Monday, April 21, 2008

Image over Substance

Carol Platt Liebau's latest article argues that the American people want and deserve style over substance.
Normal Americans are tuning in to get a gut feel for the candidates – to decide whom they like and trust, whose views they generally agree with and, of course, whom they can best tolerate seeing on television every night for the next four years.

That’s why last week’s debate was actually the most informative of the entire season. For once, along with all the wonky canned policy responses, it offered real, new insights into the candidates as human beings, and forced them to answer the “character questions” that are central to shaping everyday voters’ gut-level decision making.
Of course these kinds of "character questions" have given us eight years of George Bush and are poised to give us four years of John McCain (who would sure like to invade or bomb Iran). Because of course it is only the Democrats who have "character questions." The sainted McCain, despite having very bad policies and programs, doesn't have to worry about having his character questioned.

So when Liebau writes in praise of the idea that character matters and that these kind of gotcha characters reveal character, well, she already knows that the press is disinclined to go after her candidate.

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