Jon Stewart had an amusing bit on his show last night, in which he points out the fact that in her speech endorsing him, Palin made McCain look bad by her mere presence, because she looks young and attractive and McCain looks old and tired. But it’s more than that, it’s the charisma difference between the two of them. Palin has charisma, McCain doesn’t. At the end of the segment, he plays a clip of someone at the McCain rally who plans to vote for Hayworth, and is just there to see Palin.

I feel sorry for guys like McCain who don’t understand how this works. It’s easy to get fooled by these three facts:

Now, to the layman, it would seem like a brilliant move to get Palin to endorse McCain. But this is ignoring the past cases in which charismatic people endorse non-charismatic people and it doesn’t help. But, you may ask, why doesn’t it help? If charisma is so great, why wouldn’t people be persuaded?

In his book The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama wrote: “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”  That is, I think, the perfect description of the effect of charisma on people. They like someone, and seek to project upon him/her. Thus, the Tea Party will not mind if Palin endorses McCain; rather, they see it as evidence of her loyalty to the man who picked her.

And then they’ll go vote for Hayworth.

On Friday, every news organization was whipped up over Sarah Palin’s speech for John McCain in his primary battle against J.D. Hayworth. The liberals could use it as an excuse to replay Palin’s worst mistakes from the 2008 campaign. The conservatives could use it to talk about their most charismatic and exciting leader. Everywhere, it was big news.

Except I couldn’t find anything about it on Drudge Report. If any of you saw anything about it there, please say so in the comments, but I couldn’t see anything about it all afternoon.

Oddly, Drudge has had several ads for J.D. Hayworth at the top of his page for quite some time now.

The Tea Party is looking for people to run against Ron Paul in the Republican primary. And the reason they are doing this is that “he’s unwilling to work with others, and people are unwilling to work with him, and so we have no voice in Congress.” according to Tim Graney.

I think skepticism of leaders is a good thing, but Paul is such an icon that he may be worth keeping around for the sake of what he represents to the movement.

Incidentally, the Fox news article calls Paul “the model of the grassroots-backed conservative.”

(With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan):

“I am the very model of grassroots-backed Conservative,

I’m endeavoring to act as Liberty’s preservative.

I am very,very big on individual autonomy,

I quote Objectivists and Austrians discussing the economy.”

According to CNN, the Tea-Party-supported principles include:

  • Fiscal Responsibility.
  • Lower Taxes
  • States’ rights
  • National Security.

My opinion is that anyone who tries will find it very difficult to achieve principles #1 and #2 at the same time. The Laffer curve is not that powerful, if it even exists at all. And “National Security” is so far better under Obama than it was under either Clinton or George W. Bush after their first years. So I’m not sure what their movement would really do if given power. Even supposing that tax cut multipliers are much larger than economists think, they cannot balance the budget based solely on that.

As near as I can tell, the optimal strategy according to this movement would be “militaristic Keynesianism,” which would mean cutting taxes, and increasing government spending by vastly increasing expenditures on the military (to further National Security) while making cuts elsewhere. The resulting stimulus from these increased outlays would hopefully get the economy back to full employment, at which point the military spending would be curtailed as well, and the increased wealth produced by the hopefully-booming economy would allow for deficit reduction. (I can’t figure how states’ rights is involved. I suspect it’s a euphemism for overturning Roe v. Wade.)

 That’s the ideal scenario for the Tea-Party. Frankly, however, I really doubt whether the deficit can ever be eliminated altogether by this method.  I think that, at any time, they can have at most 3 of the 4 principles adhered to.