Thursday, December 22, 2016

Don't feed the warhorses, and careful with the lightning rods

People may be sick of political introspection, but for those who can handle a little more, here's a list of old warhorse nominees:

H. Clinton
Bush Sr.

Plausible additions, although not a perfect fit:

These are people that had been prominent for a long time and had done a lot of favors inside their party, so they had built alliances within the elites and started their campaigns with a fair amount of name recognition within their parties. They also didn't do very well in winning the Electoral College. Bush Sr is the only partial exception, going 1-for-2.

I suppose Reagan could be argued as a counter-example, but he wasn't very cozy with Republican elites in 1980, and that's also going back a ways in political history. Even if you did include him, the warhorse win-loss record is pretty bad.

Our political system, for worse rather than for better, values newness and "authenticity" over experience, compromises and baggage. I'm open to suggestions as to how that can change, but I'm not up for beating my head against the wall. The warhorses don't make good general election candidates, and Democrats shouldn't choose them in upcoming elections.

And good news, the only warhorses Ds have lying around these days are former nominees and Biden, none of them likely to run again. But the problem will return someday.

Second and related issue is prominent Democrats becoming lightning rods for Republican lies. Hillary was their target with the willing assistance of the New York Times and some other media. The result made her the second-most unpopular nominee in history.

Hillary wasn't the sole target of hate and lies - before her, it was Gore. While I hate to let the Republicans win their little game, maybe it's time for a little political judo - the Republicans are  spending all their lies on warhorses they see as future nominees, and those people aren't the best nominees anyway. So don't nominate the lightning rods that Republicans have been lying about, and use 2008 as a model. The Republicans had no coherent critique of Democrats, let alone a message of their own, and just had Hatred for Hillary. That let Obama define a completely different, hopeful, and moderately progressive alternative.

We'll see what the Republican game plan will be for 2020 - something tells me that it won't be a positive message based on a record of accomplishments. They also won't have 2008's McCain who tamped down on a new set of lies against Obama.

I'm not saying run from any candidate the Republicans start lying about, just to choose wisely instead.


Anonymous said...

I don't see anything remarkable to choose, Brian, therefore I choose myself. Me. I. Tommy. Running as a Robert M. LaFollette Progressive from Madison, Wisconsin, as the founder of the Progressive Party of the United States of America, a party of science and a party of one.

Me. So by solving problems directly using science, I have completely eliminated the political middlemen. That's bound to save some money.

Of course, it may put a lot of scientists out of work as well. But they have the skills to easily retrain themselves in other fields.

Those fields clearly won't be sociology and economics.

Bryson said...

Don't forget Kerry, victim of Rove's brilliant campaign to defuse the risk of W's National Guard "service" record by turning a man who fought (and then dared to criticize) the war in Vietnam, a decorated combat veteran, into a "liar" (drawing on Nixon's bit of rat-f'ing as he tried to undermine Kerry's criticism of the war). Mudslinging is a long-run accumulates over time, even when it seems to have been washed off or forgotten, the Republicans have been brilliant at re-applying it whenever convenient...

Greg said...

The really ideal (in a Machiavellian sense) approach is to strongly feint that you're going with a known warhorse ... but secretly that warhorse has agreed to be the lightning rod and tanks the Primaries in favor of the new shiny candidate. The trouble with implementing this is twofold: (1) Keeping such a plan secret; (2) Almost no one with a conceivable shot at the Presidency would agree to tank it.

David B. Benson said...

Use libel laws to the fullest.

nowadaysclancycantevensing said...

Reagan was a darling of the Conservative Elites even before he became Gov of California, Mr. Rabbit. He was chosen specifically by those elites to run for that important California position.

David B. Benson said...

Senator Martin Heinrich for President!

Brian said...

Bryson - yes those lies about Kerry were outrageous in the AWOL George. No question that when it's clear who the Democratic nominee will be, the lies will come fast and furious regardless of the person. In case of Gore and Hillary though, they were doing this years in advance.

Greg - agree with all parts of that, make deliberate what happened by accident in 2008. And that it's not going to happen, unfortunately.


Blogger David B. Benson said...
Use libel laws to the fullest.

the Founders would approbate this advice, to spare the high cost of horsewhip repair, and the expense of commuting to Weehawken

Hank Roberts said...

So why does the Orbiting Carbon Observatory video show a flat Earth? Diskworld shape ....

EliRabett said...

NASA couldn't afford the sphere.

More likely the geometry made the calculation simpler. There is a weird boundary condition at the polar wall.