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View Diary: Brad Carson speaks - and pens a brilliant TNR article (348 comments)

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  •  Unsure of your meaning (none)
    These are all perceptions.  Kerry "looked dilletantish" is rather, for me at least a mystifying word.  Uptight? Prudish? East Coastish?

    He is who is is I suppose -- a man born in wealth, and achieved much.  A man to whom life and its struggles are serious issues.  Definitely not like Bush.

    That Bush is reassuring and Kerry and his serious is not is simply beyond my Minnesota-style brain.

    It would seem that Bush is non-threatening.  Kerry's seriousness makes them feel inferior somehow (well he knows a hell of lot more than me that's for sure), and they reject it.  

    •  Yeah, I'm not being very clear. (none)
      The problem is that I don't think Kerry did look to a lot of people in red states like a man for whom "life and its struggles are serious issues" -- I think that's the problem.  There are a few specific things he did wrong on that score, but it was more a general impression.  He looked removed from everyday concerns, like someone who didn't have to worry about the things that a lot of average people worry about.  My grandmother is hopeless as a convert, and so a bad example, but she's from NC and hates Edwards -- "Mr. Moneybags" she calls him.  I remember when, after 911, she was convinced the terrorists were going to poison Lake Gaston.  She'd never in a million years connect Kerry or Edwards to dealing with that concern.  She did make the Bush connection, that somehow he might think about something like that because he understood how people like her thought.  My grandmother is a piece of work in a lot of ways but she does want her government to protect her and pay her social security, and I think to understand why she needs her social security and what she's afraid of.  There's a gap there we're not breaching.

      I'm by no means an expert on Red America compared to most here.  Not even close.  But those are my impressions.

      By the idea of community...we are all enriched and ennobled. -- Michael Dukakis

      by tlaura on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 10:33:39 PM PST

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      •  In some ways, true (none)
        I don't think Kerry came across as a guy who really understood the struggle of regular Americans.  The knee-jerk response is to say, well, it's because he was born into such privilege and is now so wealthy, and that's the image the GOP painted.  I tend to think it's simply a matter of personality, that he's just a big-picture kind of thinker who's more interested in grand theories and foreign policy and such - and you could surely find people with similar personalities, who don't focus a lot of attention on how to pay the bills, in every town in America.  (They're not a majority, certainly!)

        The other problem I see is that Dem strategists oddly compound the problem of seeming out-of-touch by having candidates do things like really obvious photo-ops and use transparently manufactured talking points in order to assuage voters' concerns on this or that issue.  The campaign becomes a big game of connect-the-dots ordered by polls and focus groups, and nobody is fooled.  

        We must cultivate our garden.

        by daria g on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 10:53:05 PM PST

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        •  Yes, our candidates (4.00)
          don't talk to the voters.  For the two election cycles I've followed, we've had very bright and I think very public-minded nominees repeating their talking-point slogans and nobody knows what they mean because they try to condense big theories of government and policy into these little soundbites.  Every time Kerry said something like "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" or "It's your ecomony, Mr. President.  You break it, you own it" I cringed.  One of the staffers wrote that for him and it was very clever but not very real.

          The goosehunt too.  People said the problem was that Kerry looked "fake".  But part of me thought, how can he afford to go hunting during the most important election of our lifetime?  That's an angle I don't think Shrum took into consideration but I bet a lot of people asked themselves that.

          I'm not trying to beat up on Kerry.  He's a great man.  He had some great moments -- that last twenty minutes of the third debate had me melting for him.  But these problems are chronic.

          By the idea of community...we are all enriched and ennobled. -- Michael Dukakis

          by tlaura on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 11:10:14 PM PST

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        •  Re: In some ways, true (none)
          "The other problem I see is that Dem strategists oddly compound the problem of seeming out-of-touch by having candidates do things like really obvious photo-ops..."

          Good lord!  If anything, we have too few really obvious photo-ops, and too little well-planned stagecraft.

          Do you think we would have done better in Ohio if Kerry hadn't shot the goose?  I don't.

          ---

          The trick is in hooking the really obvious photo-ops to the campaign's larger message.  And since the Kerry campaign never had a larger message, that was hard to do.

          •  Oh, I liked the hunting photo-op (none)
            For some reason, I felt like it worked for Kerry.  Just intuition.  But he really is the sportsman type, and he didn't look foolish out there.  In fact, maybe they should have sent him out on hunting trips more often.

            But.. I guess what bothers me is that the stagecraft looks like stagecraft, and it shouldn't.  It looks like X moment set up to appease X constituency, Y moment set up to speak to Y, and Z to Z, with no underlying purpose to any of it - no sense that this is who the candidate is, or how he'd actually spend his time.  Most folks don't wonder about how all those cameras happened to catch George W Bush clearing brush at the ranch wearing jeans and a cowboy hat, they just think hey, Dubya's clearin' out some brush again, look at that.  

            We must cultivate our garden.

            by daria g on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 11:21:51 PM PST

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            •  gun stunts (none)
              A gun show type Libertarian acquaintance said he'd vote for Kerry if he saw him break down and clean his shotgun. "Anyone can squeeze off a couple rounds."

              Your Blunder War is showing.

              by ben masel on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 07:12:55 AM PST

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