Never Happen

Currently, conventional wisdom says that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie could never be elected president. Nice wishful thinking, but history shows that all sorts of candidates who didn’t stand a chance — and shouldn’t have — can win. Which is too bad for us.

18 thoughts on “Never Happen

  1. There is no better indicator of our duopoly than the fact that the last few presidents have been elected by ~ 51% of the popular vote. They’ve got us sussed, sized & sorted.

    In economics we call it an oligopoly, and it used to be illegal back when we regulated capitalism.

    ‘course, in countries with real multiple-party systems, they wind up with politicos who garner only 25% of the vote. (cue the ‘instant runoff’ and multivoting posters)

  2. The nature of media/television/infotainment and losers being winners.

    I’ve worked with enough PR people to know how the backstagery part of it works. The PR person’s job is this: To find someone to put in front of the TV camera who will be a “good” subject. What is “good” varies from case to case. But usually, you want someone who uh can um speak er with um out um um um a lot of uh pauses and um filler words. You also want someone who looks the part. So if you’re doing something about social media, you want him (it’s always a him) to be dorkishly cute: so no fatties, no one who needs his adenoids out, no pocket protectors.

    If you watch with an eye toward this, it becomes very obvious.

    So Sarah Palin keeps getting air time because she’s a known quantity. Just like with a car crash, people will slow down to watch. So she keeps getting talking head moments. Even though she’s almost as dumb as a box of rocks. It is not about her being right or being wrong. It’s about how she simultaneously amuses some, is taken deadly seriously by others, and knows the gimmicks of the craft: show up on time, get to makeup, wear the right clothing and DON’T LEAVE DEAD AIR TIME.

    Darwin’s theory talks about “natural” selection. The “natural” selection of television is that slow talkers, people who go “um” a lot, people who look unappealing do not “naturally” select for television because TV is compressed. There is never enough time to discuss anything.

    Why is that? There used to be time for slow talkers, ums and people who weren’t all that pretty. Natural selection again. The “environment” in this case is technology. TV is a subset of the larger world. In that world, TV is no longer the dominant medium with no rivals. TV is now competing with other platforms which have sprung up due to tech advances.

      • mhenriday,

        I wish to apologize to any Rock-Americans I may have offended with my comparison of them to Sarah Palin. It was immature, offensive and clearly, a super-double-banning offense on Daily Kos.

        I will endeavor in future to not be insensitive to the feelings of rocks.

    • @ alex_the_tired –
      “There is never enough time to discuss anything.”
      *
      But there’s time to grab a drink from a bottle of water in the middle of a speech….
      😀

  3. Ted, I’m beginning to get the feeling that you are criticising the nature of the political process in the «indispensable nation». Isn’t that both unconstitutional and unpatriotic, in addition to being fattening ? Please do watch your step….

    Henri

  4. Reading through Christie’s history at Wikipedia (yeah, I know, Wikipedia, but it’s a start) leaves me with the impression of a traditional professional politician, which might be very appealing to people at this point. He’s a moderate enough Republican to classify as what passes for a Democrat these days. While people who want someone harsher may not like him, what are they going to do instead? Vote for a female Democrat? Not vote? Vote for a libertarian? What if he runs with a libertarian running mate? How does Clinton win against that?

    I might well vote third party myself if it came to that match.

    As for the weight thing, the Dems mocked GWB mercilessly for being dumb, and that blew up in their faces. They would doubtless do the same to Christie for being fat, and being fat doesn’t actually affect how you govern. Plus USAians aren’t known overall for being svelte.

  5. The electoral calculus means that (I believe Mr Rall looked into running for elective office) you have your advisers tell you what wins net votes. Say, ‘Gun’. If you’re for gun control, that won’t win many votes from those for gun control, but will lose lots of votes from those who will only hand over their guns when those guns are pried from their cold, dead fingers. Net loss. Say you’re against gun control. That won’t win many votes from the NRA types, but will lose lots of votes from those who want to stop gun violence. Net loss. So NEVER say anything about guns. Lots more issues like that.

    ‘I’m against terrorism.’ No loss, maybe a gain, so say it.

    ‘I’m for Mom and apple pie.’ No loss, maybe a gain, so say it.

    For the rest, you must be a Distinguished Gentleman (or Gentlewoman). You must be able to talk the rich into supporting your candidacy financially in return for favours.

    Only two get nominated by major parties, and only one of those gets elected. So, pick anyone six months before the primaries. The odds are that he won’t be the one who gets nominated, let alone elected.

    Both parties have caucuses, which the fringe controls. Also primaries, where the fringe represents a lot of votes. It’s hard for someone like Christie to get nominated, since he’s perceived as a RINO for helping Obama with Sandy. And it’s hard for any Republican who can get hisseslf nominated to win the presidency.

    So, we’ll continue to continue. And pretend.

    • Christie has been devoting a considerable amount of time and energy to the Republican party for quite some time. And if all they have to offer otherwise is creatures like Palin, who’s a better bet? This guy has insider cred and his crazy is much better focused. I know we like to elect people simply because they’re pretty, but so far that hasn’t worked for a woman.

      Distinguished gentleman? What was distinguished about GWB? And I count Clinton as a Republican. So Republican wins since Carter.

  6. He’s not stupid. He’s not crazy. He hasn’t run for POTUS and lost once already. He has an adequate resume. He impressed people, including Democrats, after superstorm Sandy.

    The Republicans always get a strong turnout even when they lose, and their candidates have been jokes for some time. Christie is not a joke.

  7. Why do so many public people get away with terrible predictions? Can it really but just that people have such short attention spans? I’m sure with enough reflection I would come to a larger explanation but for now I just have this: Conservatives really talk up a diminishing amount of responsibility in our culture. Does not responsibility include owning up to our poor prognostications? Is it that people don’t really care if the information they get from TV is any good? It is just infotainment, right? Ted has touched on this topic before: that losers (that is people who are continually wrong) are actually winners in our country. An expert can have a long track record of failures and bad calls but so long as he is famous he can get a public platform and people will listen. People like Chris Matthews and Donald Rumsfeld are always wrong!

  8. I’d take bets that Christie has already had a lapband installed. He’ll slim down. The metamorphosis will be perfect: a new man for the new (TM) Republican Party.

    Who knows what reheated disaster the Dems will trot out. Possibly Hillary. Certainly not Biden. Hell, maybe an inanimate carbon rod.

    • I think it is revealing in that Dems have apparently so few new presidential possibilities. I mean they had really to dig in a way to get Obama. It is hard to believe that so recently he was just a state Senator. People don’t like cowardly weasels. Reid and Pelosi are ancient and well known for their awkwardness and a few poorly considered remarks. It has seemed to me for a long time that individual Republicans get the spotlight much more often anyway. I’m sure I could name many more prominent Republicans than Dems.

      The media marginalizes any potentially ‘better’ candidate. Nader, Robert Reich, Bernie Sanders, Jesse Ventura, or Ron Paul to name a few that are at least honest with some good ideas.

      • The marginalization process is something to behold. Ralph Nader repeatedly made the point that it is an crucial function of establishment apparatchiks to guarantee that third party, fourth party, etc. candidates never get a chance to debate alternative solutions to serious national problems. The goal is to keep issues from even being raised so that the entrenched pols can avoid public opprobrium for their corrupt entanglements and/or abject failures.

        It may not be widely known that Nader was threatened with arrest and escorted by state troopers off the grounds of the site of the first presidential debate at UMass (Oct. 3, 2000) for daring to approach the entrance of an overflow video venue for which he held a valid ticket. First, he had been denied participation in the debates themselves, then was not invited to attend them in person, and then he was given the bum’s rush when he attempted to watch a video feed of them. There is profound fear among the establishment of any challenge to the status quo and a powerful intent to avoid the emergence of any real choice.

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