Over at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Journalism, Alicia Colon wonders if George W. Bush is the most reviled President ever.  She says she hasn’t done enough research yet. I can help her there.

No, he isn’t. Neither is Lincoln, as she speculates. It’s Richard M. Nixon. 

Why, you ask? Because he’s almost the picture in the dictionary next to anti-charisma.

I define anti-charisma as a phenomenon that causes the unlucky bearer to inspire an instinctively hostile reaction in others. If an anti-charismatic person says “Yes we can!”, the response is “You’re not the boss of me.”
Anti-charisma doesn’t seem to be as well analyzed as charisma, but here is my unscientific list of  a few prominent people who I believe have it.

  • Dick Cheney
  • Richard Nixon
  • Bill Belichick 
  • John Kerry
  • Al Gore

Most of them are politicians–Kerry and Gore largely unsuccessful ones, Cheney only successful by joining with a charismatic running mate, Nixon by avoiding debates with other candidates. Belichick, despite being the best active NFL coach, inspires none of the admiration in the national media or fans in general that is expressed for lesser coaches.
The reason I bring this up is because Martha Coakely looks destined to join them on this list. One of the hallmarks, in my opinion, of anti-charisma is that mistakes the anti-charismatic person makes tend to have greater impact than they really warrant, and Coakley is no exception. Whereas Obama could be forgiven for saying he’d been in 57 states, Coakley is mocked far more aggressively for a campaign ad in which “Massachusetts” was misspelled.
Then there are personal factors such as appearance and voice. This ad is a textbook example of a charismatic voice vs. an anti-charismatic one. And Nixon provided a legendary illustration  of what a difference looks make.
To be continued…

Ed Schultz says he’d cheat to win the Massachusetts senate race. Of course, one of the first rules of cheating is not to say “I’m going to cheat now”, so Schultz would seem to be a lousy “dirty tricks” man.

Also, of course, people are more likely to cheat for a charismatic candidate. It’s much harder to make them cheat for an un-charismatic one.

via The Daily Dish:

“Here is congressman Capuano from Cambridge, rejected in favor of the tired, useless hack, Coakley:”

He does seem more passionate than Coakley. But there’s still no charisma there. And, quite frankly, shallow though it is, looks matter if you want to win an election, and Brown is better-looking than Capuano. 

He might’ve put up a better fight, but I doubt he’d win.

My final thoughts on the Harry Reid quote, which I don’t want to spend much time on, since my main point is that the media (of which I am, after all, a member) is over-discussing it. 

The knee-jerk reaction to this over coverage of the story is to say that “the media” is biased in favor of Republicans. This might be true, but I doubt it. I suspect the real reason this story beats out the vastly more outrageous comments of Rudy Giuliani, for example, is that it involves racial issues.

One of the deepest desires of the MSM  is to have a National Conversation on Race. This is a polite way of saying they adore trying to foment discord between races. This element is dramatic, divisive, and, best of all, there is no means of resolving it, because everyone is always whatever race they were born as, so there will always be a wealth of stories about it. If a story is really juicy, it might spawn more outrage, subsequent racist remarks/actions, and possibly even riots. 

This, I’m sure, won’t happen in this case. The only people who would start riots to oust Reid are the Tea-Party people, and they would’ve done that already if they could. Nevertheless, this makes for an exciting, drama filled story that is meaningless and stupid beneath all the emotional trappings.

That’s what the press is built on. 

He’s “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.”–Harry Reid, on candidate Barack Obama. 

“We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama,”–Rudy Giuliani, on Obama’s National Security policy.

Which statement is false?

Which statement got more press coverage?

Why?

This little item deserves a bit more attention, I think. First of all, I must admit I have a personal bias against Giuliani because, quite frankly, I am biased against jerks. The man is barely even a Republican in terms of his actual political policies (he used to be a Democrat, in fact) yet he has been using some of the worst elements of the Republican party to gain power for himself. That’s my opinion of him. 

But, his personal character aside, what’s actually interesting about this is that it seems to be part of a concerted effort to absolve Bush from blame for negligence in allowing 9/11 to happen.

The theory behind this goes like this: everybody makes a claim. They make it a lot. The claim will be analyzed, and, often, proven false; but that is irrelevant. The important thing is, if you get enough people saying it, someone who is utterly uninformed will hear it, and assume it’s true because he hasn’t got time to research it in depth. 

Like I said in my previous post, this isn’t the first time prominent people try to hammer home a stock line. I remember a montage on Rush Limbaugh’s show that illustrated this technique perfectly. This sort of thing goes on all the time in politics, and once you know about it, it becomes incredibly obvious. (Remember how every speech at the ’08 Democratic convention pointed out the similarities between McCain and Bush?)

That said, I don’t know if anyone has ever attempted revisionist history on this scale. I know the USSR infamously cropped pictures of people who’d displeased Stalin after they were executed, but this is something else entirely. 

What I wonder is:

1. Who is making this concerted effort?

2. Could it work? Will people really start to forget who was President on 9/11?

To be continued…