Tuesday, November 16, 2004


I did not hear Peter Deutsch speak (writing a paper) but I'll make some comments based on Isaac's account of the talk.

Maybe this was rectified during the talk, but Deutsch seems to have weird inconsistent views about the importance of personality in politics. First he asserts that personality is what lost Kerry the election. Arguably, "nice personality" is disjoint from "has well-defined views on every issue." Then he says that Clinton's success was not due to his charisma and personality. So the personal doesn't matter. Yet somehow Clinton's coalition failed because of Clinton's personal problems. So the personal does matter. I am confused.

Substantively, I'd agree with Deutsch on the Kerry issue. People simply didn't know who he was or what he stood for. But as I said above, I don't think this is really an issue of personality. Regarding Clinton, I don't think that either Clinton's radiant personality nor his marital difficulties were much of a boon or a hindrance. Certainly, they helped. But if Clinton had run on John Kerry's policies he would not have done as well as he did. I think the reason he succeeded was because of the coalition he was able to form, but I think the reason he failed (temporarily, I hope) is because the Democratic party ultimately decided to reject moderate politics. I believe that when this is rectified there will once again be hope. But we may have to wait for Barack Obama.


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