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Saturday, December 29, 2007
posted by Kyle Hampton | 11:50 PM | permalink

Something said by Victor Davis Hanson struck a chord with me. In evaluating all the candidates, Hanson said this about McCain:

I think I share the same odd impression as millions of other moderates and conservatives whose logical reservations are more than outweighed by McCain’s emotional appeal.

I think that Hanson is as astute in this as he is in most other topics. McCain, Huckabee, and Giuliani all benefit from an emotional reaction evoked by one aspect of their personal history. For McCain, it’s his military service. For Huckabee, it’s his religious zeal. For Giuliani, it’s his 9/11 leadership. Each of these events or qualities generally spurs an emotional reaction from the general public, but especially from supporters.

However, it struck me that such an emotional reaction to the candidates is particularly ill-suited towards selecting the next president of the United States. If one was thinking about desirable qualities of a president, emotional appeal would likely rank low on anyone’s list. Why? Because it tells us nothing about capacity for the job. Emotional associations tend to cloud rather than clarify our judgment. Particularly when thinking about the most important job in the world (literally speaking), invocation of emotion is irrelevant. It also seems out of place in the Republican Party, where sound principles and policies have persuaded Americans over the last 30 years. As Hanson describes, McCain’s emotional appeal comes in spite of the principles and policies he espouses. I suspect the same for Huckabee and Giuliani. If voters end up voting based on this emotional appeal, Americans will find themselves frustrated and angry as the emotional appeal lapses and the stark reality of the substance of these candidates emerges.

Luckily there is Mitt Romney, whose substance will promote welfare of all Americans well after the emotional appeal of a candidate has lost its luster. Emotional appeal is no substitute for a solid grounding in sound policy. The smart choice is Mitt Romney.

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1 Comments:


You know,I've been wondering the last couple months what the media's angle was in pushing Huck and McCain in the news. They used the word "surge: in every story line about the polls when "rising in the polls" would have sufficed.Surge is an emotional word menat to send a signal that he is really on fire on something. People that don't pay much attention to politics,hear the word and thinks there must be really something about this guy and that's why he registers in the polls...People that have studied the election closely would knows there's plenty of crap in his Arl bio........But what is the motive? Could it be if they see Romney get the nod,the election won't be as emotionally charged and thus hurt ratings or sell newspapers?




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