Sunday, January 06, 2008

Changing the messenger

Clearly "change" is a theme that resonates strongly with a lot of people. What is not so clear is whether it is a change of messenger that really excites people or the nitty-gritty details of policy changes that ultimately matter. Clearly a lot of people see Hillary as more of an agent for the status quo than a true break from the past. I personally think that is an unfair charactization of everything that she stands for, but the reality is that a lot of people have come to see her as "part" of the "problem" rather than a clean break from the past.

So, the big question that primary voters in New Hampshire will be answering for us on Tuesday is who they see as more representative of "change", however they may individually think about what "change" means to them.

One of the reasons that I am an independent is that I abhor all of the "cult of personality" that serves as the foundation for most of what we call "politics." To my mind, we should focus on what policies we wish to put into place and only then ask the question of who stands the best chance of pursuing those policies. Instead, we have a political system built around the question of who can win a popularity contest. Who has the best sound bites. Who has the best red-meat lines. Who makes us feel good.

And, maybe that is also a key to why Hillary does not resonate positively enough with voters and resonates negatively with too many voters: she spends too much time obesssing over policy and how to achieve it rather than spending enough time polishing up her image to be the most popular person in the room. That is in fact unfortunate. Popularity is a poor indicator or substitute for ability to succeed at securing real and durable change.

-- Jack Krupansky


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