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  • Feeelings

    Posted by David Foster on April 2nd, 2012 (All posts by )

    Daniel Henninger, writing in the WSJ, argues that the Democrats–and Obama in particular–are very good at the emotional appeal to voters: the Republicans, focusing on logical argument, not so much.

    Mr. Obama may not know much about the private economy, but he knows a lot about the uses of human anxiety. ..How can a president simultaneously hammer real job creation with the Keystone XL pipeline decision, then go into the country and claim kinship with the anxieties of the jobless? No problem. Just do it.

    It could work. If we know nothing else about Barack Obama it is that he can play “hope” like a Stradivarius.

    Read the whole depressing thing. I’d also note that Mitt Romney, in particular, has some real gaps in the ability-to-appeal-to-emotions department.

    Related: the coolness/squareness factor in politics.

     

    8 Responses to “Feeelings”

    1. Michael Kennedy Says:

      If we still have a majority who can recognize the difference between BS and coolness, we may yet survive the next decade. I am not at all sure that is the case. I look at my own children, who have had excellent educations, not in public school, but who seem oblivious to the coming crisis, and wonder if we will survive. If not, they will wonder what happened. They are bright, well educated, but do not seem to have a clue.

    2. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Oh Lord. Just calm down. Obama is not the master communicator. The only thing he has going for him is the MSM being completely in the tank. Very few people vevy see the candidates live. God knows, in 2004 they were here in Columbus every 15 minutes, and all I saw of either of the them was Air Force One parked at the airport one day while I was leaving town. The rallies are organized to the last pip. Unions jam Obama’s halls with their loyalists who clap and cheer on cue.

      OTOH, from what I have seen of him on TV, Romney is much more fluid and has better stage presence than did either Bush, or going back farther, Nixon. and that is 5 of the last 7 Republican presidents, Reagan was, of course, a professional actor, and Gerald Ford was not elected.

      Personally, I think the election will be determined by things, such as the price of gas, the number and quality of jobs (the ones people actually have not the statistics about them), and lots of subsequent events.

      For instance: Will Israel attack Iran? Foreign conflict usually helps the incumbent. Will Iran test an A-bomb? That would be a foreign policy failure that would hurt Obama. Will the European economy collapse in chaos? Will SCOTUS declare Obamacare unconstitutional? Does that hurt him by highlighting his fecklessness, or help him by giving him an issue? Today, he seemed to be warming up for a campaign against the Republican Supreme Court. Would that help him mobilize his base? Or would it completely alienate centrists?

      Stay cool. Keep your powder dry, and don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.

    3. Bill Brandt Says:

      I can’t add anything to what Robert said – a guy who is dependent on his teleprompter can’t be a “master communicator”

      OTOH it is foolish for one to not think this will be a tough fight.

      There have always been people who are lead by their emotions – seems like there are far more these days.

      But the economy will be the predominate factor

      Which in itself is depressing – considering what this guy is trying to do to the country – all coming down to the price of gas and if you are out of work.

    4. Tom Maguire Says:

      Sorry for the no-cite but IIRC it was only a few years ago that liberal pundits were whining that Democrats couldn’t break through with their logical messages about the need for more taxes and more government because Rove and Bush (and Atwater and Reagan before them) were masters of fear over, well, terror, married gays, Russkies, whatever.

      I infer that both sides have in their ranks members who believe that only an unthinking idiot could support the other side. Since I am married to an unthinking idiot (as is my wife), I try to rein it in a bit.

    5. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I was not giving reign to free floating anxiety (That’s next) but to how my kids, well educated and really intelligent people don’t seem to understand that the party is over. They are planning to spend a year in Europe (and one of them has someone to pay for it.) They are all making plans that depend on economic policies they don’t understand. These are not kids , several are over 40. There is no remedial education in economics these days, I was able to rake a freshman economics course in 1952 and see it all. Most of their concerns are, typical of liberals, concerned with social issues. If only all gays can marry, the probjems will be solved.

    6. Andrew_M_Garland Says:

      ()  People want free stuff.
      Obama is not naturally articulate, but he has speechwriters, a teleprompter, and a press which simplify the message and prevent questioning. Obamas message is simple: I’m the one who is going to give you free stuff, the stuff which profit-making companies have been keeping from you.

      ()  Democrats promise free stuff. Republicans promise a bit less free stuff.
      ()  Democrats have delivered free stuff for 50 years. They have credibility.
      ()  Democrats seem to be incompetent and wild-eyed. Still, there is the free stuff.
      ()  There may be disaster in the future. That is a matter of opinion, the free stuff is today.
      ()  Rational observers see the waste, lowered incomes, poor educations, bad public services, and missed opportunities already evident in the Democrat’s bureaucracies. There are too few rational observers to matter, and too few listen to them.
      ()  The distribution of free stuff will continue until the stores are empty.
      ()  People will stare at each other, blinking, wondering what happened. They will blame the shopkeepers, businessmen, and doctors for not working harder and for letting things collapse. They will again look to their caring politicians to bring them through the crisis.

    7. renminbi Says:

      Any polity dependent on the good character and intelligence of a majority of the electorate will go tango uniform eventually. Institutions die where their premises are unrealistic.

    8. lhf Says:

      I hope Romney ignores the mostly media created fluffup about his so called inability to communicate with the common man. We are not electing a talk show host – we are electing a president. The most important quality to look for is competence – lacking in the current occupant of the White House.

      Moreover, I don’t remember any talk about the wealth of Roosevelt, Kennedy, Gore, Edwards, Kerry, etc. being a bar to the presidency.

      Nor the Mormonism of the Udalls.