April 29, 2008

EGGHEADS NEED NOT APPLY:

Obama: The know-too-much candidate? (ROGER SIMON, 4/28/08, Politico)

Comparisons are already being made between Obama and Adlai Stevenson, who was an intellectual (read: loser). Obama used to teach law at the University of Chicago, one of the brainiest universities in the country.

And Americans don’t want presidents who are too brainy. (Obviously.) We would rather plunge into foreign wars or fall off economic cliffs than have presidents who know too much. That is because braininess is elitist, and being an elitist is the worst thing you can be if you want to be president.


In fact, the most accurate predictor of who will lose the race for an open presidency since at least the turn of the 20th century is which candidate is seen (though often inaccurately) as more intelligent. Herbert Hoover is the only exception and how'd that work out for ya?


MORE:
Demography is king (David Brooks, April 29, 2008, NY Times)

In state after state (Wisconsin being the outlier), Barack Obama has won densely populated, well-educated areas. Hillary Clinton has won less-populated, less-educated areas. For example, Obama has won roughly 70 percent of the most-educated counties in the primary states. Clinton has won 90 percent of the least-educated counties. In state after state, Obama has won a few urban and inner-ring suburban counties. Clinton has won nearly everywhere else.

This social divide has overshadowed regional differences. Sixty-year-old, working-class Catholics vote the same, whether they live in Fresno, Scranton, Nashua or Orlando.

The divide has even overshadowed campaigning. Surely the most interesting feature of the Democratic race is how unimportant political events are. The candidates can spend tens of millions of dollars on advertising, but they are not able to sway their opponent's voters to their side. They can win a stunning victory, but the momentum doesn't carry over from state to state. They can make horrific gaffes, deliver brilliant speeches, turn in good or bad debate performances, but these things do not alter the race.

In Pennsylvania, Obama did everything conceivable to win over Clinton's working-class voters. The effort was a failure. The great uniter failed to unite. In this election, persuasion isn't important. Social identity is everything. Demography is king.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 29, 2008 12:48 PM
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