Monday, October 04, 2004

Kerry-Hate-Blindness

I have to admit that, as per below, my estimate of what was going on in the internals of the polls was driven by my utter and complete lack of buy-in for Kerry. For example, Martin Peretz's quite nasty editorial in today's WSJ found nothing but assent on my end of the stick--and yet, like Peretz, I'm stuck voting for the guy. I also think that this visceral dislike for Kerry is not an uncommon characteristic among the cognoscenti--the truth is, the longer you have to listen to Kerry, the more you just want to make it stop. If I have to hear him appeal to the utterly fictive notion that the French, Germans and Arabs are going to save our bacon in Iraq if only we elect Kerry president, I think I'm going to blow an artery.

And yet, most people who haven't been paying attention (that is, most voters) should not be expected to react to Kerry the way I, Peretz, Mickey Kaus, etc. do. That's why Kerry did so well in Iowa--inexplicably, they saw him as more "presidential" and "electable" than the other candidates, largely because that's how he comes off the first few times you hear him. So I'm applying a VERY high discount rate to my own personal reactions to Kerry where the rest of the campaign is concerned.

That said, my guess is that the Kerry will NOT wear well on the public once, god willing, he is elected. He needs to arrange for a very serious personality and policy transplant, and quick.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you just refer to yourself as a member of the "cognoscenti"? Man someone has a real inflated sense of self worth.

Why can't the " cognoscenti", including you, Martin Peretz and the VERY whiney Mickey Kaus get past your cynicism and intellectual penis envy and just admit you like the guy or at least you like him A LOT more than the alternative.

Your just participating in the left's generations old battle to destroy itself. Every time you hate on Kerry remember that in-fighting on the left gave the world neo-conservatism and you and Kerry agree that the result has been disasterous.

StevenTeles said...

Here's a definition of cognoscenti: "an expert able to appreciate a field." Maybe this is true, maybe not, but generally a PhD suggests that I am, in fact, an "expert." Maybe stupid, but still an expert!

Also, I'm not sure you'd want to qualify me as "on the left," if my writings are any guide to such a thing. Yes, I prefer Kerry to Bush, but almost wholly on account of the vices of the latter, rather than the virtues of the former--of which his only one is his party ID.

Anonymous said...

What bothers me about this type of comment is that there's no particular reason for anyone other than yourself to be interested in the fact that you 'viscerally' dislike Kerry. When an inarticulate or uneducated person talks about a gut feeling about a situation or a person, there's a good chance that they're talking about something substantive, and just can't identify it or put it into words, and it's natural to take that kind of comment seriously for that reason.

On the other hand, you, as you have pointed out, have a PhD in the relevant area. If you have anything bad to say about Kerry that isn't based on something purely personal and irrelevant, like his reminding you of a high school principal who was mean to you, you should be able to articulate it.

As an expert, your gut feelings are not more, but less worthy of attention that those of the man on the street, because while he may not have the information or capacity to speak in rational terms about issues of substance, you do; where you choose not to speak rationally, the natural conclusion is that your comment is without substance.

LizardBreath

(This is my second comment here -- I should really register, I suppose.)

Anonymous said...

You know, my comment was a little intemperate, considering that the topic of your post was an admission that your personal reaction to Kerry is not to be relied on. My apologies.

Still, you're an expert on this stuff. If your reaction to Kerry is that strong, shouldn't you pin it down to some kind of rational basis and talk about that, or alternatively figure out that it is a personal idiosyncracy and stop using it as the basis for political analysis?

LizardBreath

Anonymous said...

I still can't get over the "cognoscenti". My father has a PhD from Harvard and I know that if he ever refered to himself as a member of the "cognoscenti" I'd beat him till he twitched. Luckily, it's never come that. Ps. Websters defines it as "someone of superior knowledge or tastes"...again it takes a little brass to include one's self in that group...but go with it...

Besides...your's Kaus' and Peretz's Kerry hate is as far as I can tell wholly irrational. Based on your hate for his haughty-Yalie demeanor...dislike for the smartest kid in the class because you really think you are...Look if we can all get over our need to turn adulthood into the sequal of a John Hughes film we might be able to see the virtues in John Kerry.

He's clearly bright
He's ocassionally articulate...when he's not remarking on how bright he is...
If you live anywhere left of Palookaville you probably agree more with his policy positions than with Bush's

YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIKE THE MAN... you, Martin, Mickey, myself and that dude who is always hanging around Rudy's on 9th Avenue will never have a beer, a meaningful conversation or share a genuine laugh with the man. I am completely cool with that. I just have to trust him that he won't F*** up the world...and I don't have to trust him alone...because I can just trust that their are enough experienced, bright and capable people in the Democratic party stables that the country will run just fine...or at least better than it has. As long Robbie Rubin is alive...I'm way cool with Kerry as President.

Palooka said...

Steve,

You're really getting it from your comrades today, aren't you? I think you're probably a "leftist", but let me see where I'd put you. What are your feelings on (no detailed analysis necessary, but do you share the conservative view on any of the following):

Abortion as a constitutional right

Affirmative Action

Gay marriage and the role of the courts in deciding the issue

Taxes, more or less

Drilling in ANWR

The Constitutionality of the death penalty

Second Amendment (individual right or collective)

StevenTeles said...

In re. Palooka's quiz of my views:

Abortion as a constitutional right. NO, I THINK ROE WAS WRONGLY DECIDED.

Affirmative Action. LIMITED STRICTLY TO BLACKS, IT'S OK, IN CERTAIN VERY LIMITED CIRCUMSTANCES (THAT IS, MORE LIMITED THAN TODAY).

Gay marriage and the role of the courts in deciding the issue FOR GAY MARRIAGE, AGAINST COURTS' ROLE

Taxes, more or less DUMB QUESTION--HIGHER TAXES FOR WHAT? BUT I'M CERTAINLY FOR HIGHER TAXES THAN BUSH, OR EVEN MORE THAN KERRY. THAT SAID, I'M AN ARCH TAX SIMPLIFIER....SO I'D RATHER HAVE LOWER RATES WITH ZERO DEDUCTIONS.

Drilling in ANWR. BEATS ME.

The Constitutionality of the death penalty. CONSTITUTIONAL, BUT THERE ARE SOME ISSUES AROUND ITS APPLICATION.

Second Amendment (individual right or collective). I NEVER COULD FIND A CLEAR POSITION ON THE 2ND AMENDMENT, BUT MY BASIC POSITION ON GUN CONTROL IS THAT, FOR THE MOST PART, THE CONTROLS THAT ARE EVEN REMOTELY POLITICALLY FEASIBLE ARE UNLIKELY TO HAVE AN EFFECT ON CRIME, AND THOSE THAT MIGHT HAVE AN EFFECT ARE NOT REMOTELY POLITICALLY FEASIBLE.

SATISFIED?

Anonymous said...

That guy in front of Rudy's owes me $5.00. Rumor has it that he was last seen leaving for Illinois in a Black Blazer with a Dispatch Sticker on it. Typical.

Palooka said...

Steve,

You didn't have to take my "quiz" if you didn't want to ;) It wasn't a demand, just curiousity. I wouldn't classify you as a leftist, btw. You have several times flashed your "I am a moderate" credentials. What is odd about liberals is that they claim to be a moderate when they're not. Some of them even believe it. Most of the time they're not.