Empty Days

Friday, March 26, 2004



Here's something interesting I read in comments on yet another previously unknown blog (BOPnews). That comes in response to an open question there: I see a few reports here and there that Bush is rising in the polls again. I wonder if anyone has an explanation.
Former President Clinton said correctly that people will prefer a leader that is strong and wrong, versus weak and right.

Right now I'm about to get several dem's piling on me on the "strong" appellation to Bush, so let me qualify. "Strength" is defined here as the willingness to use extreme measures and/or physical force to achieve social dominance. This essentially implies that people prefer ruthless dictators to pacificistic democratic leaders.

Then you add to it that Bush is essentially a partisan leader. He doesn't represent Americans in general, just his "base". The only time a "strong" leader is not preferred of course, is when he's not your leader.

If you think about it, this entirely explains why the country is split the way it is. My former colleagues the Republicans are united around their "strong" leader, while Democrats are getting politically marginalized.

As for the Bush surge, think about Rove's ads. They all attempt to portray John Kerry as weak, indecisive, or incapable of ruthlessness. Almost all Democratic attacks attempt to portray Bush as ruthless, corrupt, or callously incompetent. However these inadvertantly only reinforce his base-line support.

That's what Dem's don't get. It's not enough to portray Bush as ineffective, selfish, and abusive of power. Those will only help him get relected.

We're talking essentially about a challenge situation. Kerry has to show himself able to challenge Bush in basic ruthlessness, cunning, and decisiveness. Only then if he's nicer will he get the electoral nod.

I've tried explaining this before and have been told that the jobs situation and Iraq will defeat Bush, not Kerry. I think this is idealistic, but dead wrong. Think about Dukakis. Think about Dole falling off the podium. People won't vote in a weak President. They will vote in a corrupt or lying one. But not a weak one, or one percieved as weak, especially not when they're concerned about security.

They'd rather have the big mean ineffectual corrupt alpha male than the well intentioned but not so nasty nice guy. That's the key to this whole thing.

Posted by Oldman at March 22, 2004 07:06 AM
That's a very keen point, imho. And while I am at it here's an entry from Oldman's blog per se - and, fuck, I like the sound of it:
As an old-time Republican from a family of Republicans from a politically conservative area, I have to say that at this point I'd rather vote for a yellow dog than vote for GW Bush. I don't hate Bush. His father got my vote. [...]
Maybe I am a libertarian and don't know myself? :-0





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