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.

Republicans are already saying that Coakley’s inevitable loss to Brown is a referendum on Obama’s policies. Democrats are saying that she was just a lousy candidate, and Obama’s and the DNC’s policies have nothing to with it.

Based on the charisma theory, I’d have to say the Democrats are right. But there is a problem here: if charisma is so important, how is it that Coakley got the nomination in the first place? As we have seen, she defeated an apparently more charismatic opponent. How can this be reconciled with the theory?

First of all, it must be made clear that Capuano isn’t much more charismatic than Coakley is. If he had Obama-level charisma, this would be a different story.  Second of all, I speculate that charisma becomes a bigger factor the more important an election is perceived to be. In primaries, for a seat that is considered won by X party candidate by default, it matters less, because people don’t even care enough to really investigate the candidates even enough to find out who has charisma. At that level, it’s the close–almost personal–supporters of Martha Coakley and Michael Capuano, not their party or really even any ideology.

Once a campaign takes on an aura of extreme importance, it changes things. Epic struggles and charismatic people complement each other beautifully. If Barack Obama had lent all his personal charisma to the cause of arguing eloquently for, say, fixing potholes in Chicago, it’d be comical. That’s why, as the book Game Change documents, so many Democrats wanted him to run for President. I speculate that charisma doesn’t just help a person get involved in great events, it almost demands them to.

Oddly, however, you can’t lend your charisma to someone else by means of an endorsement. Obama’s campaigning for Creigh Deeds is proof of this. Having someone charismatic testify on your behalf just… doesn’t seem to work. I don’t know why. All sending Obama to help Coakley does, I think, is demonstrate how important the election is.

And that plays right into Brown’s hands.

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.

…if the charisma theory holds, anyway.

I’ll grant this is not a perfect comparison, but, c’mon, she speaks like a robot in that video. Brown is by no means stunningly charismatic like Obama, but he totally has what it takes to beat her out in this race. To make matters even worse, he seems to have gotten off that killer blow: the signature line: “It’s the people’s seat”. And he’s good-looking. And he was an actor. And he is running against the incumbent party. This spells disaster for the Democrats. And no, Obama campaigning for Coakley will not help, because charisma is not transferable
At this point, it would be a Truman-beating-Dewey level upset if Coakley won.

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?


As I have discussed here and here, an attempt seems to be going on to subtly revise history so that people forget George W. Bush was President on 9/11. 

One question I didn’t address in the earlier posts is: Who is doing it? Now, you might think it’s obviously the Republican party doing it, as part of an effort to rehabilitate the image of Republicans as better at National Defense. This is quite likely, although it seems like it would be simpler to demonize Bush, and claim that his Presidency is not typical of Republican ideology. 

But is there any other group that would have an incentive to make this effort?