Obama Goes There: Pulls Race Rank on Republicans

Bad move, I think.

“We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run,” said the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. “They’re going to try to make you afraid. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. ‘He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’”

Even if Obama is dead positive that Republicans are going to push hard on racial prejudice, getting out there ahead of them is just dumb. It might help rally Democrats who’ll believe nothing but the worst of their political opposites, but the unavoidable implication Obama is making here is that Republicans and Independents are dangerously susceptible to racist cues.

Believe that’s true if you want. But you still can’t avoid the implication that it’s simply insulting to anyone who fancies themselves undecided and thus the implied fertile target of subtle bigotry. And that’s just not likely to win anyone over. As I noted before in response to an Obama support who sees racism everywhere, it’s basically a lose lose move.

In similar comments at a Chicago fundraiser last Thursday, Obama told supporters that Republicans would try to portray both him and his wife Michelle as “scary.”

“They’re going to try to make me into a scary guy,” he said last week. “They’re even trying to make Michelle into a scary person. Right?” And so that drumbeat – ‘we’re not sure if he’s patriotic or not; we’re not sure if he is too black.’

“I don’t know, before I wasn’t black enough,” said Obama. “‘Now he might be too black. We don’t know whether he’s going to socialize – well, who knows what.'”

It’s especially unfortunate, because otherwise Obama has things dead right here about what everyone from Fox to 527s will be busy doing over the next few months. Well, and of course what everyone from MoveOn to Michael Moore will be busy trying to do to McCain. They’ll just be telling different sorts of stories.

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33 Responses to Obama Goes There: Pulls Race Rank on Republicans

  1. The Dude says:

    You make some great points. Nobody benefits from a race-based election, but I fear that both parties will have its fair share of racism. Hopefully, it evens out and fair-minded people will make the call in 2008.

  2. sherpa says:

    mr. obama i hope your not going to change America wrong way. i did not saw that your going to change right way?

  3. Obama 08 not Mcsame 08 says:

    Obama is right and no offence but America is racist to black people. Stop Hating on Obama for being smart.

  4. Bruce says:

    Thanks Obama! You’ve TOTALLY OFFENDED ME AND MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY! We were undecided Independents but NOW, thanks to your arrogant and hateful race comments, we’re voting for MCCAIN. WE DON’T TRUST YOU ONE BIT! (And by the way, MY FAMILY IS OF MIXED RACES TOO, YOU PHONY!!!)

  5. Gerard says:

    Common America! tyou are better than that, I can´t believe you are buying Obama´s bull, he is a liar and changes his mind like the wind blows, what ever is convenient for him. Not a republican but at least you know what to expect with McCain.
    At the end of the day he will do what is best for Obama and Co not for the people.
    If this race was about integrity he would have ben out a long time ago!
    Putting the first Afro American in the white house is a good thing, however not a puppet, look whom he is serving, wake up people he is a FRAUD AND A LIAR!

  6. shannon says:

    First of all Obama does not have integrity and he is a liar. Secondly, Black Americans make up only 13 percent of this country’s race. If White people were so racist then how in the hell did he get elected as the democratic nominee. 90 percent of the black vote is going for a man who does not have any experience as a military commander or in foreign affairs for that matter. The people who he considers his mentors or friends are either blatant racist, terrorists, or criminals.

  7. Bad says:

    sherpa Says: mr. obama i hope your not going to change America wrong way. i did not saw that your going to change right way?

    Dave’s not here man.

  8. Bad says:

    Obama 08 not Mcsame 08 Says: Obama is right and no offence but America is racist to black people. Stop Hating on Obama for being smart.

    This doesn’t rally respond to anything I said. What I said was that even if you do think that there’s a high level of racist animus amongst ordinary Americans, jumping the gun and attacking Republicans for supposedly planning on exploiting it is still a poor strategy.

  9. Bad says:

    Common America! tyou are better than that, I can´t believe you are buying Obama´s bull, he is a liar and changes his mind like the wind blows, what ever is convenient for him.

    Whatever, snore.

    Not a republican but at least you know what to expect with McCain.

    It’s always a little startling to me how people can simultaneously hold two different contradictory ideas: that McCain is a thoughtful independent AND that he’s predictable and steady. Because thoughtful independents change their minds and positions unpredictably. And, in fact, I think there is a decent case to be made that McCain has changed his policy positions far more radically, far more quickly, back and forth, flip and flop, than what comes anywhere near Obamas few, relatively minor alterations in policy positions.

    At the end of the day he will do what is best for Obama and Co not for the people.

    This strikes me as the sort of silly, obsessed thing only someone already hyped up on precisely the sort of ultra-partisan rhetoric Obama is legitimately complaining about would say.

    If this race was about integrity he would have ben out a long time ago!
    Putting the first Afro American in the white house is a good thing, however not a puppet, look whom he is serving, wake up people he is a FRAUD AND A LIAR!

    No, I don’t see much evidence that he;s either. Moving on…

  10. Bad says:

    First of all Obama does not have integrity and he is a liar.

    I would say that whatever integrity he might have, you’ve started off on rather the wrong foot by just demonstrating that you have even less.

    Secondly, Black Americans make up only 13 percent of this country’s race. If White people were so racist then how in the hell did he get elected as the democratic nominee.

    This question makes about as much sense as asking “if sugar is so sweet, how come lemonade is still sour?!” A certain level of racism could still be logically compatible with him being a better candidate, and it not being quite enough to turn the balance (though enough to make it close). I personally don’t believe that was a big factor in the primary, but your mileage may vary. It’s sort of impossible to really tell for sure.

    And nothing I’ve criticized Obama for saying in this case involves him asserting that all white people are racist, let alone any white Democrats. Just that it’s a factor that he basically accuses Republican strategists at least consider to be an effective one. This is why it would have been better if he had followed these things up by saying that such manipulate tactics won’t work on Americans. Of course, that would be something of a falsehood: as people like yourself who are already dead-set believers in the idea that he’s without integrity and a liar demonstrate, those techniques are actually very effective.

    90 percent of the black vote is going for a man who does not have any experience as a military commander or in foreign affairs for that matter.

    Oh, so let me guess: in that case, you voted for Gore and Kerry, right?

    The people who he considers his mentors or friends are either blatant racist, terrorists, or criminals.

    You’ve either been watching way way too much cable news, or reading far too much from only one sort of partisan outlet.

  11. HGM says:

    Dude, your an idiot and obviously not up to date with the facts. McCain alrad has his 527 claiming we can’t elect a muslim. Showing images of Obama in a head scarf so the pigs on the right are have started with their racist taunts in their pathetic attempts to stop the unstopable. Take your vile ideology and hail President Obama!

    Oh and if your going to have a blog, it helps if you stay up to date with the issues.

  12. Raju says:

    I think he used the word “scary” appropriately. That is what the Republicans intend to do. The RNC is pretty good at these underhanded things.

    But bringing race this early, expecially if you are black is definitely the wrong thing to do. He is setting the tone for McCain to shove this down Obama’s throat. This is what I was afraid of, his naivete.

    This race is going to get dragged into the mud. Should have let the RNC fire the first shot on this one.

    Though I agree that there is a clear pattern in McCain’s strategy. Unlike Bush Jr. and Clinto, McCain is not a very smart campaigner. That’s why he lost out to Bush jr. Remember he is coming from a very weak field of republicans. Obama has come out of the toughest field of demcrats ever fielded.

    The RNC is betting that people are going to be afraid of putting an inexperienced man into office. That is why the call for him to run to Iraq. That is why the call for townhall meetings. They know Obama has a naive group of people backing him.

    So, I think he should wait everything out. Do what he did during the primaries which has brought him success. If he can beat Hillary Clinton, he can beat McCain.

    Stay the high road Mr. Obama. The scarier option is to put Bomb Bomb McCain into office!

  13. Bad says:

    HGM Says: Dude, your an idiot and obviously not up to date with the facts. McCain alrad has his 527 claiming we can’t elect a muslim.

    You’re thinking of a few fringe blogs and maybe the drudgereport, not any Republican outfit or 527 that has Tv up.

    Showing images of Obama in a head scarf so the pigs on the right are have started with their racist taunts in their pathetic attempts to stop the unstopable. Take your vile ideology and hail President Obama!

    If Republicans had a picture of John Kerry in a “Muslim-looking” headscarf, you think they wouldn’t have used it in the 2004 elections? This is sort of the problem. Very quickly any attack on Obama, even if it would have been used on any other Democratic politician, is ascribed to racism. If you want to see racism everywhere, there’s no doubt: you’ll see it everywhere. And it certainly is out there.

    My point, however, is that there’s little to gain from Obama making that a major issue. Whether or not a significant portion of the electorate is racist, he stands to gain very little, and lose quite a lot, by focusing on racism as a reason for the fact that he’s getting attacked and criticized. He’s getting attacked and criticized because he’s the Democratic nominee, first and foremost.

    Oh and if your going to have a blog, it helps if you stay up to date with the issues.

    Pointless, baseless accusation. I award no points. I keep up just fine, thanks.

  14. Bad says:

    Raju Says: I think he used the word “scary” appropriately. That is what the Republicans intend to do. The RNC is pretty good at these underhanded things.

    All too true.

    But bringing race this early, expecially if you are black is definitely the wrong thing to do. He is setting the tone for McCain to shove this down Obama’s throat. This is what I was afraid of, his naivete.

    Ditto.

    This race is going to get dragged into the mud. Should have let the RNC fire the first shot on this one.

    Precisely… maybe. I think Obama would stand to gain far more if it happened that someone in the RNC screwed up, said something that was interpreted as racist, and Senator Obama basically brushed it off as not important to his campaign and his goals. Treated it as pointless noise wasting his time. The point is to display a position of strength when it comes to race, not to keep highlighting it as a weakness. It’s much like choice of issues, choosing the battleground. In some cases, certain subjects and battlegrounds favor your opponents, and by getting pulled onto those subjects, you’ve already lost half the battle.

    Stay the high road Mr. Obama. The scarier option is to put Bomb Bomb McCain into office!

    Did you mean to say Bomb Omb here? Because that would have been funnier. :)

    I still don’t think McCain’s position on the war (which is hawkier than hawkish) deserves to be caricatured as all about bombing things, as if indiscriminately. He has a particular idea about the best strategy to accomplish certain goals. They may or may not be wrong, but they aren’t crazy or careless.

  15. Jaddy says:

    I actually think it was a great idea. By Osama oops Obama showing
    HIS true colors! (no pun intended) Lets see, he said he did not race to be an issue. Oh yes, who brought it up, twice in the past week? He switched his “take” on campaign money. I wonder if good ol’ Oprah helped him with that idea. Another one who switched, that said she would NEVER be involved in politics.
    Yes, he has shown he is a true switch hitter. I hope this wakes up
    the rest of this country, to his silver snake tongue.

  16. Bad says:

    Jaddy Says: I actually think it was a great idea. By Osama oops Obama showing HIS true colors! (no pun intended)

    ::Headslap::

    Lets see, he said he did not race to be an issue. Oh yes, who brought it up, twice in the past week?

    There’s a difference between not wanting race to be an issue, and (wrongly or rightly) being convinced that your opponents will make it one. But hey, you’re on a roll here, so why let a little thing like common sense slow you down?

    He switched his “take” on campaign money. I wonder if good ol’ Oprah helped him with that idea.

    Oh, no doubt they wrung their hands and twirled their mustaches while plotting this, all the while thinking about how they were also going to kidnap your lady friends and tie them to the train tracks. The curs!

    Another one who switched, that said she would NEVER be involved in politics.

    Yeah, right on! It’s totally crazy to come to care about something and for that to change your mind and get involved in something you thought you never would. Ordinary decent Americans people never do things like that. Think better of something. Only those nutty politicians!

    And that C.S. Lewis: what a lying hypocrite. First a non-believer, but then he flip-flops to Christianity! What nerve!

    Yes, he has shown he is a true switch hitter.

    Yes, this is another problem I had with his comments: he complains about race, when really, he should have been complaining that people were going to call him a big gay.

    I hope this wakes up the rest of this country, to his silver snake tongue.

    I dunno, you think it will be enough? Maybe you should buy an air horn and run around trying to get their attention. After all, he might kiss a baby with his sinister tongue on the campaign trail and give it Argyria.

  17. James says:

    Maybe Obama is half black. Maybe Obama is half white. Maybe Obama is 100% racist. He’s more like the middle number 6, clearly seen in both black and white. Maybe we should all just cast our votes AND get our personal affairs in order.

  18. Ticktock says:

    Maybe Obama is a human being who is not racist at all. Maybe people will be idiots and vote for another old white republican for the next eight years… again. My head hurts thinking about how stupid we must seem to the rest of the world.

    As to the original post, I think Obama is trying to compensate for the weakness that brought down Kerry’s campaign. Instead of weakly letting these private groups attack his character, he’s being pro-active and assertive. Good for him! This is a non-issue, and this post has only served to feed the trolls.

    Who cares if he brings up race? The enemy has already showed it’s ignorance and hate by calling his fist bump a “terrorist fist jab”. Fox News is the only news source that can get away with turning a low-information-signaling moment into a secret terrorist handshake. It’s sad that their tactics are actually working. Fox is constantly slipping (on purpose) by substituting “osama” for “obama”, and now the subtle racist fear-based attacks are slipping into people’s hateful comments above. Judging a person by his name is no better than judging a person by his skin, it shows the bigotry within.

    Peace.

  19. omegetymon says:

    THIS post has opened the door for me to say this. The subtlety of BAD’S premise is the *”SPINNERAST’S”, (A person that LURES those with unformed minds for the non-innocent intentions of…), way of making incisive comments. Like a verbal “BIRTH of a NATION”. TO use a view expressed here, THIS has been a true “SCREWTAPE LETTER”. This election has heard too many comments on RACE before Obama voiced the truth, and his making it public actually DISARMS any who’d attempt to do so from his flank. Most folks who’d complain of this act only do so from a “hooded” reasoning.
    The best part of commenting here is that the WORLD CAN NOW identify a few more of what it’s tired of. WE ALL thank you for this time.
    p.s.: St. Paul was a MURDERER of CHRISTIANS until G_D KNOCKED him ON/OFF HIS ASS.Switch hitters the *”LOT” of youse.

  20. Bad says:

    Ticktock: The issue is that when you start defining everyone, more and more and more people, as “the enemy,” you start to run out of voters who you can still convince to your cause. Obama is after independents (and seems to be doing quite well with them at the moment). But every time he brings up race, he basically plays into the picture that the Republicans really are unambiguously painting about him: that he’s a whiner, someone who dodges criticism by promising perfection and then retreating into victimhood.

    Who cares if he brings up race? I care, as someone interested in political messaging, and I said why I care. It think it’s a tactical error in some ways utterly regardless of the facts on the ground. Obama should never, not once, acknowledge race as a political weakness. He should only acknowledge it as a strength.

  21. Ticktock says:

    Well, I completely disagree. Obama is just playing political poker and pointing out the other guy’s “tell”. And his speech in no way implies that independents are ignorant and gullible. If anything, commenting on their Rovian tactics will remind independents why they are leaning left. And by calling the cards before they’re shuffled, Obama is neutering the inevitable subtle attacks that have already been coming his way. He has every right to call it out because they’ve already started stomping on his wife’s character, his faith, and his background.

    I see what you’re saying that he’ll come across whiny and defensive, but it seems like he’s trying to be candid about his expectations of the challenge. And, look what happened to Kerry when he resisted defending his character to save from looking whiny and defensive – he was dead in the water. That’s the exact gambit these guys are laying down. If you defend yourself against their bullshit, you look like a whiney pussy, but if you don’t say anything, you look weak. Well, we tried looking weak last election, and it didn’t work. I’ll settle for whiney pussy this time and hope that the independents are smart enough to know that he really isn’t.

  22. hollytraveling says:

    I respectfully disagree. While I can see your point, I do think Obama is playing it smart. Truthfully, he’s shirked away from the race issue throughout the primary. But, let’s be honest here, when you are a democrat running against a woman candidate, you kind of take for granted that it may not be an issue.

    But unfortunately, one of the scares with the demographic he needs most, is that they won’t vote for him because of his race. So naturally, this is going to be something that will be lurking under the table. I think, Obama was being a bit cheeky with the first comment about “Did I mention he’s black,” and in my opinion it was more of a reference to the subtle innuendos that will be going around in the coming months. And not being black enough is something that has already come up.

    It would be great to have an election where the race of the candidate is not an issue, but as progressive as we are all patting ourselves on the back for being right now, that’s just not going to happen. So bringing it out and putting himself on the offensive may be the smartest move he can make.

  23. Bad says:

    Ticktock Says: Well, I completely disagree. Obama is just playing political poker and pointing out the other guy’s “tell”.

    What other guy? I don’t think there has been any credible evidence of the RNC or McCain bringing race into the race. As far as Obama’s statements go, they’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

    And his speech in no way implies that independents are ignorant and gullible.

    Why else would anyone think they susceptible to racism? Why would the supposed craven Republicans employ it? Why would Obama care to fear it?

    I’m not a big fan of the “hitting back hard on everything” conclusion that people took away from Kerry’s case. It strikes me as no better founded in reality than any superstition people came up with as to why he lost. Sometimes it pays to hit back hard, sometimes it pays to let things pass. Taking away a lesson from one case of not predicting well enough which smears to hit back on that says that you should hit back on everything all the time is just silly.

  24. Bad says:

    hollytraveling Says: Truthfully, he’s shirked away from the race issue throughout the primary.

    The problem with the modern media machine, however, is that even one tiny mention can blow up into the biggest issue of the campaign. It’s hard to predict precisely what will, but it pays to be circumspect.

    But unfortunately, one of the scares with the demographic he needs most, is that they won’t vote for him because of his race. So naturally, this is going to be something that will be lurking under the table.

    Which is my point: if there is some such demographic, this doesn’t seem like a very effective way to appeal to it. Telling them that they are potentially racist and need to learn better is not going to go over well with those people.

  25. I’ve learned quickly to keep my opinions on Obama to myself. My geographical area is balanced re: GOP/Dems, but my workplace is at least 95% Democratic, mostly of the strongly liberal bent. No matter what I said or how I supported it, the whispers of ‘racist’ were loud and clear. A local, anecdotal account, but ‘all politics is local’.

    Long before I get to irrelevancies (to me) such as whether he’s right or left-handed, a sports fan, stick shift or manual guy, or whether he’s black, white, or grey, I find that he’s a freshman US Senator who has neither shamed himself nor proven himself on the national stage. My own researches failed to find any accomplishments (as yet) that say “president material’. When I’ve asked Obama supporters what he’s done to merit the US presidency I get a recital of his community activism in the Chicago area while an Illinois state senator. Good stuff he’s done for sure, but of the sort and at a level that wins you a US Senatorship, not the presidency. The US Senate is full of people whose accomplishments are equal to or better than Obama’s. This is not to disparage Obama – as a freshman US Senator he hasn’t had time to distinguish himself. Too inexperienced, too raw, and abstains too much from voting for my tastes, and he has revealed a bit of naivete here and there.

    So, currently I’m looking at McCain based on his much longer service and experience in the US Senate and because he has a record one may actually measure. Obama may or may not make a good Prez, but for me it won’t be this election.

    My whole point is that I’ve come to a reasoned personal position re: McCain vs. Obama without considering race whatsoever. Would that the rest of the nation do the same.

  26. Bad says:

    See, now that is a set of reasons for voting I can respect (unlike the bizarre: “via cable news clips, I’ve discerned what his true inner feelings and character are and I don’t like them” stuff), though of course I’d expect that you probably have positions on the issues that lean you more to McCain that also play into it that you just haven’t gone into.

    For me, I’m not a strong believer in the idea that the office really has any fully useful or reliable measure of experience. We’ve have terrible experienced Presidents, and pretty good under experienced ones, and I’m just not sure what the factors are that weigh one against the others. So, faced with at uncertainty, I mostly vote on the general sense of the likely policies and partisan weight matching up to what I want. Outside of that, I guess I’m just far less sure that we can ever reliably predict what someone is going to turn out to be in the office: even someone with far more of a track record than Obama.

    Whoever thought that the George Bush of 2000 would be more gung-ho for foreign adventure? I doubt even he knew it then. Events changed him in ways that no voter could have ever predicted on that.

  27. James says:

    Clearly, well said food for thought. My nephew (works in rather high-tech manufacturing, in PA) finds himself in the same position. I’ll refer him to your comment (and all of the others on this thread).

    However, I think that race will probably always be an issue in US politics as long as 90%+ of the black population keeps consistently (and exclusively) voting for a Liberal candidate, at ALL levels of office (local and national). Whether one wants to acknowledge it as being a relevant factor or not, probably has to do with the tried limits of his own perspectives, hopes, or general life expectations. I know that the laws of the land seem very clear concerning aspects of race and who is to be compliant. White guilt is very prevalent.

    I, too (like McCain) am an ‘old white Republican’ [converted from a young Kennedy Democrat by the great Lyndon B. (B for balls, not brains) Johnson], but I can say here and now that if Colin Powell (whom I believe to be a left-of-center Republican) were running for President I would actively join his grass-roots organization and go door-to-door supporting him. In November, I would walk through a monsoon of driving rain to get to the poll to vote for him. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any indication that McCain has considered him for the VP spot on his ticket. However, I still have hope.

    As a voter, I believe that ineptitude in a Liberal is a potentially far greater social evil than ineptitude in a Conservative. [Now THAT’S one for a real out-of-the-box argument…the lesser of evils.] I can remember from my youth that flaws in the establishment are not that difficult to find and point out; civilization (not Utopia) carries a lot of baggage. Most of the so called ‘NEW IDEAS’ (remember Gary Hart?) cures that actually get defined end up not being ‘NEW’ at all, but re-runs of already tried or discarded solutions of the past. But I guess that history will continue to repeat itself because Liberals won’t ever go away and Conservatives won’t ever get it ‘right’. Anyway, I do believe that many more qualified (more adept & experienced) people than Barack Obama have failed at bringing about positive CHANGE throughout history. His limited experience does not exactly portend any success (for him) in an age so frail for all of humanity. And I’ll tell you something else. ‘Old people’ clearly (typically) see a loss of opportunity to rectify their poorly made choices when it comes to making a CHANGE. I think that we all become Conservatives (to varying degrees) as we age and clearly come to recognize the rapid approach to the end of our own days and our own opportunities to make (and correct, as may be the case) changes to the establishment.

    During the primary, the Democrats (and the Liberal media) have a consistently promoted the ideal that our country should either elect a woman or a black to the Presidency as a message of progress to the rest of the world. Has the message changed? Do we really owe it to the world to elect Barack Obama because he is a half-qualified (job experience & skill) and black candidate for the job? I think that the purpose of filling the office with the most adept candidate is the bottom line priority for me. That’s my perspective from my sandbox of life.

  28. Bad says:

    Again, I really don’t see much correlation between experience and success when it comes to this particular office: it’s just too unpredictable, too all over the map as to what really contributes to success or failure. I can imagine as many scenarios in which experience hurts and cripples as I can inexperience causing mistakes. No one is really ready for the office until they’ve been in it, oh, about two or so terms. Then they’re ready. :)

    As for the African American population sticking with the Democrats, well, I think the problem is that by and large, the Republican party just hasn’t made any serious effort to win them over. You see token (no pun intended, sadly) efforts every election season, but little attempt to connect with African Americans, especially urban ones who make up the Democratic “base” on issues that they care about. For starters, Republicans need to promote and recruit more African American candidates. And by that, I don’t mean finding an African American in a heavily Democratic district that you toss out there because you have nothing left to lose. I mean, strong African American candidates that you put up in YOUR base districts. If Republicans take that seriously, they might well see a shift in attitudes.

    It’s hard to tell where Collin Powell stands. I think the issue with him may well just be that he doesn’t want to be a politician. Which is easy to understand: it really sucks to be one a lot of time, and he’s been close enough in his career to know just how much. But if that’s not entirely the issue, then again: it may be a matter of the Republican party not wanting him bad enough.

    If they lose this election, they may decide that they do want it bad enough: that they have to try something new at least. We’ll see.

  29. Grendel The Martyr says:

    As Bad noted in his penultimate post, no candidate will have had all possibly pertinent experiences, and the vagaries and unpredictability of political events both internal and external usually lead to that saw about some being born to greatness and others having it thrust upon them. Experience doesn’t conclusively indicate how a candidate will do once in office and once domestic and world events are thrust onto his menu. To me, it makes at least logical sense that the more generally experienced candidate is more likely to have encountered a given problem or issue before, and may have the greater fund of knowledge and contacts required to properly address the problem at hand. Having said that, I realize I’ve tried to apply logic to American politics, and my more cynirealistic* side snickers behind my own back.

    If I recall correctly, state Governors tend to win election to the US presidency far more often than do US Senators and certainly more so than US Representatives or Cabinet members. Hard to say if that’s because Governors are also from the executive branch and have actual experience running a large government administrations, while Senators emit from the legislative branch and have typically managed only their own senatorial offices. Of course, both Governors and Senators may have run large corporations prior to that office, which brings organizational experience on a large scale.

    Truth be told, as I write I’m coming up with as many negatives as positives regarding my loose rule to favor the experienced where all else is equal. Argh. Number one among those is the fact that my above paragraph might outline which sort runs for office better rather than which actually serves better. Case in point: I was of voting age in 1980 when Jimmy Carter ran and won. Why not like the guy? Governor, well-educated nuclear physicist, populist with apparent sincerity, etc., etc. Alas, he had the Iranian hostage crisis and a declining economy thrust upon him and pretty much botched both issues.

    Like most voters, my early candidates never seem to win a spot on the ballot. (I still have my Pat Paulsen For President t-shirt, albeit a raggedy tangle, stored somewhere in the attic). Like many voters, at each presidential election cycle it seems like I support two-thirds of one party’s platform, one-third of the other’s, a split that obviates any allegiance by me to a particular party. I’ve been registered as ‘undeclared’ since the late 1970s.

    RE: Colin Powell – The Vice Presidency strike me as a big step downward from Secretary of State or JCS Chairman. My thought is that you’d want the VP only as a stepping stone to the Presidency, and he’s made no show of wanting that.

    *’Cynirealistic’ or ‘cynirealism’ was coined on the spot, no doubt inspired by this fine blog I’ve just recently discovered, and is meant to describe that situation where one cannot tell if one is being cynical or realistic on a given topic or issue, and is likely exhibiting a justified bit of both. If the term is deemed worthy, I hereby cede ownership of it to this blog for future use. If it be stupid, I blame it on pain meds (I had minor surgery this morning).

  30. Bad says:

    To me, it makes at least logical sense that the more generally experienced candidate is more likely to have encountered a given problem or issue before, and may have the greater fund of knowledge and contacts required to properly address the problem at hand.

    I certainly agree that this scenario is possible. It’s just that the scenario of them having learned the wrong lessons from their experience, or even overconfidence leading to error, are equally possible.

    It’s one thing to demand experience when it comes to, say, a technical skill. but decisive decision making and playing president is not any sort of coherent, quantifiable technical skill. We aren’t even all very good judges of the outcomes, because we’re all so heavily colored by our ideas of what political moves fit our politics or not.

  31. Grendel The Martyr says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s always the other guy whose influencing ideas are colored, not me.

  32. […] thoughts were inspired by this post at The Bad Idea […]

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