Thursday, July 24, 2008

Presidential Luck or Smarts?

Michael Shear has a fairly accurate rundown of the two presidential campaigns in today's WaPo, but it's all wrapped in a frivolous and stupid theme: Which candidate is having the better "luck" right now?

Obama wins this week, he says; McCain is "still waiting for his turn."

By contrast, M.J. Rosenberg at TPM surveyed much the same territory yesterday and concluded it's not luck, it's smarts.
I worked on Capitol Hill for 20 years and I can tell the difference between a staff driven politician and one who knows what he's talking about. The staff driven pol (McCain is an example) is always capable of the big blunder. He does not mix up Shiites and Sunnis because he "misspoke;" he really doesn't know the difference. Same on the economy, he studies a memo and works to assimilate it. But there is no depth.

The sad fact is that most of our politicians are like that. * * *They pander and pander, knowing that they won't get into trouble by just sucking up.

Not Obama. * * * I just talked to a friend who saw Obama in Israel. I asked him what his friends in the Israeli media are saying. "What are they saying? They are saying that he's the next President. And they think he's the smartest American politician they have seen yet."

And here's the money quote: "So what's Obama's secret? He's smart. He reads. He knows his sh*t."

Over at the right-of-center Slate Magazine, Fred Kaplan more or less comes to the same conclusion: John McCain's problem isn't bad luck; it's his "lazy thinking, conceptual confusion, [and] a mind frame clouded by clich├ęd abstractions."

Of course, that leaves this question unanswered: Given the results of the last few elections, what do American voters prize more in their political candidates? Luck or smarts?

Even a London bookie wouldn't give you odds on that one.

1 comment:

panicbean said...

200,000 turn out to see Obama in Germany while McCain gives man in the street interviews to anyone who chances by. Enough said.

We are proudly displaying our Obama stickers on our cars now that they have arrived, hell yeah!

While waiting for those Obama stickers to arrive (they are back ordered on just about all items), I watched for McCain stickers and guess what?

I haven't seen one, yet.