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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Lyle, Nov 9, 2004.
Paul Graham has an interesting take on the election results.
It's a compelling argument. Kerry seemed more of a bureaucrat than presidential material. I also believe it's the main reason that Hilary shouldn't run for president. Obama's Lincolnesque speeches are tremendously compelling and I would vote for him in a second. He's on the young side so maybe 2012 for him. Isn't the biggest issue facing us the lack of viable southern democrats?
I'm not overly impressed by this analysis. Charisma is where you find it -- a politician who speaks to your concerns is much more likely to be seen as personally appealing than someone who represents views you abhor, no matter how big a grin they've got on their face when they say it. I'm sure quite a few people find Allan Keyes charismatic. I think he's crackers.
He is also mistaken when he says that Nixon was more charismatic than Humphrey. If nothing else, HHH was known throughout his life for his enthusiasm for politics and his ebullient personality. He lost in 1968 because of deep divisions in the Democratic Party over the war and civil rights, not because of Nixon's animal magnetism (just thinking about this makes me laugh).
I beleive Graham's take has some validity, taken as part of a more complex mechanism.
I am reminded of a quote (which I cannot remember exactly), which stated that people's tastes and judgement criteria change depending on circumstance. When things are going well, the Economy is booming and we are at peace, people tend to judge on issues of likeability, charisma, charm, ethics and the like, whilst in times of war and crisis, they tend to merely judge on who seems the most capable to lead and inspires the most confidence.
Ultimately, people are fickle and the power of the Political/Media machines distort or amplify trends even futher. I wouldn't call the article definitive, but it is a valid piece of the puzzle.
I'm not sure about Graham's thesis. On the surface it seems plausible, but I have to agree with IJ that HHH was definitely a more dynamic personality than Nixon. (Who wasn't?) And remember that when the Republicans ran Bush the First, Dole and Bush the Second against Clinton and Gore, they tended to emphasize character. In 2000 that worked; in 1992 and 1996 it obviously didn't.
So I have to conclude that the American public doesn't know what it wants anymore. All I notice is that the country keeps moving farther and farther to the right, and the only Democratic president in the last 24 years has been a middle-of-the-road southerner.
I guess in the end, charisma helps. I'd bet that, everything else being the same, Kerry would have won if he'd had Clinton's charm. I just don't think that charisma's the only factor.
I agree with you about both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I am a Republican, but I was really, really impressed with Obama's speech at the Democratic Convention and anticipate that he'll be a contender in the 2012 election, if not 2008.
Very interesting observation about the lack of "viable" southern democrats, by the way, seeing as all of the Democratic presidents in recent history (Johnson, Carter and Clinton) have been from the South. You may be on to something.
Here in the South, we prefer the expression "crazy as an outhouse rat." I think you'd have to work hard to find someone of any political bent who'd describe him as "charismatic."
What a coincidence!!! I just left a lecture about Charisma. There are two types, intrinsic and extrensic. This election was paralleled by the prof to the Disraeli - Gladstone race in Britain years back.
A woman, after having eaten with either man on consecutive nights remarked, "I felt as if Mr. Gladstone was the cleverest man in England". The next next night she said "Mr. Disraeli made me feel like the cleverest woman in England".
Gladstone (Kerry) had an outward charisma that made people respect him, and drew people towards him.
Disraeli (Bush) had an inward charisma that made people feel good about themselves, and drew more people to him.