This weekend, in response to the Women’s Marches in various cities across the country, the new President tweeted:

The President of the United States had 140 characters to comment on massive protests against him and his policies, and he used 24 of them to offer the advice that celebrities were detrimental to the protest effort.

Now, why would he bother to do that? What interest does he have in teaching them how to protest more effectively?

Answer: the celebrities are actually very effective.  Thus, he is trying to discourage the Democrats and other groups opposed to him from utilizing them.

Let me repeat what I said in my first post on this subject:

[Celebrity supporters] made Democrats seem out of touch with the salt-of-the-Earth workers in the Rust Belt.

Moderate Republicans and Bernie Sanders voters alike have argued that the Democrats need to jettison celebrity support and focus on connecting with “everyday folks”.

It makes for a nice story. But it’s not true.

Again, it’s instructive to look at examples of a similar phenomenon from the past: Democrats advising Republicans on what sort of candidate they should run to win elections.

“You can never win with somebody so unpalatable to the diverse, socially liberal electorate”, they said. “Republicans need moderates like McCain and Romney if they want to win elections”.

This line of thinking was so influential that prominent Republicans bought into it.

The Democrats, meanwhile, convinced themselves that running against an extreme candidate like Trump would mean an easy win for them.

This was conventional wisdom in both the Republican and Democratic establishments. And it was wrong. The Republicans didn’t win with moderates, but did win with an extremist, completely contrary to what the Democrats (and the moderate Republicans) said would happen.

Let me repeat myself: Democrats would be wise not to listen to the advice given by their opponents.

You know that “charisma” stuff I go on about all the time on here?  The quality that is more important than any other to winning elections?

Romney doesn’t have it.

I know, that’s not news.  But it never ceases to amaze me how singularly lacking he is in this quality.

I was listening to a snippet of some speech of his on the radio.  It bored me.  That’s a bad sign for him; if he were a half-way charismatic fellow, he’d have had me outraged.  All the charismatic people on the Republican side can make do that.  But Romney is just dull.

You don’t even have to consider the content of their speeches–and Heaven knows, too many voters probably don’t–to see the difference.  Obama sounds passionate and fired up when he speaks, whereas Romney’s voice sort of cracks whenever he tries to raise his voice to a powerful crescendo.

Sure, tons of people will vote for Romney because they hate Obama.  People are either going to vote for Obama or against him, but nobody is going to vote for Mitt Romney.  He is just hoping that enough people will hate the incumbent to vote him in.  That was the strategy for the last uncharismatic guy from Massachusetts, too.

And now there are rumors that his campaign plans to “avoid John McCain’s mistake”–to wit, make a dull pick, without any charisma, the opposite of Sarah Palin.  This is also a terrible idea, though speaking as one who hopes Romney does not get elected, it pleases me greatly.

I suspect that, in the end, Palin helped McCain’s 2008 campaign.  Yes, you read that right.  It is true that she made a fool of herself in her interviews, but what of that?   The Republican base does not believe anything in the mainstream press, and consequently explained that away as “media bias”.

You say: “but she alienated the moderates”.  No, she didn’t.  The moderates were already alienated, because they were going to vote for Obama no matter what.  No one except a die-hard Republican was going to vote for John McCain, and even they didn’t like him much.  Palin served to energize the only group which would even consider voting for John McCain.  From a purely strategic point of view, she was a good pick.  A rotten candidate, but a good pick.  Curious how that can happen.

Anyway, if the Romney people do decide to double down on dullness, I think it will signify that the people running his campaign are basically counting on a massive economic disaster to make Obama unpopular.  And I suppose that could happen.  Kind of sad, though, if your entire campaign depends on something like that.

John Nance Garner once said the Vice-Presidency was “not worth a bucket of warm spit. “  (Some say he mentioned a different liquid.) Well, clearly Tea-Partiers disagree with him. I already blogged about the possibility of Representative Allen West being Romney’s V.P. and today I saw this NPR story which quotes Tea Partier Bill Miller as saying: “At this point, the only thing [Romney] can possibly do is who he picks for V.P.”

Well, the V.P. slot has been getting more attention lately. Why, there’s even a new HBO series about it. Shows you what John Nance Garner knew.

I assume Romney plans to follow this Miller’s advice, and pick a Vice-President who will excite the base. This is a good plan because it will make appeal more to the Tea-Party crowd without having to hand any actual power to an extreme conservative. Though, as John McCain discovered, this method is not altogether foolproof.

Besides, it’s not that the Vice-President has no power; if the Veep is clever enough, the position can certainly be a powerful one. Dick Cheney practically revolutionized the position, and I suspect that his actions in office has made subsequent Presidential candidates be much more cautious about who they select for the role. But there’s no denying Cheney was one of the most powerful Vice-Presidents ever.

So, the question is: will Romney go for an insider in the mold of Cheney or an exciting figure in the mold of Palin?

Yet more mistakes by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. She’s admitted to not reading the Arizona immigration bill, but nevertheless has gone ahead and criticized it. She also cut funding for security for New York’s mass-transit system and then lied about it.

Napolitano has never struck me as an especially competent individual. I strongly feel that she botched the response to the Christmas day attempted bombing–though it was largely merely a PR failure on her part, it suggests a rather high degree of incompetence, and if it were not for extremely good fortune on that day, the consequences of DHS stupidity could have been much more severe.

More than anything–and maybe we can chalk this up to anti-charisma–Napolitano has displayed a rather stunning level of tone-deafness. I’ll tell you up front: I haven’t read the Arizona immigration bill either;  but I still am more than qualified to pass judgment on it. But Napolitano was easily lured into saying something that made her sound less confident and more like a clueless hack–and by John McCain, no less!

Here’s what I’d have said:

 “I am familiar with the law to the extent that I recognize the potential exists for it to be abused for the purpose of infringing upon the rights of citizens.” 

Napolitano’s anti-charisma exacerbates all of her mistakes, of course, but it’s getting harder and harder to see what actual skills she possesses that make her worth the PR headaches she creates.

He’s avoiding Arlen Specter, that’s for sure.

In other political news, two of John McCain’s top staffers are leaving his Senate campaign. I wonder if they’re thinking he’ll lose.

I’ve thought McCain had Hayworth beaten a couple of times now, but he can never quite put him away. He’s starting to remind me of Brett Favre in the 2008 NFC Championship game.

According to a new poll, the score is: McCain 47%, Hayworth 42%.

Of note also is this quote:

“McCain has flooded the airways with paid advertisements, and apparently Arizona voters don’t like what he has to say,” Hayworth campaign manager David Payne said Friday in a prepared statement. “Congressman Hayworth’s grassroots campaign and conservative message is being embraced by the people.”

 Of course, that’s only one, heavily biased, interpretation. But it is plausible if McCain suffers from anti-charisma. I wonder if that mocking ad his friends released the other day will backfire.

UPDATE: And before anyone gets all offended, the title of this post is not an “incitement to violence“. It’s a metaphor.