Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bill Richardson

Ed Morrissey dramatically declares that Bill Richardson could be 2008's "most dangerous candidate." Not dangerous to the country, mind you, (actually, he'd probably be pretty good for the country if he won) just dangerous to the other candidates' chances of winning the Presidency. To support this, he touts Richardson's impressive resume, which includes stints as a Congressman, U.N. Ambassador, U.S. Secretary of Energy, and Governor of New Mexico. I don't know how much of an advantage that really is in an election, though. Absolute neophytes don't win their party's nomination, but beyond that, Americans generally vote for the guy with more charisma. I don't see a clear record of nominations or winners by the more "qualified" candidate and furthermore, I don't think people necessarily should vote for somebody based on their curriculum vitae. Lord knows there are plenty of incompetent people at all levels of government. What's more important is whether you trust your candidate to make good decisions. I'm sure Richardson will tout his experience, and it will be a plus for him, but he has to run on his ability to communicate his ideas with the voters.


At Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 4:51:00 PM PST, Blogger Ryan said...

While charisma is important, it's a mistake to think that presidential elections are decided primarily by one attribute. This is a common pundit's fallacy, and as with the canard "the tallest candidate always wins", you'll see all kinds of crap perpetuated with alarming regularity simply because some data is out there that correlates.

If charisma is the primary thing, we should just give it to Obama now. None of the candidates, added together, will out-charisma the guy. But what's important to keep in mind is the narrative. Every election has a narrative, and the 2008 narrative for voters will be: why was Bush so terrible and how can we avoid electing someone so awful this time? Is it because he's too stubborn? Too dumb? Too inexperienced? Too right-wing? Too political?

It's going to end up as a race for candidates to define themselves against Bush, whoever offers the best anti-Bush narrative will win, I think. That doesn't mean the guy who most hates Bush -- a Republican's narrative (which would be implicit, unlike as the explicit anti-Bush messages Democrats will offer) might go something like this: Bush failed because he's a privileged, unthinking dolt who lacked the experience for leadership in a time of crisis; I, John McCain, will hold true to Republican values but will have the experience and judgment to make good decisions.

At Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 5:19:00 PM PST, Blogger Adam Villani said...

You're right; my original thoughts on this were that a candidate's c.v. was one of several important factors, but the post didn't really come out that way.

You're also right in saying that Obama has more charisma in his little finger than the other folks put together.

The other day I had a conversation in which I noted that for each candidate, I could think of good reasons for why they couldn't win. And for one of those candidates, I'm going to be wrong.

Is the Republican nomination McCain's to lose? In elections past, the narrative on McCain was that he was too much of a maverick to win his party's nomination, but would win a general election easily. But is his moment past now that he's decided to suck up to George Bush? Will the Bush suck-up help his chances in the primaries and hurt him in the general election? Maybe. Well, somebody's gotta win.


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