January 4, 2008
The Existential Analysis (Bob Franken)
@ 11:28 am
Some lessons from Iowa:
White people will vote for blacks. Since getting screwed these days is an equal-opportunity experience, color doesn’t matter as much as it used to.
Which would also explain why experience is trumped by the widespread desire for change. Just ask Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, and most of all, Hillary Clinton. If the first really serious female candidate for president is viewed as “same old, same old” she’s got problems.
She does have a problem, much like the one Mitt Romney has, and it illustrates another lesson: Voters are turned off by contrived candidates. Both come across as avatars, created daily by the smug graphic artists who call themselves “advisers.” We should also learn that hubris will always bite you in the ass, but these consultants can’t really deal with that because it would undermine their very profitable scam that is based on the false premise of their phantom expertise.
The corollary is that “real” sells, even if it’s phony. The understaffed and underfunded pastor Mike Huckabee wins by lulling everyone with an “aw, shucks” persona that obscures a harsh social agenda. He’s even able to come across as a populist at the same time he advocates a ridiculously regressive tax plan.
We can be sure the Clinton and Romney organizations will attempt some soul-searching. Problem number one is that their campaigns don’t really have much soul. So we’ll have to see if they come up with better slogans.
The Magical Mystery Tour now moves to New Hampshire as the candidates try to keep or regain their magic. Iowa is now soooooooooo yesterday. We don’t know yet if any of the lessons learned there were worth remembering or if the state really mattered, and how it will fit into the grand scheme of things.
Actually, the real lesson here is that there is no grand scheme of things.