Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

December 6, 2003

by V

Received 'wisdom'

If you're a journalist, does that excuse you from having to make an actual argument?

Eric Alterman: Altercation
Dean is not a sure loser in November, but he is a much, much harder sell than Kerry, Clark, Gephardt or Edwards. And fair or not, this ought to give one pause.
Blah, blah, blah. I can see saying that about Clark; he's got a dazzling resume, if not a thriving campaign. But the other guys are Congress dudes; there's much more of a need for Alterman to explain his casual spewing of this claim.

Gephardt, Kerry and Edwards have proven that they can appeal to a miniscule percentage of the people in the entire US by being elected to Congress, and Congresspeople simply do not do well in matchups with incumbent Presidents (it's been something like 80 years since that formula worked).

Governors seem to be the kind of people that Americans like to elect President; Dean is the only one left in the field. Promoting an executive from running a state to running the country is clearly a shorter leap for the voting public than promoting a legislator to the bigger office up Pennsylvania Avenue.

So Mr. Alterman, you need to explain more of your reasoning than just asserting that 'Dean is a much much harder sell'. It's laughable on its face to this non-Washington-insider.

And given your odd Kerry fannishness and despite your protestations of independence, it smells like Kerry campaign FUD and not objective commentary.
Posted by V at December 6, 2003 06:42 PM

The idea that Dean is a harder sell than Kerry, Gep, or even Clark, is the same sort of marketing timidity that tries to satisfy the largest number of people possible at any one time and winds up settling on selling nothing but vanilla ice cream.

There's selling something people want -- attracting people. That's one brand of marketing. And there's the other kind -- the kind that doesn't give people what they want, but avoids giving them what they don't want. Don't attract people -- simply avoid repulsing them. Don't turn anyone OFF.

And this is the sort of marketing that results in timidity and boredom. Innovative marketing and conservative marketing are complete opposites.

And they never result in anything really good, anything worth eating or watching or voting for. People are desperate for a good meal, and we keep getting lukewarm limp french fries shoved at us.

And don't tell me about how successful McDonald's has become by doing just that. McDonald's was an innovation at the time -- new and different and something radical, the idea that you could walk into a restaurant and know precisely what you were getting, no matter where you were in the country. That was a very unique idea, and actually groundbreaking.

It's not anymore. Companies (and political parties) break new ground, get rich off of it, and then get scared and timid and fear doing anything new ever again. Then, this results in stagnation and boredom, and people get restless and start searching for the NEXT new thing ...

Howard Dean is the Next New Thing.

Posted by: Janis at December 7, 2003 07:24 PM

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