is less useful to fashion him an evil man because his discriminatory views don't jive with the left, centre, or centre-right in America.

-Calling a person a 'front runner' before votes are counted is just plain wrong.  Calling one a front-runner after some votes are counted is slightly misleading.  The race isn't about who the media thinks is ahead, and it is only indirectly about who gets the most votes.  What really matters is accruing the most delegates.  In the race for a major party's nomination for POTUS, the guy with the most delegates-who-will-actually-vote-for-him-at-their-national-convention is ahead. If no delegates have been awarded, there isn't really a front-runner, no matter what polls might say.

-I doubt the primary process will hurt the eventual Republican nominee for POTUS all that much. It is true, polls have shown a general downward trend of favorable ratings for the top three Republican candidates as the race has worn on. A lot of that stems from the negative mode of the process (in which each stands against Obama, and against the other two guys, but not for much except his own nomination and some mud-slinging ads). The contest will come to a close, however. With it, we will see an end to most attacks centering on a supposed lack of conservativism.  Any that remain will only help the nominee pivot towards a more general audience. This partially explains why the likely losers of this process have settled their focus more and more on questioning Romney's conservative cred, though the way they go about it shows little good-will.

-When asked, "Is there a concern that the pressure from Santorum and Gingrich might force the governor to attach so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election?"  Mitt Romney's top political advisor, Eric Ferhnstorm, replied, "Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch a Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again."  It is true. The primaries and general election are two different things, and the voters who matter most in each are not the same. However, honesty cannot pass unpunished in politics, and so we are gifted with the image of Mitt Romney as a figure in an etch-a-sketch:

Whether or not being called a flip-flopper, a waffler, or an etch-a-sketch is really an effective campaign tool seems an open question.  In relatively recent elections, it didn't seem to wound Clinton or G. W. Bush, but it helped paint Kerry as a guy who never really said anything meaningful.  Generally, if it's too pithy, the attack seems like petty name-calling. Put prosaically, many lose interest, and some of the rest see the standard action of one changing one's mind.  My sense is, you need a larger narrative for the flip-flopper image to settle in.  For Romney, that might be a lack of conviction, a drive to succeed without any impulse, feeling, or compass behind it.  We have yet to see his foes convincingly construct such a story.


  1. 'For Romney, that might be a lack of conviction, a drive to succeed without any impulse, feeling, or compass behind it. We have yet to see his foes convincingly construct such a story.'

    Isn't that what Newt Gingrich tried to do in South Carolina with all those expensive ads about Bain Capital and how it cut costs by ruthlessly firing average hard working Americans? I guess he didn't follow it through hard enough?

    I think that a lot of people already think of Mitt Romney as soulless/shameless/an empty suit. He's been referred to as occupying the 'uncanny valley', like he's a robot trying to be human and coming very close but failing.And there's all those stories about him strapping the family dog to the roof of his car, the stilted attempts at humor... The narrative is out there, being propagated by parts of the media, if not directly by the campaigns... but people don't care or they've despaired of finding an alternative...

    I kind of want a third party to come out of nowhere and change everything...

    I've tried to think about my ideal candidate...and I've come up with one definite quality that I would like him to have, so far. It should be that he values leisure over labor. So whenever a company comes up with an improvement that makes working more efficient, they should be forced to keep overall output the same, while reducing the amount of work people do, instead of increasing output while keeping the amount of work people do constant. Or we should introduce siestas, like they have in Spain...

    1. Ok...I forgot the addition to my stipulation of reducing work. Overall wages should remain the same, or increase. So peoples' financial well being wouldn't degrade as they work less.


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