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Abraham Lincoln
A drinking buddy? (Wikimedia Commons)
I don't know about the rest of you, but when I'm looking for a new doctor the first thing I consider about the candidates is whether or not I'd like to have a beer with them. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I immediately headed out to a bar to find an oncologist. I use the same criterion when searching for lawyers and accountants, and you can be sure that I would never hire anyone who prefers wine or tea or orange juice. I'm also certain that school administrators use the beer standard when interviewing applicants for teaching positions, and it goes without saying that nothing could be more important when evaluating police officers and firefighters and operators of heavy machinery. Education, skill, intelligence, experience, courage and integrity are nothing compared to the consummate definition of competence, talent and wisdom that is being able to shoot the shit over a beer.

Of course, no one would take that first paragraph seriously. No one who is a serious person, anyway. It's absurd at face value. And yet a recurring theme that pretty well defines the degradation and insipidity of our national political theater is the idea that we should seek political candidates with whom we'd like to have a beer. It's supposed to be some sort of test of character, but it's actually a testament to the level of idiocy with which some regard the very concept of governance. It was one of the means by which the traditional media manipulated the 2000 presidential election. Al Gore was so clearly much more qualified and prepared to be president that some other standard had to be established to create at least some semblance of a rationale for the very candidacy of the Lesser Bush. So it was the beer standard.

The idea behind the beer standard is that it makes someone a regular guy, which was particularly absurd as applied to Bush, because the son of a president, the grandson of a senator, and the snotty child of privilege and aristocracy whose young adulthood was most notable for the number of times he got arrested for being a reckless boorish asshole will ever be a regular guy. But the standard was even more absurd by its own standard, because who would want to waste precious moments of a life with a dissolute lout who squandered endless opportunities to become something more than a dissolute lout who squanders opportunities? But then the traditional media helped cast Bush as a rancher, despite his not having any actual cattle on his ranch, and as a cowboy, despite there being no evidence that he even knew how to ride a horse. But the bigger problem with the beer standard wasn't Bush; it was the very concept that in evaluating presidential candidates, we should be looking for a regular guy, invented or otherwise.

The national press corps hated Al Gore. They sneered at him for acting like he was the smartest guy in the room, mostly because they felt diminished by the fact that he actually was. They were petty and vindictive and intimidated and insulted, and they never really bothered to notice that the smartest guy in the room had the smartest ideas about running the country. So we ended up with an administration that incompetently ignored screaming warnings about what would turn out to be the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil, an administration that incompetently allowed the perpetrator of that attack to get away, an administration that then manipulated the national trauma over that attack to launch two failed wars (one of which had nothing to do with that terrorist attack), an administration that manipulated the national trauma over that attack for the most cynical means of political gain, an administration that then ignored the screaming warnings that a great city was in imminent danger from a natural disaster that turned into an unnatural catastrophe, and an administration that crashed the economy. Al Gore ended up with a Nobel Peace Prize.

(Continue reading below the fold)

The beer standard of political acceptability hasn't gone away. When Bush ran again in 2004, the major media actually polled the beer standard, which by then had to them been fully legitimized. And it has reappeared this year most prominently in the Massachusetts Senate race. Incumbent Republican Scott Brown has donned the mantle of being the candidate people want to have a beer with, which might in some ways be a good thing considering the embarrassment that was his earlier career doffing his mantle. Not that the career itself is necessarily an embarrassment, but as with his political career Brown is capable of turning any career into an embarrassment. And then we get this kind of embarrassment:

"I'm undecided but I'm leaning towards Brown," says Joe King while watching his children play. “He seems like a regular good guy; he seems like someone who comes down to a field, or someone who, if you saw him at a bar, you’d have a drink with him, you know?”
No, I don't know. And I wonder if Joe King actually said that on his own, without prompting from a reporter who hopes to make a name in the major media. Do people actually talk like that? Do people actually think like that? Has the deliberate dumbing down of our political discourse really so infiltrated public consciousness that an actual person actually says that all on his own?

Brown's Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren, is all sorts of wonky brilliance. No one will ever accuse Brown of the same. So he's relying on the beer standard, which apparently will net him at least one vote. Certainly, being the candidate people want to have a beer with is a better image than is being the toady of Wall Street or the toady of the oil industry, and one imagines he'd rather not be known as the lying boorish buffoon. So beer it is. Along with the hope that Massachusetts voters are shallow and stupid enough to fall for it. Which clearly is Brown's hope:

"Listen, the bottom line is the way that she's approaching things, knowing better than others how to do things. The federal government can do things better than individual businesses and individuals, I think there is an elitist attitude there in the way that she's communicating to us as citizens and telling us how to do things, who should be taxed, who should not be taxed. I'm going to continue to do what I've always done and that's find solutions."
So if he doesn't think he knows better, and thinks it's elitist to presume to tell people how to do things, what's the point of his looking for solutions? Does anyone want solutions from someone who seems to be admitting that he doesn't know better? Does anyone want solutions from someone who apparently so lacks self-confidence in his own ability to find solutions as to think it elitist to want to tell us what those solutions are? And this guy is a U.S. senator?

The beer standard probably won't be a factor in this year's presidential race, given that both President Obama and Mitt Romney went to elite schools and Ivy League universities, and both have earned more money than most people will in their entire lives. The president seems more the guy to talk sports. Romney seems more the guy to talk about his friends who own sports. The president seems a genuine fan. Romney mocks the fans, apparently for not being the outrageously ostentatious spender he is, while bragging about his friendships with the owners. But even if he's much too much the boy in the aristocratic bubble to pull it off, Romney also attempts to depict himself as a regular guy. By lying about having attended baseball games he clearly didn't attend. By blustering about the joy of hunting varmints. While pursuing a political agenda designed primarily to further enrich the already incomprehensibly rich. Such as himself.

Did eight years of Bush not prove that being stupid is neither charming nor admirable, and definitely is not a selling point in a political candidate? Most historians and most people even vaguely aware of history consider Franklin Delano Roosevelt to have been the greatest of 20th century U.S. presidents. Was he the guy people would have wanted to have a beer with? Roosevelt was an avuncular effete aristocrat, but his political agenda made clear that he cared for people and that he wanted to make the nation a better place for everyone, and it was obvious that he was unabashedly smart. As if being smart is something about which to be abashed. Abraham Lincoln was staggeringly intelligent, as even a cursory review of his writings can attest, and he was dour and depressive and a loner. Probably not traditional fun at a bar or over a drink, but definitely a conversationalist who would have left most sober listeners awestruck. And in the opinion of most historians the greatest of 19th century U.S. presidents. The worst crises in the history of this nation were the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II, and the presidents who led this nation through them were not regular guys. They were extraordinary leaders with extraordinary talents.  

Governance is not a game. It is not for amateurs or lightweights. On the federal level it includes national security and the most fearsome weaponry ever devised; it involves the protection and nurturing of the world's largest economy; it involves the application of sciences and technologies that sent people to the moon, created the internet, and monitor and defend against natural disasters and pandemic diseases. It involves ensuring that the air and water are clean, the food safe to eat, and that the children of today will have opportunities to lead full healthy lives for all of their tomorrows. Government officials routinely make or are made by history. To pretend that governance is simple or that anyone can do it, or that we want it led by people with little knowledge and experience or charming but average intellects, is every bit as absurd as it would be to go seeking for surgeons in bars.

If people want drinking buddies, they should call their friends who drink. If they want competent government, they should look for political candidates who aren't afraid to demonstrate that at this most complex and critical occupation they have what should be the requisite commensurate competence.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I used to follow the casual sex standard . . . (56+ / 0-)

    "which candidate would make the best one-night stand?" but that got me off track last time around with Edwards so I need something new.


    I'm going to try the rescue standard . . . "which candidate would be most likely to rush into a burning building to rescue my ass?"

    I can’t decide who’s cuter – the dead guy with the arrows in his chest, or the guy in the ditch with the seeping wound. -- Game of Thrones (Heard on Set)

    by prodigal on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:22:36 AM PDT

  •  This is also related to dismissive arguments... (35+ / 0-)

    from people on the right. Two very powerful arguments for conservatives/republicans are:

    1. "I don't need to know all that [to make a decision]."

    2. "All I know is..."

    Both of these things basically say that the person speaking has set the standard that, by being less knowledgeable, they are somehow more qualified.

    Yes, being able to drink beer better than another candidate somehow makes you more qualified to govern, to solve the economic crisis, to end global warming, etc.

    What the hell is wrong with this country?

    •  They think that gut feelings never go wrong (18+ / 0-)

      They're almost as reliable as dart-board decision making.

      The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

      by freelunch on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:30:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So how do you decide when everyone in the (0+ / 0-)

      game is smarter and has more money than you do?  

      No, I am serious, given where most people are, dumber and poorer than all the 1% who are telling them what to do, how should they decide?

      . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

      by 88kathy on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:58:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have to admit I am completely confused (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        by this comment.

        Are you agreeing with me or not?

        •  Why Don't You Two Go Have A Beer Together (4+ / 0-)

          And talk it over?

          Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

          by TerryDarc on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:19:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I am agreeing with you. But I am asking how (3+ / 0-)

          a regular not too bright not too affluent person is supposed to decide.  

          I can see why people just give up and look for something that rings true.  Some little thing.

          People that can understand don't always have time, and people that have the time don't always have the smarts.  

          . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

          by 88kathy on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:40:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ok, I get it now at least. (6+ / 0-)

            To quote Socrates:

            I know that I do not know, and therefore I am wise.
            I know it doesn't apply directly in this context, but the dumb person has to take the first step and realize that they are not smart. At that point, hopefully they will take the logical step to support people who support educational opportunities for people like them and their children. Then hopefully the state can provide opportunities for them to educate themselves or their offspring.

            My wife has a PhD in Education Administration. During her studies she summed it up this way:

            If there is one thing I have leared in my studies, it is that if you are born poor, you are pretty much fucked. However, education has always been shown to be  method to rise out of poverty and make better decisions not only for yourself, but everyone else as well.
            Education is the key, and Regan systematically attempted to dismantle educational opportunities for people who did not agree with him. He felt that education was an individual improvement, but it is not, it is a society's investment in its own citizenry.

            Put it simply: Is an educated person more likely to vote for a candidate who wants to "keep government hands off your medicare," or one who says, "we need to fix global warming."

            This thinking has nothing to do with wealth. Sure wealthy people are more likely to be educated, but I suspect the majority of PhD graduates are not in the top 1% of earners. What does that tell you?

      •  I think it is a mistake (8+ / 0-)

        to conflate rich and smart, poor and dumb, as you have done, unless you mean dumb as in voiceless, which the poor surely are in the political context.

        We need to do something about that.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:22:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, I didn't want to get into it, ... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          88kathy, Only Needs a Beat, Orinoco

          but I saw that, too. I wasn't making any argument related to being poor.

          However, she also used 1% terminology, but already said that most people are "dumber" than the 1%. So this implies that she agrees with the rich = better argument. Makes no sense.

        •  Dan Quayle agrees! (5+ / 0-)
          I think it is a mistake to conflate rich and smart, poor and dumb ...

          The invasion of Iraq was a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a crime against civilization. Prosecute the crime.

          by Positronicus on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:27:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I was saying that poor people don't get a chance (3+ / 0-)

          to say 'fly to New York to have a look-see', they have to depend on others to tell them what is going on there.  

          I was saying that people who aren't too bright, most of us, have to depend on others to tell them the plan.

          So these people take some little thing they can understand, they can see, and go from there.  Is there another way?  What is it?

          . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

          by 88kathy on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:44:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  any Wall Streeter could turn your brain into knots (0+ / 0-)

          If you sat down with them and talked about money.  Ever talked to a lawyer? Ever talked to a Jesuit?  Same thing.  They don't just make you doubt your facts, they actually make you doubt your ability to think.  "Shut up and do what I say!" sounds perfectly reasonable after getting rolled by a superior mind.

          There is a correlation between wealth and intelligence, just as there is a correlation between wealth and beauty.

          We believe in government, but government doesn't believe in us. We believe in capitalism, but capitalism doesn't believe in us.

          by Visceral on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:56:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sorry, but that's not correct. (3+ / 0-)
            There is a correlation between wealth and intelligence, just as there is a correlation between wealth and beauty.
            This is just not true. Just because a person knows a lot about how to game the economic system, it does not make them smarter than me.

            The Koch brothers have an assload of money, but they support policies (and politicians) that pollute the earth and lead towards global self-destruction and our own extinction.

            Is this smarter? I don't think so.

            There is absolutely no correlation between wealth and intelligence.

            Anyway, here is the ultimate counter-argument:

            GEORGE W. BUSH

            •  What they have is superior confidence which (3+ / 0-)

              comes from always being secure in their decisions.  Their parents money and position made everything they ever did come up smelling good.  Even bad decisions were made to seem right.  They are able to take risks because they are using other people's money and skimming the gravy, THEY are never at risk, they are not more intelligent(in fact, they are often less so because they are never required to do the hard work), they are just more sure of themselves and more able to convince others they are right.  

          •  not necessarily a superior mind. (4+ / 0-)

            I have spoken with many lawyers and one Jesuit. The Jesuit and I were both doing PhDs in forest ecology, and we stuck to biz. Lawyers are very good at arguing the better paying side of an argument, and those who have not spent years practicing this particular skill may mistake what they are doing for intelligence whereas, in fact, it it simply dishonesty and manipulation. It is true that the facts and the law are never as straightforward as one would first assume, but lawyers' skills in exploiting this inconvenience pale in comparison to the capabilities of grad students and faculty in Philosophy, especially the analytic philosopher.

            Champion high school and university-level debate team members can give either group a run for their money, and yes, I hung out with a bunch of them, too.

            So again, as for "superior minds" no, you are not being rolled by a one of are being thrown by some some kid who as mastered one to two judo moves. They can be defeated with a little practice, because they think that their parlour tricks are the only skills needed.

            Scripture says "resist not evil", but evil unresisted will prevail.

            by Boreal Ecologist on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:44:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Simple (4+ / 0-)

        Money does not equal smarts. And smarts do not equal proven successful leadership skills..

        "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

        by azureblue on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:32:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well no it doesn't. What I was asking for was (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rudewarrior, Orinoco

          a decision making process other than the beer drink.  A decision making process that would work for a non-affluent not too bright regular person.  

          How can simple people pick a complicated leader to solve multifaceted problems?  

          . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

          by 88kathy on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:49:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I know you've see this, but I'd like others (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to see my response here.

            There are no easy answers.

          •  First rate leaders (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rudewarrior, 88kathy

            surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are, second rate leaders surround themselves with yes-men.

            If the regular not-too-bright person is willing to do some research, she can check out the candidates policy positions for red flags: vague platitudes, contradictions, numbers that don't add up, appeals to emotion or flag waving patriotism.

            This, of course, completely disqualifies any current Republican candidate, who want to 1) keep defense spending at current levels or increase it 2) lower taxes and 3) reduce the deficit. If government spending goes up, and government income (taxes) goes down, then the deficit automatically goes up, since Deficit = Income - Spending.

            Some Republicans claim they will reduce overall government spending while maintaining defense spending, but unless they say how, specifically, they are lying. When Republicans have actually been in office, they have never reduced overall government spending.

            I notice you still seem to make your not-too-bright person non-affluent, as well. Having money, or being able to make money, really doesn't have anything to do with whether a person is smart or not. Many wealthy people I've known have a single skill, usually selling something, but beyond that, really aren't too bright themselves. And don't get me started on people who inherited their wealth.

            "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

            by Orinoco on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:38:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Elizabeth Warren sucks because she knows stuff (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

      by RockyMtnLib on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:54:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cynically playing on media's lack of intelligence, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      insight and perspective.  Not all reporters, of course.  But, in a profession that now prizes appearance over all else - Barbie's and Ken's - its hardly surprising that the huge number of vapid, mediocre intelligences should feel threatened by anyone with more than a couple of working brain cells and strive to bring the rest of society down to their level, or better below it.

      Thugs are just happy to play these conceited rubes for the idiots they tend to be.

    •  What if the guy was a plant? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....the "ordinary American" who said the beer line at a Romney event.  Having recently seen a hired shill for a video game company unmasked on a gamer forum after trying to pimp the company's newest game while pretending to be "just another gamer," I'm more suspicious than ever of "viral marketing" and the sudden unexpected appearance of just the right kind of guy saying the right kind of thing while cameras are present.  It gets my anti-shill radar all perked up.

      Anytime "an ordinary guy" just happens to say "I'll have a beer with this guy" at a political rally, in front of TV cameras, ask yourself:  "Is this real?"

      Highly unlikely.

      Please feel free to HR me for my informative and argumentative nature. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

      by rbird on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:26:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have never forgotten Adlai Stevenson (33+ / 0-)

    being labelled an "egghead".  Both of my parents voted for him - because of his intellect.  

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:25:54 AM PDT

  •  less a drinking game and more like "chicken" (10+ / 0-)

    If people want drinking buddies, they should call their friends who drink. If they want competent government, they should look for political candidates who aren't afraid to demonstrate that at this most complex and critical occupation they have what should be the requisite commensurate competence.

    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

    by annieli on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:26:20 AM PDT

  •  You're right, the press did hate Al Gore (14+ / 0-)

    with a burning passion.  Bill Clinton is generally gonna be the smartest guy in almost any room, but he's got that "Bubba" act down to a science.  Al Gore almost always talked like your most boring college professor, but Clinton can actually talk to anyone.  Bill never talks at people..  It was unfair for Gore, but it's what the American people want.

    We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

    by owilde69 on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:26:48 AM PDT

  •  Revised Standard: (34+ / 0-)
    (Grover Norquist CPAC speech excerpt) "All we have to do is replace Obama. ... We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. ... We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it..."

    When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

    by msmacgyver on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:27:06 AM PDT

  •  Brown also trashes Warren . . . (20+ / 0-)

    for being a Harvard professor. Harvard is so obnoxious that Romney criticized Obama for having a Harvard degree (even though Romney of course has two). Weirdly, I'm sorry to say, it seems to work.

  •  Actually, the bigger problem was ... (12+ / 0-)
    But the bigger problem with the beer standard wasn't Bush; it was the very concept that in evaluating presidential candidates, we should be looking for a regular guy, invented or otherwise.
    Bush didn't drink.  (Or supposedly didn't.)  So even the "have a beer with" criterion didn't make Bush qualified to be President.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:27:45 AM PDT

  •  'Have a beer with Louis Gohmert' on (10+ / 0-)

    sale in the lobby.

  •  To add a coda on the Bush ranch story: (14+ / 0-)

    Who precisely talked about all the Karl Rove-generated
    baloney about the manly Bush clearing brush on his ranch?
    Everybody seemed to go for it hook, line, and sinker.

    Who wrote anything about Bush's ranch being anything but a prop? I didn't see anything. And when Bush left office you'll notice he immediately abandoned his macho pursuits and went to Dallas. So much for manly ranching and brush clearing. Here ends the coda.

    I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence. --The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley

    by Wildthumb on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:31:26 AM PDT

  •  The National Press Corps Did Not Hate Gore. (12+ / 0-)

    This is what "press" means:

    There IS no national press corps.

    Image Hosted by
    --Annnnnnnnd, we'll have to leave it there.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:31:40 AM PDT

  •  It's worth noting that Obama had a beer with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat, shaharazade

    Henry Louis Gates and James Crowley, the cop who arrested Gates.  Interesting Obama would choose that format in what was clearly a PR stunt.  I used to think it was only Repubs who were all politics all the time.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:32:54 AM PDT

  •  I think you hit the nail on the head and that is (9+ / 0-)

    what has infected Congress.  If we go back 50 years how many people in Congress would have not had a law degree?  I bet very few to none.  Now we get people in Congress who don't even know how the three branches work.  We get guys like Joe the Plumber who think that they can be elected!

  •  High-School Popularity Contest (11+ / 0-)

    I think it's more about the primal Jocks vs. Nerds. Jocks/popular kids can be bullies, they can be dumbasses, they can treat the cheerleaders like kleenex, but they will still be invited to all the right parties, make all the right connections, and get offered higher salaries.  They are always welcome at the kegger.  They score the class officers while doing little to earn it.  They will be protected from their own weaknesses, excused their crimes.

    Nerds will always be jeered at for "thinking they're better/smarter than the rest of us."  Nerd will be jeered at for having smart, applicable ideas.  They will be attacked for their strengths, as if they were weaknesses, and nobody wants to defend a nerd.  Nobody invites them to the kegger.  

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:37:07 AM PDT

  •  Who woke up? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat

    My problem year after year (a lot of them, now) is how do you find yourself in a position where you wake up one morning and say "I should run for President."
    Didn't these people read Plato?
    My distrust of politicians is so deep I'm surprised I vote (every primary, every election).

    •  Oh God, Plato. (5+ / 0-)

      Plato considers the idea of who should run the government in the ideal world, and his answer is: "Other philosophers like me."  Strangely enough, everybody else comes up with the same kind of answer.  Some scientists think it should be other scientists; generals think it should be military men.

      Something tells me that a philosopher is uniquely unqualified to run a government.  Just imagine it for a moment.

      •  Draft? (2+ / 0-)

        "Hey, you! You're the boss for the next four years. We'll take care of your stuff."
        I'm of the opinion that as soon as you express a desire for the job you are banned.
        This does not apply to all jobs, just jobs where you have to ask people for money.

      •  Not all philosophers are created equal. (4+ / 0-)

        In Dune, there's a great scene where a Bene Gesserit tells a young Paul of the things that support a world (the learning of the wise, the valor of the brave, etc), but that they're useless unless harnessed by a ruler who knows the art of ruling.  There's some truth to that, I think; leadership as an art which draws from, but is distinct from, philosophy, military strategy and such.  Still, some political philosophers would have made fantastic leaders, IMHO, though most seem better suited to being the guy standing behind them whispering in their ear.  I agree about Plato, though, and I'd say his performance in Syracuse supports your view.

        •  how about learning from reality? (2+ / 0-)

          If anything, an excess of theory is one of our problems.  We're governed by people who think they create reality; probably the most wrong idea anyone's ever had.  We're governed by people who think they can feng shui their way to utopia; the kind of people who think that the Titanic sank because the deck chairs weren't arranged properly.  These people are obsessed with form and optics and see process as an end in itself.  They think that partisan conflict is the result of leaders not golfing together enough.  They'd replace the Constitution with "The Secret" if they could; you know, because the only reason anyone has problems is because they don't have the right attitude.

          Less philosophy is the answer.  Look around the world and in the history books; we can see what works and what doesn't.

          We believe in government, but government doesn't believe in us. We believe in capitalism, but capitalism doesn't believe in us.

          by Visceral on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:19:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  With all due respect, (0+ / 0-)

            I don't think you've been reading good philosophers.  Learning from reality is exactly what good philosophy should be about; the difference between well-considered action and thoughtless action.  We don't suffer from an excess of theory, just an excess of bad theory.

            •  thought can be wrong, but reality is always right (0+ / 0-)

              Good science is not just a tool for producing ideas; it's also a tool for evaluating ideas.  Scientists cannot just keep talking; in order to be taken seriously, their ideas must be tested against physical reality.  When observed reality disagrees with your theory, no matter how "elegant" or sophisticated, your theory is wrong. Period.  There's no saving it: no room for arguing that people are being dumb or lazy, no room for excuses about corruption or failed implementations, and certainly no room for the ultimate cop-out that the value of an idea transcends its utility.  In science, there have been countless logical and consistent theories about how the world works that have been unceremoniously discarded in the face of evidence that they're wrong; philosophy cannot easily make that same claim.

              This is because thought can be wrong, so thoughtful action is not necessarily correct action.  Oftentimes an action is perfectly correct according to one framework but incorrect according to others.  If I start with the premise that the Christian god exists, I am inevitably led to the doors of the Westboro Baptist Church; everything they believe logically follows, regardless of how abhorrent we find it. Bring morality into the picture, and things get worse.  If I can justify letting millions of people starve in the name of capitalism so that everyone else can have more than they would otherwise, I'm a monster no matter how rigorous a monster I am.

              We believe in government, but government doesn't believe in us. We believe in capitalism, but capitalism doesn't believe in us.

              by Visceral on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:13:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I was talking about political philosophy, (0+ / 0-)

                which informs a good deal of political science (we still read guys like Locke for a reason).  You seem to be referring to natural philosophy, which has been quite rightly surpassed by the hard, empirical sciences.  I agree with you there; the day of the natural philosopher is over, though they represented a huge leap forward for their time.

                Still, hard science and mathematics, as wonderful as they are, cannot have much to say on a question like the proper boundaries of government authority or the role of the citizen in a state.  That princess is in another castle, and there may be far more than one right answer depending, as you indicated, on the context in which the question is asked.

                FWIW, there is a game theorist who is attempting to address ethical and political questions mathematically.  I've enjoyed his books.  Maybe someday we'll have schools of political science that are just as rigorous as chemistry and physics, but I doubt I'll live to study it.

            •  Um, no, it's not. (0+ / 0-)
              Learning from reality is exactly what good philosophy should be about; the difference between well-considered action and thoughtless action.
              Much of philosophy is about the debate about just what IS reality, and at such a fundamental level that issues of what constitutes good government are reduced to the petty.  

              For instance, do you believe that the material world is an illusion, and that the world of the mind and the idea is what constitutes the more significant reality?  If so, then who gives a shit about Food Stamps?

              Government is based on a simpler commonsense common understanding of such metaphysical concerns.  If it costs me money, it's for real, and it's highly significant.

              Much of philosophy is also concerned with defining the boundaries of what is ME versus what is EVERYTHING ELSE.  Again, government is based on simpler, commonsense common understandings of the human boundary ego.  And the human tribe.  When a union worker talks about how WE are getting the shaft, he means other working class people.  When somebody like Lawrence Kudlow says WE, he means the "job creator" class.  When Pat Buchanan says WE, he means white English-speaking natural-born citizens.  

              The decision about where to draw the boundary of who is we and who is everybody else is too abstract for simple philosophical answers but it is one of the driving dilemmas of politics.  And it's possible for different groups to come to different conclusions about who and where their tribal loyalties should lie, and that answer can be beyond the realm of what is resolvable through philosophical reasoning.  

              •  You're talking about metaphysics. (0+ / 0-)

                I was not.  That is why I was very careful to refer specifically to political philosophers.  Why should we not live in a dictatorship?  The metaphysician might not care, but the political philosopher (Locke, Machiavelli, Paine, etc.) most certainly does.

                •  And those philosophers disagree (0+ / 0-)

                  with each other.

                  What about the political philosophy of the Communist Manifesto or Mein Kampf?  Before you say, "Oh, those are bad, they aren't REAL political philosophy," I advise you to avoid the No-True-Scotsman fallacy here, where you define real political philosophers to be those who you are comfortable with.  

                  One of the better books on political philosophy is The Prince, by Machiavelli.  The Neocons adore him.  Michael Ledeen, one of the PNAC original signers, has a book reevaluating Machiavelli's work that is worth reading.  So did neocon moral godfather Leo Strauss (who, by the way, TAUGHT philosophy at the university level).  I see now he had a book of his own on Machiavelli, Thoughts on Machiavelli.  

                  We, you and me, and the rest of us here on DailyKos, have to have our own political philosophy of choice that reflects our moral values.  Depending on the "expertise" of somebody like Leo Strauss is how we get into messes like the one we are in.

                  •  Like I said, we have an excess of bad theory. (0+ / 0-)

                    On a side note, only someone with an amazingly shallow understanding of Machiavelli would accept The Prince at face value.  Context is everything here.  The Prince was a job application, nothing more.  Machiavelli the Secretary of the Republic of Florence despised the Medici rulers, but had little choice but to appeal to them after the Republic was dissolved and the aristocrats returned to power and exiled him.  His Ten Discourses on Livy and Art of War are far more comprehensive political treatises.  The same goes for Marx.  If you don't read Das Kapital, you don't know Marx.  FWIW, I have very few issues with Marx; he was a man who fought against the evils of his day as well as he knew how, and the subsequent failure of his theory has at least as much to do with poor execution as it does with his ideas.  But as we are all careful observers of reality, we can see what does and does not work and move forward, which is quite philosophical of us.

                  •  Really, I have no idea (0+ / 0-)

                    why we're even having this conversation.  I idly suggest that a guy like John Locke or Thomas Paine might make a good president and you, with all due respect, go a little bit high and to the right.

                    •  Yes, I go to the right (0+ / 0-)

                      for the counterexample.  There's a huge air of elitism to this debate in its assumption that the right don't have THEIR political philosophy or that it is poorly formed and ours is well-formed and that is why they are wrong and we are right.  Pure hubris.  The difference between right and left is not one of smarter or more reality-influenced philosophies but of class values.

                      For a long time, back in the seventies and eighties, I was a rabid Ayn Rand libertarian.  I was steeped in the "philosophy" of the right, and can tell you just how proud those on the right are of their philosophical forebears and see themselves as the guardians of rationalism, and they see themselves as carrying on traditions of conservative thought -- including that of Thomas Paine, by the way.  They see their philosophy extending from first principles to actual practice the same way Newton's laws predict the behavior of comets.  And I have heard that Newton argument made EXPLICITLY, just as I laid it before you in the previous sentence.  

                      •  I see what you're saying, but first: (0+ / 0-)
                        Yes, I go to the right for the counterexample.
                        I like what you did there.  Excellent dialectic Aikido.  :-)

                        Anyway, I think you're taking what I said quite a bit farther than I'd intended it to go, possibly due to the personal history you mention.  I'll set aside for the moment my own conviction that rigid dogmatism is and ever shall be the antithesis of a philosophical mindset, as that might land a bit too close to the "no true Scotsman" thing.  Still, I see more of our problems stemming from not thinking deeply enough about things (such as the potential consequences of our policies) than from thinking too deeply about them.  This does not mean that I want political philosophers to be some kind of privilaged class, nor that thinking people will always be right about everything, but rather that, in general, people who apply their minds and powers of observation to problems will tend to find more effective long-term solutions.  That's really the essence of what I was saying.

                        Let's take Bush II.  He was not a man who overly taxed his brain about what might go wrong with his policies, probably because he was intellectually lazy.  The people surrounding him were rigid dogmatists who also didn't do that, but in their case it was more because they were convinced they were right.  In both cases, the crime of failing to examine life (to paraphrase Plato) has been committed.  A questioning attitude and a willingness to admit when your entire worldview might just be dead wrong is (IMHO) an absolute prerequisite of philosophy, particularly for true Scotsmen.  ;-)

                        This is all a little bit easier in Eastern philosophy; beginner's mind and all that.  Still, even Plato admits that, while he believes in the Good, we can never perfectly know it or express it in the world, which casts doubt on those who claim to.  Lao Tzu would no doubt agree.

                        At the risk of descending farther into academic wankery, I'm stopping there.  :-)

                        •  You're wrong again. (0+ / 0-)

                          I'm not defending the right here.  I just see this as laziness of thought on the left in the somewhat arrogant assumption that the right doesn't have equivalent non-dogmatic rational and even philosophical underpinnings.  

                          Take, for instance, the basic concept of helping those less fortunate than you.  Why is that imperative?  You can try to make an argument for why it is, and I could make one my own, but there is no conclusive argument to be made for that.  We on the left, in fact, become equally dogmatic in our belief that helping the less fortunate is an imperative.

                          It's like in math, with Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry.  There is one prostulate of Euclid's that makes Euclidean Geometry what it is, and allows it to make proofs like the sum of the angles of a triangle equals 180 degrees.  Flip that postulate, however, and you get an EQUALLY CONSISTENT AND RATIONAL geometry that says that, no, the sum of the angles of a triangle don't have to equal 180.  A number of other proofs of Euclids also are flipped once you change one postulate.

                          The parallel here between geometry and political philosophy is that two different diametrically opposed political
                          philosophies can both be equivalently formed.

                          The right, those like Ayn Rand, for instance, (read The Virtue of Selfishness) will argue that there's no other logical conclusion that can be reached than theirs.  I, on the other hand, take a meta-position on this and see political philosophies of the right and left as being formed to justify the positions of classes in conflict, regardless of how logical and non-dogmatic as they may see.  It just HAPPENS that the non-dogmatic, well-formed philosophy of Ayn Rand supports a world view in which welfare recipients are the worst kind of villains and hard-working corporate CEOs are the heroes of the human race.  

                          My answer to that is, BULLSHIT.  That the philosophy of Ayn Rand may appeal to those people, but it doesn't appeal to me, because I DO NOT identify with those people and I do not find philosophical arguments of this type compelling and inescapable at all, but as constructions, and since their construction makes me and the people I identify with into second-class human beings, I reject it.  I don't need to disprove it, just as we don't need to disprove Euclid's postulate to see that there are other geometries possible.

                          •  Thirty years ago, yes. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            If William F. Buckley had made this argument back in his day, I'd have agreed.  Not now.

                            The right has had everything their way for thirty years now and it hasn't worked.  Laissez faire, trickle down, all of it.  They've been able to give us the most powerful, and certainly the most expensive, military in the history of the planet, but have not been able to use it to create either liberty or security.  They've given us an unfolding ecological catastrophe that may well wipe out most of the human race.  They've given us a nightmarish healthcare system that costs far more per capita than any other nation's on the planet, yet a newborn has a better chance for survival in a Cuban hospital.  They've given us a new class of de facto aristocrats who have drawn the lion's share of America's wealth into a tiny number of hands, leaving crumbs for the rest.

                            I call them dogmatic, not because I personally disagree with their ideology (and I did not always), but because we've done their little experiment.  We've been doing it for almost my entire life, and the results are in.  To continue clinging to an ideology with such a dismal track record, by their own stated metrics, is dogmatic.  It's like clinging to creation science or climate denial.  I know people still cling emphatically to both, but at some point civilization needs to recognize failure for what it is and move on.

                            I've spent my adult life as a naval officer.  Every day I work around some very devout, red meat conservatives.  For the most part, they're wonderful people, and highly intelligent.  People joke about the military, but the officer corps is made up of some of the most educated and capable people our country produces.  But on the subject of politics or economics, my conclusion after many conversations is that they've memorized the lines and haven't thought too far beyond them.  It has the same flavor as religion; I read it in the Bible, and that's good enough for me.  Actually engaging these people in conversation, one comes up against the boundaries of their reasoning very quickly.  I say it with love in my heart, because I truly do respect the people I work with, but they haven't been paying attention to how badly their policies have gone.

                            Thirty years ago, I would have agreed with you that the ideology of the right, Ayn Rand and all the rest, was what you say it is.  But not anymore.  At this point, it's as much a failed experiment as Soviet Communism, and we have to move on.

  •  Point taken, BUT... (7+ / 0-)

    I think I understand the "who would you have a beer" standard.

    It's not about dumbing-down.  It's about filtering out the "elite," those who aren't part of us hyar regular folk, those who don't share common values with us and probably have weird ideas that don't take us and our real needs into account.

    That's the underlying conservative message.  "He's not the kind of guy that I would want to have a beer with.  He's the kind of guy that would meet with a bunch of other Harvard-educated people who have never worked hand to moutn on a weekly paycheck like me and all my other drinking buddies.  He's probably the kind of guy that worried about weird theoretical shit like global warming and protecting trees and civil rights for evil people, things which don't help me put food on the table or keep my wife from leaving me or my kids in a decent school."

    That's what the beer standard is about.

    And it applies for liberals as well, if you think about it.  I don't really care how smart a candidate is if he doesn't share my values.  Don't you feel the same way?  Dick Cheney, Bill Buckley, Grover Norquist, Ayn Rand.  You can probably add Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney to that list as well, although I'm reluctant.  All of them brilliant people.  Do you someone like them running the country?  No.  

    So what's the determining factor to filter people like them out?  You might prefer somebody enough like you, as dumb and incompetent as you are, that you know they won't get some brilliant fucking Wile E. Coyote Super-Genius idea that screws up your life.  Like the PNAC and their "Let's take over the world" position paper.  

    The Virtue of Selfishness.  Drown the baby in the bathtub.  We may have to explore the dark side....  Things like that come from brilliant out-of-the-box thinkers.  It takes somebody very removed from the real world to think that torture is a new idea that might solve real world problems.

    •  Here's a distinction (9+ / 0-)

      Intelligent people can comprehend a larger perspective and can also see the future consequences of their actions. These people recognize the inherent liberal bias of reality.

      Shrewd people can manipulate systems for personal gain, win-lose strategies, but they cannot comprehend the large picture, long-term consequences of their actions. These people are interested in accumulating and preserving their power and the power of their class/tribe.

      "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

      by US Blues on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:45:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I appreciate your reply but I think (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Only Needs a Beat, cstark

        you're kidding yourself.  Intelligent people recognize the inherent liberal bias of reality?  You're flattering yourself by assuming that you are smarter than they are just because their politics are different from yours, and because your politics are right, theirs are wrong.

        It's not how much smarter we are than them that makes us different.  It's their values and the politics that arise from them.  And it's also THE PEER GROUP that they come from, which is often where people get their values from.  The "Beer Standard" takes this last part into account: Peer groups with different values.

        The problem with a guy like Lawrence Kudlow, for instance, isn't that he's dumber than you.  It's that he believes that rich and powerful people deserve to be that way, and even richer and more powerful, because the poor and the weak deserve their lot in life.  You can't argue with that on the basis of real-world facts, because it's not related to any fact true or false.  It's an opinion, a set of values, something outside the realm of verifiable truth and falsity.

    •  And the reactionaries know they are playing voters (6+ / 0-)

      The game is to con the voters into voting against their own self-interest and the nation's self-interest. The reactionaries have been quite successful.

      The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

      by freelunch on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:45:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (11+ / 0-)

      The "beer" standard is about electing someone who understands your life.

      I'm not saying its a good way to go. Frankly, I want an elite in  the White House.

      I want someone who understands the dynamics of global politics -- even if he doesn't personally identify with the problems of a 60-something single woman worrying about whether she'll be able to retire any time soon. He doesn't have to identify with me, as long as he understands enough economics to make things better for everyone. I'm part of everyone. I want someone who has the skills necessary to build coalitions and get legislation passed. I want someone level-headed, who won't start a war because it makes him feel all manly.

      I want a Congress made up of people who can read and assimilate large amounts of data -- so they can understand the issues they're being asked to legislate upon. No more Ted Stevens ruling the Internet he didn't understand.

      I want judges who are able to set their personal beliefs aside and rule exclusively on the legal issues before them.

      I don't care whether any of the above drink beer, go to baseball games or follow NASCAR racing. I don't care if they can bowl, bake a pie or slam back a boilermaker. I don't care whether they like the cookies baked by my corner baker, or whether they know what sort of cheese belongs on a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.

      The problem is we're being drowned in trivia about the candidates rather than getting any real sense of who they are.

      Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

      by elsaf on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:53:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Elsaf, have you read my posts? (0+ / 0-)

        I suspect Mitt Romney is smarter than me.  He's certainly got the ivy league eduation that I didn't have.  Without further inquiry into the matter about my qualifications, wouldn't you rather have ME as president than Mitt?

        I'll give you a little more background.  I'm bipolar.  I'm on lots of meds.  I haven't been able to keep a job in years.  Knowing all that, but knowing that I'm a reasonably half-intelligent liberal who shares your values, if you were given only a strict him or me choice, no third option, wouldn't you choose me over that smart guy Mitt?

        If you say yes, then your statement above is clearly a preference, but not the one that trumps the importance of having a liberal.

        •  here is the point (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, Only Needs a Beat, foresterbob

          the "have a beer" with standard is a way of distracting people from important policy choices.  As your comment illustrates the "beer with" vs "most intelligent" choices are both distractions.  Who I would want in the white house, first and foremost, is someone who shares my values.

        •  I would hope (0+ / 0-)

          I would hope I would have better choices than just you or Mitt Romney. I'm not convinced that Mitt Romney is smarter than most of us here. He got where he is with the aid of  considerable privilege. I suspect I'm smarter than him, if you want to evaluate IQ alone. But A. I would never run for president because that's not what I want to do with my life, and B. I doubt I could get many people to vote for me if I did, because my personality is not one that inspires people to say "I want HER to lead me!" I think I'm more of a Teresa Heinz than a Hillary Clinton.

          I would choose Barack Obama over either you or Mitt Romney, because I believe he has the leadership skills to be an effective president. His first term was disappointing in some respects (not all, I believe he out performed expectations in some categories), but in the last year, I think he's overcome the learning curve (and there is going to be a learning curve for any first term president, because I don't think there is anything that could completely prepare you for the job) and has the potential to make his second term count.

          For the record: I don't think Mitt Romney understands the dynamics of global politics. I think his outlook is quite parochial. I doubt he has the unique skill it takes to work effectively with Congress. Businessmen tend to work with an entirely different set of parameters. If you're the boss, people have to do what you want. If you're the president, not even your own party has to do what you want. It takes a very special leader to influence Congress. He's probably got an even enough temperament, but it take more than just a cool head to be an effective leader.

          That said, I couldn't care less whether he remembers whether any specific Red Sox game was played at home or away, or whether he was there. That's just nonsense.

          Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

          by elsaf on Sun May 06, 2012 at 02:53:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  And by that standard... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat, Aquarius40

      ...Romney should lose by a large margin. He comes off as an elite who just can't pull off the average Joe routine. No wonder the Republicans treta him like a bucket of piss!

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:39:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mitt Rmoney brillant??? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat

      NO. Mitt is not an intellectual by any stretch of the imagination, he is lucky.  Lucky in birth, lucky in education and lucky in money.  He is not brilliant.  

      Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

      by Caniac41 on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:43:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think the beer standard predates GWB. (3+ / 0-)

    Likability and the ability to relate have long been issues in politics.

    Bill Clinton used it to his advantage, as does President Obama.

    Let's face it: This time our guy wins the "beer standard." Most people would rather have a beer with Obama than with Mitt Romney.

    So yes, it's a ridiculous concept, but this time it's to our advantage.

    Now, I would consider both Clinton and Obama to be eggheaded policy wonks. But they also have the gift of being able to relate, something that Adlai Stevenson and Mike Dukakis and Howard Dean and Al Gore and John Kerry couldn't do.

    Elizabeth Warren, I fear, is falling into that same pothole. Look at the shorthand for the Senate race in MA:

    Elizabeth Warren was a professor!
    Scott Brown drives a truck!

    Or think about Paul Krugman. Most people on this site hang on his every word. But think about if he ever ran for office. He'd get slaughtered.

    This isn't fair, of course, but it is reality.

    It's like a Norman Rockwell painting. Most people see a Rockwell and get it immediately. Now, contrast that with some modern art, a Jackson Pollock painting, say, that requires some deeper-level thinking.

    Now, put them up for a vote. The Rockwell will win every time.

    Yes, it's important to vote for the smarter candidate. While we've had smart men fail as president, we've never had a dumbass president succeed. But what we really need are more candidates like Clinton and Obama, who are smart and can relate to the people, who can not only share a beer with you but can expand on the differences between an IPA and a doppelbock.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:43:01 AM PDT

  •  Wow (4+ / 0-)
    "Listen, the bottom line is the way that she's approaching things, knowing better than others how to do things. The federal government can do things better than individual businesses and individuals, I think there is an elitist attitude there in the way that she's communicating to us as citizens and telling us how to do things, who should be taxed, who should not be taxed. I'm going to continue to do what I've always done and that's find solutions."
    What the hell is Scotty trying to say here? It sounds like he's ripped a page out of the repug's congressional playbook, through in "elitist" and pinned it on Elizabeth Warren.........

    Case in point; The vast majority of Americans do not want Social Security or Medicare touched and they want the 1% to pay their fair share. The repugs say..well you know what they say..........

    "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

    by fugwb on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:45:41 AM PDT

  •  Jon Stewart nailed this meme in 2008 (17+ / 0-)
    You know what, candidates? I know elite is a bad word in politics. You want to go bowling and throw back a few beers. But the job you're applying for, if you get it and it goes well, they might carve your head into a mountain! If you don't actually think you're better than us, then what the fuck are you doing?
    From the April 14, 2008 episode of The Daily Show.

    Beta testers wanted: get a free copy of ORGANIZE!

    by AnotherMassachusettsLiberal on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:47:35 AM PDT

  •  Didn't you get the memo? (6+ / 0-)
    "It is the absolute right of the State Newscorp to supervise the formation of public opinion."
    --Joseph Goebbels Rupert Murdoch

    "White-collar conservatives flashing down the street. Pointing their plastic finger at me."

    by BOHICA on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:48:04 AM PDT

  •  My standard is who could debate me in class. (8+ / 0-)

    I know what it feels like to be the smartest person in the room, and it's both lonely and exhilarating at the same time.
    But then again, I'm one of those lazy snobby academics, lol. You know, the kind that works 50hrs on a slow week and stays up until 2 in the morning grading. The kind that the right wing will put in the cattle cars if they ever get full power.

    WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

    by IARXPHD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:49:24 AM PDT

  •  John Kerry, or General Wesley Clark, for the (8+ / 0-)

    'who would rescue me' standard.
    Kerry beached his swift boat and went after the guys shooting at it on foot.
    General Clark jumped out of his own vehicle and pulled someone else out of a crashed (and burning, I think) vehicle (under enemy fire, I think) and got himself and the person he rescued to safety.

    Either of them would make a better president than anybody who was in the GOP debates.  

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:50:27 AM PDT

    •  Clark - The Mt Ingram incident (7+ / 0-)
      In August 1995, the general—three stars, working as J-5 for the Joint Chiefs—went to Bosnia as part of the negotiating team Ambassador Richard Holbrooke had put together to end the civil war that had resulted in the massacre of as many as eight thousand Muslim men and boys at the town of Srebrenica the month before. In Belgrade, Clark had met for the first time Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, who was sponsoring the Bosnian Serbs. Now the team had to travel to Sarajevo. Told that the airport in Sarajevo was too dangerous to fly into, the team decided to drive and asked Milosevic to guarantee its safety on a road held by Bosnian Serbs. Milosevic did not, and so the team wound up taking a fortified Humvee and an armored personnel carrier on a pitched, narrow, winding mountain road notoriously vulnerable to Serb machine-gun fire. Clark and Holbrooke went in the Humvee, the rest in the APC. In his book, the general describes what happened this way: "At the end of the first week we had a tragic accident on Mount Igman, near Sarajevo. [Three members of the team] were killed when the French armored personnel carrier in which they were riding broke through the shoulder of the road and tumbled several hundred meters down a steep hillside."

      It is not until one reads Holbrooke's book, To End a War, that one finds out that after the APC went off the road, Clark grabbed a rope, anchored it to a tree stump, and rappelled down the mountainside after it, despite the gunfire that the explosion of the APC set off, despite the warnings that the mountainside was heavily mined, despite the rain and the mud, and despite Holbrooke yelling that he couldn't go. It is not until one brings the incident up to the general that one finds out that the burning APC had turned into a kiln, and that Clark stayed with it and aided in the extraction of the bodies; it is not until one meets Wesley Clark that one understands the degree to which he held Milosevic accountable.

      "White-collar conservatives flashing down the street. Pointing their plastic finger at me."

      by BOHICA on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:04:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Clark never had a chance (8+ / 0-)

        That little 'D' after his name pretty much cancelled out his entire service record. Besides, the lizard brain vote wants Rambo, not Audie Murphy; in politics, "war hero" has more to do with optics than with facts.  Clark the man fell clearly into soft-spoken intellectual territory: reactive and circumspect - the guy who'd rather not fight at all.  Even if he'd been able to campaign in full dress uniform, I don't think it would have helped.

        Also, a military bearing can backfire and be seen as aloof and authoritarian rather than paternal.  Clark would have had to present himself as the guy you'd want next to you in the foxhole, where he can actually protect you, rather than a modern-day Eisenhower who's half the reason you're out here getting shot at.

        Also, it wouldn't surprise me if the "have a beer with" mentality is actually a form of "tall poppy" syndrome.  Do you really want a guy who makes you look like a worthless schlub?  How disrespectful!  He's hating on me just by existing!  People feel bad about themselves by comparison, then hate you for making them feel that way.

        We believe in government, but government doesn't believe in us. We believe in capitalism, but capitalism doesn't believe in us.

        by Visceral on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:47:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Its hard being the smartest guy in the room. (5+ / 0-)

          From another Rhodes scholar.

          "Just when the world is being dragged into the death spiral of an unending cycle of violence by a vision-less, coldblooded collection of think-tank warriors goose-stepping their way into the new millennium with a stunning lack of respect for human rights, the environment, or international law, along comes a man with the proven credentials of intelligence, integrity, and courage singularly equipped by his spirit and experience to lead us out of this mess. Don't listen to what the lying liars say about him; listen to what he says. Wesley Clark is a prayer answered.  Peace"
             -- Kris Kristofferson

          "White-collar conservatives flashing down the street. Pointing their plastic finger at me."

          by BOHICA on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:16:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This "have a beer with" thing probably dates (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat

    back to G.H.W. Bush's campaign when he came across as an out-of-touch rich guy. (There was the infamous grocery store scanner incident where he was amazed at something that many people [not me--I lived in Northern New York where such things were Jetson-like] used every day.)

    Republicans, true to form, have taken a negative and ferociously turned it into a positive for them. His son's not out-of-touch. In fact he's such a man of the people that anyone would want to have a beer with him.

    So there ya go--at least IMHO.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:51:12 AM PDT

  •  So, you are making a case for Romney? (0+ / 0-)

    I know you wouldn't do that intentionally.

    But isn't one of the biggest complaints about Romney is that he is out of touch?  Can't relate to the "common man".. or that the common man cannot relate to him?

    If you are arguing that qualifications and experience be used as the primary criteria for judging what person to vote for, doesn't that help Romney?

    I know you are speaking to the choir here and no one around here would think Mitt's experiences would be good for the presidency.  But you have basically made the same argument that many conservative blogs have been making, which is: Who cares if Romney is a stiff?  He can get the economy rolling.


    As far as Senator goes.. I disagree with you there.  Remember, a Senator is supposed to represent his constituency back at home.. even moreso for a Representative.  The "beer standard" most definitely applies in this case where you are sending someone to Washington on your behalf and who you trust will vote as you like him/her to.

    And.. it seems to be working for Brown.  He's metaphorically sitting at the end of the bar with his beer buddies taunting Warren with jokes about Cherokee ancestry.

    •  Romney knows how to make money--for (5+ / 0-)

      himself! That doesn't translate into being able to guide the economy to recovery. He was against rescuing the auto industry--big mistake. What other mistakes would he make as president? I sure don't want to find out!

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:07:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How do qualifications and experience (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Only Needs a Beat, Aquarius40

      apply to Romney within the context of the types of duties and responsibilities the OP is describing?  How do they help him?

      A scion whose job in college was living off his investments given him by his family, whose business acumen can best be described as predator capitalist who bought companies, took the cash out and sold them prior to bankruptcy?  What does that qualify him for except shock doctrine privatization and austerity?

      He comes up with a health care plan that he now disowns because it doesn't cater to the right wing of his own party?

      Yeah, he's loaded for bear.

      As for the beer standard, I hope the citizens of Massachusetts have better sense than you suggest.  Having a beer and shooting the shit is no qualification, nor is it a guarantee that you should trust someone to vote as you'd like.

      "It's not like lightning or earthquakes. We've got a bad thing made by men, and by God that's something we can change." John Steinbeck

      by Snarky McAngus on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:43:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Those MA voters who think Brown... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Freakinout daily a guy they'd "like to have a beer with" probably will never reflect upon whether or not Brown would deign to have a beer with them.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun May 06, 2012 at 11:01:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's a good method if (4+ / 0-)

    you like to cry in your beer. And those voters are the thug base.

    American republicanism isn't an ideology, it's a business model, and it's a brilliant one at that. I think it's helpful to recognize that.

    Remember as a kid, swinging a bucket with water in it around and the centrifugal force keeping it from spilling?

    American republicanism drives the money upwards into that bucket. You need strong backs and arms to swing it though - it takes a lot of energy and work to generate the centrifugal force. The fuel for that is mean-spiritedness and bitterness, racial hatred, homophobia, talibanesque gender politics, warfotainment, etc.

    The more they can swing the bucket by pissing off their crying-in-the-beer base, the less money ever drops out of the bucket and onto the ground where the rest of us might soak up a drop here and there.

    There are always a certain amount of people who are just plain destructive and like to see others suffer. Republicanism offers the perfect outlet for that. And it so beautifully capitalizes on the stupidity of its supporters, who are not capable of recognizing how their emotional votes cost them in every way. Seems to be about half of the population. It's got to have the same genetic component as low IQs.

    Naturally they would like to imagine having a beer with the one they pine for. It's the best thing they could ever hope for.

  •  FWIW (2+ / 0-)

    when I hear s..t like:

    "Listen, the bottom line is the way that she's approaching things, knowing better than others how to do things. The federal government can do things better than individual businesses and individuals, I think there is an elitist attitude there in the way that she's communicating to us as citizens and telling us how to do things, who should be taxed, who should not be taxed. I'm going to continue to do what I've always done and that's find solutions."
    what pops into my head is the eradication of the educated in Cambodia under pol pot - doctors, lawyers, scholars, etc murdered unless they could hide successfully as farmers(?)

    they threaten the power of a tyrant cause they "know" a little something about their own profession and the "knowledgable" way to do something.

    Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

    by eve on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:02:37 AM PDT

  •  This assumes that politics is about logic (6+ / 0-)

    and it sadly isn't.  That's been the case for a long time.

    It's a reality tv and soundbite culture brought to you by a worthless news media culture led by worthless cable "news" networks.  

    If this wasn't the culture, I would have 100% confidence that Barack Obama would win re-election easily this fall.

    And we would definitely be making more progress in the country.  That we have had as much progress as we have had in this wretched culture is an accomplishment in itself.

    Barack Obama for President '08

    by v2aggie2 on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:03:26 AM PDT

  •  Of course the structure of our public (8+ / 0-)

    dialog is completely degenerate.  But let's be very clear that the effects are very much asymmetric.  As long as we are discussing some personality issue we are not discussing:

    - The shockingly unjust distribution of wealth
    - Racism
    - Endless, pointless war
    - The out of control criminal justice system
    - The relentless war on women
    - a broken electoral system
    - Insert the next ten real issues here.

    The dumb-down drivel of the corporate media serves the right-wing well and penalizes progressives.  That is why it goes on.  

    When the press acts as a megaphone for Right-wing lies and non-sequitors they are active participants while cynically claiming some sort of "neutrality".  It's why I rarely bother with any sort of corporate news.    

    The Long War is not on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. It is on the American people.

    by Geonomist on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:03:57 AM PDT

  •  It's so sad that the MSM constantly peddles.... (2+ / 0-)

    to the lowest common denominator.  The whole elective process could be so much better for everyone if the MSM
    did not just look it it as a way to make more money.

    You can't change the world, but you can change the facts, and when you change the facts, you change points of views, when you change points of can change a vote, and when you change a can change the world

    by progresso on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:11:19 AM PDT

  •  Two things (4+ / 0-)

    The devaluing of intelligence, especially via formal learning, is deeply ingrained in American history.  That doesn't make it any less depressing, but at least I don't feel that we're in some golden age of valuing ignorance over knowledge.

    Second, the beer standard is in itself a not entirely ridiculous surrogate for what voters should legitimately look for, which is an empathetic understanding of their situation and their concerns.  It's just been debased, which is an ironic thing to say about a standard that involves getting buzzed with someone, but no less true for it.

    Romney '12: The Power of Crass Commands You!

    by Rich in PA on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:16:15 AM PDT

  •  Thank you! (5+ / 0-)

    This should be on over op-ed page in the country. Of course your laser sharp description of MSM explains why that is not so.

    Dear Republicans, the United States is a Representative Democracy, not your church.

    by Onomastic on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:17:11 AM PDT

  •  Yeah, I remember the beer thing... (5+ / 0-)

    Every time I heard George Bush mentioned as a guy you'd like to have a beer with I thought to myself "you're not trying to elect the president of your fucking bowling team, dumbass!!!".

    Yer right, Laurence.  This is politics reduced to the lowest common denominator...

    Well, it sure is a mess, ain’t it, Sheriff….
    Yep, and if it ain’t it’ll do ‘til the mess gets here.

    Liberal = We're all in this together
    Conservative = Every man for himself
    Who you gonna call?

  •  or which Candidate goes to Church the most? (5+ / 0-)

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:25:47 AM PDT

  •  Ike gave us Nixon, 'nuff said (2+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:26:54 AM PDT

  •  a very good point (4+ / 0-)

    and one that always stops a bagger or GOPer in their tracks. "OK, then, what are the needed skills for leading this nation?" They are so full of reactionary dogma that they cannot think, and when asked this question, they go utterly blank. Or resort to spouting dogma which has nothing to do with the question. So, when you call them on it, they short circuit.

    I often use the "who would you hire to work at your business?" frame. "Would you hire a person who sits down at an interview and talks trash about another applicant? Would you hire a person who lies on the job application from? Would you hire  a person who talks about their religion, but can't operate the tools needed to do the job he or she is being hired to do? Would you hire a person without looking at their track record? Of course not. When you vote for a candidate, you are hiring him or her with your vote. So why not ask these questions?"

    "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

    by azureblue on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:29:52 AM PDT

  •  why surprise? same standard media uses (3+ / 0-)

    That's why we have Davis Gregory running meet the press instead of a Chris Hayes, Melissa Harris Perry, Ezra Klein or Rachel Maddow.

    They called central casting and requested a tall white male with a Midwestern accent who can appear serious, but not knowledgeable to ask serious questions.

    again style over substance

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:31:21 AM PDT

    •  Not sure I agree. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think David Gregory is smart enough, he just chooses to frame debate in a way that avoids seriousness. He could ask plenty of pointed questions sitting in the WH briefing room, remember?
      Now that he's hosting the John McCain fan club, he avoids questions that will get him kicked off of the cocktail party invite list.

  •  In defense of the stupid voters... (2+ / 0-)

    ...please let's not forget that Al Gore received more votes in the 2000 election than did our (reformed alky) beer buddy Bush.

    Bush became president NOT because the voters preferred a theoretical drinking buddy, but because the Republicans stole the election.

  •  The Red Sonja test works for me. (0+ / 0-)

    Or at least a political adaptation of it.  You remember Red Sonja, right?  Early in the movie, she's advised that she should love only a man who can defeat her in battle.  So my political standard is to vote only for the candidate who can impress me with how much it looks like they know what the hell they're doing.

    I remember the despair that settled into my stomach every time our last president opened his mouth and I realized with dread that this was a man who could decide when my life was a fair trade for his policy objectives.

    Not fun, let me tell you.

  •  Believe it or not, many over 21 don't drink beer (3+ / 0-)

    or any other kind of alcohol.

    We are not interested in hanging out with somebody based on whether or not they do drink alcohol, let along any particular kind of alcohol.

    How about asking who you would just like to hang out with? Or take a walk with? How about take a long drive with? Or plant a garden with?

    Or any one of a number of other activities where people have an opportunity to have good conversations, sharing their views and their hearts?

    I must be dreaming...

    by murphy on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:34:04 AM PDT

  •  lizard brain candidates vs frontal lobe candidates (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, JeffW, happymisanthropy

    Humans are hard-wired to follow people who might not (and probably don't) have their best interests in mind: the product of thousands of generations of natural selection driven by the fact that getting treated like crap by the alpha male is preferable to being killed by him.  It's probably the same mental process behind "battered woman syndrome".

    W was a lizard brain candidate, as was Reagan before him.  Nixon too.  They all appealed to the most primitive impulses in people, especially the white majority: tribalism, security, deference to authority, desire for gain, etc.  Lincoln only truly won the North to the Union cause when he made the Civil War about slavery; otherwise his only real concern was what color the Southern states would be painted on a map.  FDR's margins of victory shrunk as the public's attention shifted from the Depression to the looming war.  Carter was destroyed by his perceived agenda of deprivation, lack of personal charisma, and weakness in the face of "enemies".

    The lizard brain easily confuses circumspection for an outright lack of balls; a soft-spoken and sophisticated candidate can be dismissed as a gutless pedant.  It easily confuses instability for passion; again, it sees a guy who'll actually do something.  It definitely prefers people who look and sound like us.  It's the tribal savage who answers any perceived disrespect with violence, who'll grab as much of the meat as he can unless stopped by a bigger savage, in which case he'll fall into line just as quickly and cringingly, happy to do what the big boss wants in the hope of winning his approval.

    We believe in government, but government doesn't believe in us. We believe in capitalism, but capitalism doesn't believe in us.

    by Visceral on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:35:34 AM PDT

  •  Both parties should put the beer on ice until (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat

    they are willing to field candidates that are ready to represent the interest of everyday folk (you know the people that are supposed to be their constituents).

    I think the beer standard is perfectly legitimate.  But anyone who thinks that Romney (or Obama) meet that standard, are deluded.

  •  I want a potus I can have a beer with... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat, JeffW

    who can relate to people like me and take our struggles into account when making decisions.

    And over that beer, I want her to dazzle me with her intelligence.

    Most importantly I want a liberal potus driven by the goal of enacting a liberal foreign policy and liberal economic policy.

    I think most people focus on that last piece as well. After all, Obama is the obvious beer test winner who can relate to working class and middle class people, but the bubbas in the GOP always come back to ideology.

    Just like I did when I voted for John Kerry.

  •  what about a "Scotch standard"? (0+ / 0-)

    I can't support a beer standard.

    On the other hand, a scotch standard may have merit...or maybe I should sat a Scots Whiskey standard....

  •  Romney does not drink beer, right? (0+ / 0-)

    So I think it's a great test for the presidential election.

    But I'm shallow. My first goal is to win the WH...  Changing human nature comes second.

    by chloris creator on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:07:33 AM PDT

  •  This... I find intriguing... (3+ / 0-)
    Romney seems more the guy to talk about his friends who own sports.
    Yesterday I was at a Derby party (also served as a belated bday party for me too).  The amount of mockery and derision that was pointed at the horse owners whenever they showed them on the teevee screen was incredible, even coming from the wingnuts among the attendees.  I'm assuming that Rmoney, being involved tangentially with the horsey set through his wife, knows a lot of those owners and counts them among his friends. The amount of derision  voiced against those owners does not bode well for Rmoney's tactic of bragging up his friendship with those owners, as well as his good buddies who own sports teams.  Why he thinks that a return to the Golden Age of the late 19th century is a good thing and will be a positive for his candidacy is just totally beyond me.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:13:47 AM PDT

    •  the peasants will fall in line behind the lords (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's what makes them peasants.

      I wish I could believe that populist sentiment would deliver a Democratic victory, but you have to remember that they think we're alien elites too.  It doesn't help that the Democratic Party is the "good cop" to the Republicans' "bad cop": still in bed with the plutocrats, still invested in the American empire, and still eager to build rapport with the far right.

      We believe in government, but government doesn't believe in us. We believe in capitalism, but capitalism doesn't believe in us.

      by Visceral on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:39:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gore (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat

    Although I voted for him and would vote for him again, it wasn't his wonkiness that I didn't and don't like. It was a lack of authenticity, some of the same things I detect in Romney and the connecting thread is that I'm happy right now that our president is not a second-gen or third-gen pol.

    Artifice Al, as I used to like to call him, was hip to John Denver and Frank Zappa but didn't understand that you don't like rock'n'roll if you don't like stuff that is supposed to piss off your parents.

    He ws DLC from the git.

    On the other hand, he was the most prepared person to be president that I have seen win a major nomination in my lifetime.

    Second most prepared was Richard Nixon.

    Even when he endorsed Dean, he was endorsing a fellow apostate DLC darling.

    I voted for him. Am glad I did. Wish he'd won, or at the very least that the resolution had gone toward Jan 1 and Bush had sold cheney out and offered Gore the VP in exchange for becoming president. (Dumb fantasy, and really only top of my head right now).

    But we can do better. As despairing as I am at times of things, we have done better this time.

    Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

    by textus on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:15:48 AM PDT

  •  A Sad State of Affairs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stunvegas, Friend of the court

    Unfortunately, All Too True.

    We have entered the Age where the Media has Turned
    Arrogant Ignorance into a Socially Acceptable and
    Politically Viable Viewpoint.

    There are periods in History where So-Called Common
    Sense is Nothing more than Popular Stupidity.

    That is Where We Are Now.

    I Normally Laugh when the Human Lemmings decide
    to Jump Off a Cliff.   Not Anymore.  Now they want to
    Force Everyone to Dive Over the Edge With Them.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:16:56 AM PDT

  •  limbaugh/radio much more imp than beer standard (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stunvegas, Friend of the court

    that gore assessment was done in a RW radio vacuum, it's not valid. he may have been a bit stiff but a lot of that shit that stuck to him was made up.

    much more important than the beer is the constant pounding that any national progressive candidate gets from talk radio. gore was another limbaugh/RW radio success. just like kerry.

    beer standard? bush was an alcoholic (maybe dry), awol, spoiled rotten silver spooner who only got near the white house because RW radio was given a free speech free ride.

    every day on 1000 radio stations team limbaugh would repeat the rove-managed swiftboating of lies, myths, and one liners and the left had no clue what was happening.

    team limbaugh would lay out a smorgasbord of prechewed one-liners for the talking heads (like chris mathews) and their panels to  pick through, knowing they could repeat and discuss them for giggles, knowing they were okay to repeat because they could feel the buzz- they had already been pounded into the earholes of 50 mil the week before.

    gore got swiftboated by talk radio and the left didn't get his back on it because they had no clue it was happening. same with kerry. you can thank your local talk radio staation for bush and iraq and bank deregulation.

     limbaugh and sons are mentioning warren on a regular basis. nationally.  that's why scott brown won the first time, despite his dem opponent's incompetence. i'lll bet she's getting the same treatment from local RW blowhards and the people who say they've got her back have no  clue. and i'll bet a lot of those stations are being endorsed by mass universities (broadcasting university sports).

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:18:34 AM PDT

  •  wrong theory--its emotional (0+ / 0-)

    most voters vote w their emotions and the only time they venture into the 'thinky' part of politics is to develop justifications for their emotional states.

    they vote for candidates they feel they could 'have a relationship with' and often get exactly that---they get screwed...

    not all relationships are healthy and productive.

  •  It was clear that the corporate overlords .... (0+ / 0-)

    wanted Dumbya, so I understand the press' slanted coverage against Gore.

    And I don't think many people were fooled by who Dumbya was; they knew he was a shill and most viewed him as a seatwarmer who's advisers were going to run the show. People took the system for granted; they did not realize how a bad leader - even an empty suit - can cause such structurally damage; a lot of people thought the government was mostly on auto-pilot.

    As for the beer standard; yes, people did need that to convince themselves to vote for such a lightweight as Dumbya ... its one thing to do something stupid, but its another thing to KNOW its stupid and to still do it.

    But I'll say one thing about Dumbya and its tied into the beer thing and that he and Reagan had a gift for making people believe that they'll be apart of the looting and someone else will be screwed. Bush Sr. was different; people knew they would be screwed, but with the quick and easy money during internet & real estate bubbles, the "guy to have a beer with" seems like the guy who will cut you in and screw SOMEONE else.

  •  About that one line... (0+ / 0-)
    "....number of times he got arrested for being a reckless boorish asshole will ever be a regular guy."
    Being a reckless, boorish asshole IS being a regular guy - among the crowd that inflicted W on us. Let's face it - that was the prime (if not sole) qualification shared by his cabinet and the people he appointed to top jobs. The ones who weren't didn't last long.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun May 06, 2012 at 11:18:13 AM PDT

  •  for doctors, yes; for presidents, no (0+ / 0-)

    When I chose a doctor, the beer standard was okay.  I had no specific knowledge of medicine, and all of the potential doctors on my list had the requisite degrees.  So I chose the one who was closest to me in age (i.e., 40ish) as I knew I would feel more comfortable talking to him about my health-related problems.  It worked; we have had good rapport, and I have had the appropriate treatment.  

    When I choose a leader, however, I do have some knowledge about what works and what doesn't.  For instance, I know that the Romney/Ryan 'steal from the poor and line the pockets of the rich' trickle-down theory does not work for the Greater Good.  I understood from classes in U.S. History, Economics, etc., that regulation was necessary, and I said from the get-go that Mr. Reagan's inclinations toward deregulation would end badly.  

    In short, we all have life experience that gives us some awareness and some expectation of what an honest, intelligent leader is or isn't.   And we ought to know that we have very little chance of actually sitting down with either candidate to chat.  It doesn't matter if we would feel more intimidated talking to one candidate because she or he is older, smarter or more experienced.  So we should apply a measure other than the beer standard.  We should go with the one who seems to be more likely to address issues as we would.  

    But intellectually, emotionally or by the beer standard, in the current contest there is no contest.  Mr. Romney comes out the lesser candidate by any set of measures I can imagine.  

  •  Actually, Lincoln would have been a great drinking (0+ / 0-)

    companion--except that he didn't drink, which was almost unheard of on the frontier in the first half of the 19th century.  But he was a legendary storyteller, who not only entertained his audiences as a young man, but used stories to make points in his political life.  When he was accused by an opponent of being two-faced, he said that if he had two faces, why would he wear this one?  When one of his generals (probably McClellan) was challenging his authority, Lincoln told the story of the horse who was kicking and managed to get his hoof caught in the cinch.  At this, the rider said "If you want to get on, I'll get off."

    By contrast, George Washington was the ultimate in chilly dignity.  His self-image would never permit him to unbend with anyone, let alone the common man in the tavern on the corner.  But he was a pretty good President as well.

    So Lawrence Lewis' point is well taken.  Instead of bonhomie, let's look for competence in our leaders.

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