Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Key to GOP Victory in '08: Overexposed Democrats

I am a big fan of competition in a democracy. Regrettably, I live in a country where elected officials are doing everything in their power to avoid actual contests on polling day. The result of this is a lot of congress are marginally competent and barely articulate political placefillers who have been in office forever. These people have not been out of office in decades and do not regularly encounter, let alone confront, reality. This does not generate statesmanship or great oratory. As exhibit A, I present Representative Barney Frank confronted and confounded by fast pitch softball questions.

Anyone can have a bad day, but if you are going on national TV, you should either bring your big game or stay home. Watching that painful video makes me wonder if Rep. Frank every took a high-school speech class. I do not know how he got elected, but I am sure that it did not involve a lot of personal appearances. He may be great in deal making and other aspects of power management in D.C., but he is not a strong speaker.

Last night I watched every news show air massive coverage of new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. While her public persona is stronger than Rep. Frank's, she is not actually a national favorite. The most recent poll numbers show her trailing Bush in public approval ratings. I strongly suspect that to be a continuing trend.

What is interesting in all this is that the traditional media looks at the Democrats with a inherent approval that is impervious to feedback. The media really does not appear to understand that for significant fractions of their audience, Rep. Pelosi's exposure is like fingernails on a blackboard and Rep. Frank is less comforting than that. While accepted political wisdom is that any coverage is good as long as they spell your name right, the hundreds of hours of coverage that are about to descend on some unsympathetic Representatives are going to spell their names "D". All of that will be magnified by the contributions of the worst moments replayed forever on YouTube that Congressmen will be confronting in coming elections.

I suspect that in the coming elections the worst moments on YouTube will be a significant factor. Since the Democrats will be getting more exposure with their greater power, their worst people will be generating more worst moments and bringing down the whole side. This is going to grind them down.

I really wish that we could find ways to attract men and women of talent, integrity, and conviction to public office. Instead our current system seems to reward people of the thickest skin, shameless endurance, and most detached self-image. None of this addresses issues like the deeply entrenched and self-perpetuating bureaucracy that no longer delivers results. In the absence of meaningful accountability, I suppose that we will have to settle for change. Overexposure of overripe political placefillers will be the agent of change in 2008.
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