Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 31, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SHRUM AND DUMBER....A few days ago the nice folks at Simon & Schuster sent me a copy of No Excuses, Bob Shrum's memoir of 35 years in the Democratic consulting biz — a career famously marked by almost unremitting failure at the presidential level. I haven't cracked it open yet, but Matt Yglesias has and he reports back in our current issue. Shrum's problem, he says, isn't an excess of conviction, but a lack of it:

[In 2004] three of the four leading Democratic presidential contenders — Gephardt, Kerry, and Edwards — were all Shrum clients. What's more, on the most important moral and political issue of the day, they all broke the wrong way, supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Shrum concedes that he urged his clients to do this, going so far as to say that he prevailed upon Kerry and Edwards to opportunistically endorse a war they knew was wrong. Most astoundingly, he clearly regards this claim as something that will be helpful to the politicians in question, a misjudgment that would seem to speak volumes about the difficulty his clients have had in winning presidential elections.

....[Another] telling example is Shrum's recounting of how during the 2000 campaign "Gore was determined to give a blunt speech on global warming, and to do it in Michigan." Shrum and the rest of the staff talked Gore out of it, on the grounds that the issue "was a third rail in the automotive state of Michigan, a state we had to carry." And, indeed, such a speech almost certainly would have been unpopular in Michigan. On the other hand, voters with a direct financial interest in the issue were the people most likely already familiar with Gore's views, speech or no speech. What's more, Michigan wasn't strictly must-win — if Gore had carried Florida, he wouldn't have needed it. Giving the speech could not only have put him over the top in Florida, it would have countered the public's image of Gore as a phony, dull, passionless calculating figure by letting him connect with the environmental issues on which he was a lifelong advocate. It would also have allowed Gore to skewer Bush where his record was most vulnerable. The speech could have helped Gore establish a persona distinct from Clinton's, without forcing Gore to distance himself from Clinton's accomplishments. And even if the polls didn't show voters yearning for a speech on global warming, it was clear that the voters were yearning for Gore to do something that seemed driven by convictions rather than polls.

I dunno. Could Gore have won Florida convincingly if he'd played up his environmental record? Or would he just have lost Michigan and done himself no good anywhere else? If you were Bob Shrum, what would you have advised?

Kevin Drum 1:16 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (52)

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No comment on calculated stupidity.

Posted by: NeoLotus on May 31, 2007 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

Both Clinton and Reagan were readily able to passionately repackage policy as moral imperatives. I think it gives them a connectedness that Americans respond well to.

The environment is clearly a tailor made one for Gore, and I presume that this would have come across. Most voters don't know what a candidate actually believes, no matter how many times they say it (or do it).

Note also that in 2000 Gore and Bush platforms were virtually identical. Bush had a larger tax cut, and was a 'clean outsider'. Gore was promising policy largely akin to what we saw throughout the 90's. (Only slightly nuanced from what Bush was promising, with only a couple of exceptions.)

Posted by: Saam Barrager on May 31, 2007 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

I know what Shrum should have done. He should have sat Al at a bar with some regular folks and they could have drank beer and swapped stupid stories. It would have put to rest Bush's "He's the guy you like to have a beer with" schtick. Just the sheer audacity of doing that would have blown the media away. You'd leave them speechless.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on May 31, 2007 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

If you were Bob Shrum, what would you have advised?

Too easy: Getting a new and better adviser.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on May 31, 2007 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, I meant John Kerry, not Al Gore.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on May 31, 2007 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

My advice: fire me immediately, and give me a good cockpunching while you're at it.

Posted by: skeptic on May 31, 2007 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know why no one is saying the obvious: Shrum is a deep cover GOP mole.

Posted by: Disputo on May 31, 2007 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

If you were Bob Shrum, what would you have advised?

Just kill me. Cut off my head and kill me, then bury my head in a big pile of dog shit.

Posted by: Bob Shrum on May 31, 2007 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

"Could Gore have won Florida"?

Of course, if Gore had asked for a statewide recount then he would have won Florida.

But let us not forget to put a huge chunk of blame on Lieberman.

He decided to run for re-election in Connecticut.

If he had spent a few more days in New Hampshire, West Virginia, or Florida instead of running for re-election then maybe Gore would have won.

You can't blame Shrum for Gore losing UNLESS he was the one who gave Gore the terrible advice not to ask for a statewide recount.

Posted by: neil wilson on May 31, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

I would have advised Gore to fire my ass because I was dead weight.

Posted by: flounder on May 31, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Whytf did Gore have to give the speech in Michigan? Certainly a speech on "More global warming = five more hurricanes per year" would have had an impact on the Florida electorate, but if that's the case, why not give it in Florida?

Posted by: ogmb on May 31, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Gore DID win Florida.

Posted by: R.L. on May 31, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

I will take the question to mean "what advice would you have given had you been in Shrum's position?" Some of the other responses have been a bit funny but not helpful.

I think the crux of the advice he needed was what Matt hit on towards the end of his piece, do something, ANYTHING, to be authentic, to show you don't listen to people like me for every fricking decision you make.

Posted by: IMU on May 31, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

I would have advised him that I represent everything vile and disgusting about politics, and that I'm no more a Democrat than is Karl Rove.

I would have told him that the only person more loathsome than me is Mickey Kaus.

Posted by: Lou Dobbs on May 31, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

What would I have advised? To fire me immediately, if not sooner.

Posted by: Kenji on May 31, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

In other words, could he have changed the minds of a few hundred Nader voters in Florida? I'd like to think so, but experience tells me he probably couldn't have. They should have already been aware of his environmental record, and they chose to ignore it.

Posted by: KathyF on May 31, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Unless we engage in some serious anachronistic thinking, why should we believe that for the 2004 election, it was politically wrong for Kerry and Edwards to have voted for the Iraq resolution?

Surely a major lesson from the 2004 election was that national security was very important. Does anyone really have any evidence that Kerry and Edwards would have been better off politically if they had voted against the resolution? I know many Democrats want to believe that fighting for the "right cause" always translates into political success, but is really plausible that it is so?

One might make out an argument that Kerry/Edwards would have been no worse off politically if they had voted against the Iraq resolution -- but how can one truly make out the case that they would have been better off? (After all, didn't one candidate who voted against the resolution, Senator Graham of Florida, see his popularity and entire candidacy go down the tubes?)

In other words, did Shrum's advice on this matter really hurt Kerry and Edwards in 2004?

Posted by: frankly0 on May 31, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure environmentalism would have helped Gore in Florida (or anywhere). I do think Shrum made a mistake in running away from Clinton, and I do think he should have let Gore be Gore, rather than trying to coach him into whatever the heck he turned into for those six months.

Posted by: Royko on May 31, 2007 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

KD quotes MY saying:

"And even if the polls didn't show voters yearning for a speech on global warming, it was clear that the voters were yearning for Gore to do something that seemed driven by convictions rather than polls."

One thing we really need to credit Republicans with is that they don't run away from core conservative issue just because the entire US electorate is not already on board. They hammer these issues again and again, maybe giving them nice names or offering false or misleading arguments, but still they push the agenda. They do not forget that the only role of a politician is not to put the finger to the wind and try to give voters exactly what they say that want at any given moment. Sure, they do this as well, but sometimes they do that other thing we expect of politicians. They lead.

Why are Democratic politicians of recent vintage so afraid of leading? If Gore had spent the summer of 2000 hammering the issue of global warming, the media would surely have dismissed him as nuts, because, well, that's what they did anyway. But the issue would have been discussed. It would have become a non-nutty issue for a politician to focus on six years earlier than it did. And maybe the people would have been convinced.

Actually, I guess the answer to my question is obvious. Why don't Democrats lead? They listen to people like Shrum.

Posted by: Rob Mac on May 31, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Matt can be pretty stubborn. For one thing, he likes to repeat as often as possible that Clinton, Kerry and Edwards were guilty of “supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq”. That’s incorrect. You can’t re-write the AUMF. It was written in plain English and I’ve read it several times. It was not a vote to invade Iraq, a Republican talking point that Matt has bought into big time.

I agree with Matt more often than not, but he has a thing about that AUMF vote. Criticize them for thinking Bush would honor the UN process, or anything else, but don’t try to twist it into a vote to invade Iraq.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on May 31, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

I see mhr is posting it's stupidity again. Can someone apply some Troll-Out, and erase it?

Posted by: DJ on May 31, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Gore won florida. The overvotes (ballots with a candidate punched and a write-in, where the two were the same) were never counted, and broke for Gore by 50,000 to 30,000.

Posted by: OwnedByTwoCats on May 31, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Is Mark Penn gonna become the next Bob Shrum?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on May 31, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Why would candidates go through the hell of campaigning if they cannot express themselves once in awhile and speak their minds? What good is a victory if you have undercut your ability to lead with any size mandate on anything after you have concealed your true beliefs during the whole campaign. So question in my mind is, why do candidates listen to Shrum so much?

Gore was able to give Clinton resolute good and confident advice, especially on foreign policy when he was VP. Why did he worry so much about what Shrum said.

Consultants may have always been like this, though. I've read some anecdotes about Truman and Eisenhower, some of whose most notable decisions were made against the advice of their cautious frightened consultants. Truman was strongly advised to triangulate and moderate himself during his Presidential re-election campaign. Trumand decided to give the Turnip Day speech.

Posted by: anon on May 31, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK
......the precedent of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, which not surprisingly made things worse ...... meathead republican at 4:37 PM
Lucky you, here is a graph of the poverty rate in America for the past 50 years and guess, what? Not only did the War On Poverty reduced poverty but it's has been reduced during almost every Democratic presidency and increased during almost every Republican one. Posted by: Mike on May 31, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I based my decision not to vote for Al Gore on my belief at the time that he was weak on environmental issues -- with 8 years of do-nothing environmental policies under Clinton-Gore as my evidence. Considering how many people voted for the Green Party in 2000, I don't think I was alone in that assessment.

Posted by: Tom Veil on May 31, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that Gore couldn't bring himself to talk passionately about things he believed in is reason enough to hope he doesn't get in again.

Obama in '08

Posted by: robert on May 31, 2007 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

To say that environmentalism wouldn't have helped Gore in Florida may or may not be true, but it misses the point. Gore needed to show voters who he was really, what he cared about. Telling people where you disagree with them makes them trust you more, not less.

In the end, voters don't vote strictly based on policy, but on how they feel about the candidates character. Republican candidates can be pro-life because it signals (to some) that they are moral, and also that they are willing to go against the grain of popular culture, showing them to be courageous and independent.

Think of how much more we like Gore now that he's just talking about stuff that he cares about.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on May 31, 2007 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Matt Yglesias can be pretty stubborn. For one thing, he likes to repeat as often as possible that Clinton, Kerry and Edwards were guilty of “supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq”. That’s incorrect. You can’t re-write the AUMF. It was written in plain English and I’ve read it several times. It was not a vote to invade Iraq, a Republican talking point that Matt has bought into big time.

I agree with Matt more often than not, but he has a thing about that AUMF vote. Criticize them for thinking Bush would honor the UN process, that getting inspectors back on the ground would make a difference, or anything else, but don’t try to twist it into a vote to invade Iraq.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on May 31, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Giving the speech could not only have put him over the top in Florida, it would have countered the public's image of Gore as a phony, dull, passionless calculating figure by letting him connect with the environmental issues on which he was a lifelong advocate.

I voted in a state that Gore carried by a wide margin, so my vote was unnecessary. Nevertheless, I did base my decision not to vote for him in part on his not giving a forceful speech on that topic in Michigan. I think it would have done him a world of good. I think it may have given him enough greens/Naderites to have carried Florida.

royko: I do think Shrum made a mistake in running away from Clinton, ... .

On that I agree.

As for Kerry/Edwards in 2004, I doubt that Shrum mattered that much. In one of the debates, Kerry said that invading Iraq was a mistake, and then about a minute later said that it was not a mistake. He made numerous other campaign errors that were clearly no one else's fault but his.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 31, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

Going back to the days when he was speech crafting for Ed Muskie, one could have done quite well betting on the opponent in any race where Bob Shrum was involved.

Posted by: bob d on May 31, 2007 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK
...my decision not to vote for Al Gore on my belief...that he was weak on environmental issues ....Tom Veil at 6:33 PM
So you assumed that Bush would be better or that Nader had a chance and would be elected?
In one of the debates, Kerry said.... He made numerous other campaign errors ... MatthewRmarler at 6:51 PM
Presumably then George W. Bush made no debate misstatements and ran the first and only perfect campaign? Posted by: Mike on May 31, 2007 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

with 8 years of do-nothing environmental policies under Clinton-Gore as my evidence.

Thx to you and your ilk, we instead have had 6-going-on-8 years of a president who has done quite a lot wrt the environment. You must be so proud.

Posted by: Disputo on May 31, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

At this point, wouldn't you have to say that Schrum was a Republican mole? Someone who went deep, deep undercover to cause loss after loss for Democratic candidates?

Posted by: rusty on May 31, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Also, back in 2000 Gore didn't need Shrum's help when it came to self-destructive over-cautiousness. Remember, on election night he called Bush to concede and decided to give his concession speech without bothering to check with his strategists to make sure the Florida vote was really out of reach. Why? Because the media and the Washington establishment said the election was over. They literally had to grab him on the way to the podium and tell him that the networks screwed up on the Florida call again, which led to the infamous "you don't have to get snippy" phone call to Bush. Bad as that election turned out to be for, oh, the entire human race, one good thing was that Gore finally realized that there was no way in hell he was ever going to please the Beltway establishment.

Posted by: C.L. on May 31, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Matt can be pretty stubborn. For one thing, he likes to repeat as often as possible that Clinton, Kerry and Edwards were guilty of “supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq”. That’s incorrect. You can’t re-write the AUMF. It was written in plain English and I’ve read it several times. It was not a vote to invade Iraq, a Republican talking point that Matt has bought into big time.

So everybody understood that the AUMF authorized the Preznit to go to war except Clinton, Kerry and Edwards? Sounds convinving.

Posted by: ogmb on May 31, 2007 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

I don't completely blame Shrum for making what retrospectively was the wrong call in 2000. But by 2002, it was clear that the Dems weren't going to beat something with nothing, and by 2004, it was unavoidable to anyone with ears to hear. Shrum didn't.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist (formerly RT) on May 31, 2007 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

"So everybody understood that the AUMF authorized the Preznit to go to war"

Read the speeches that were made on the floor of the Senate during that debate. It quite clearly was not, in fact, a declaration of war or a vote to invade, and quite a few of the members, including Kerry, were quite careful to point that out.

That it was a declaration to do whatever he wanted is a Bush administration talking point that, sadly, has been all too readily adopted by far too many people, including quite a few that should know better.

Posted by: PaulB on May 31, 2007 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

If I were Bob Shrum, the best advice I could give would be "for God's sake, don't listen to me".

Posted by: Kevin Rooney on May 31, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Gore could have won Florida in 2000 by speaking out about the environment in Florida. Local environmental issues in 2000, like the Homestead airport project and the restoration of the Everglades, had much more resonance with Florida voters who rated the environment high on their list of concerns.

Two things distinguished this group of voters in Florida from its counterparts in other states: it was larger, and it had much experience with compromises that meant accepting defeat for the environment. To Gore's national political operatives, Florida's environmental crowd missed the forest for the trees; they should have just trusted Gore to be better than Bush. From Washington, this must have looked like a perfectly reasonable point of view, but it critically underestimated the passions aroused by local environmental issues in Florida voters who found, in Nader, a place to register their protest of what they saw (not wrongly) as Gore's waffling.

Were those disaffected environmental voters in Florida right to react in this way? Stupid question. Gore could have won them, and the state, with relatively little effort, and as the candidate it was his job to make the effort. You don't win elections in close states by misjudging local issues or by taking key supporters for granted, and Gore did both.

Posted by: Zathras on May 31, 2007 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

It's much harder, I believe, to make state by state claims almost eight years later than it is to draw more general conclusions based on certain types of polling. This leads me to believe that if he had given the speech and appeared, you know, more appealing in all sorts of ways, this would have helped him not only in Florida, but in other close states. Thus, it's not out of the question that the speech could have hurt him, but it's also not out of the question that the speech could have helped him.

I'm wondering if the speech would have been accompanied with any sort of specific policy proposals. Does anyone here have a better memory than me?

Posted by: Brian on May 31, 2007 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Shrum's, Rove's, Carville's, Begalla's of the world get too much credit or blame for election results. I suppose in a close election, the advisor to the winning candidate necessarily deserves some credit because you assume he must have done some good.

On Shrum, he advised two candidates who were not very likeable or good campaigners, and both of them came very close to winning. So another view is that he must have done a pretty good job.

Posted by: brian on June 1, 2007 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

I read Yglesias' review and found it long but not very good. The environment speech seems like a bit of a stretch in terms of significance. He criticizes the book as telling anecdotes, not stating principles, but I take it the point of the book is to tell Shrum's story through anecdotes and not to necessarily state any principles -- why would we expect principles from a campaing advisor?

Posted by: brian on June 1, 2007 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry about the repetitive posts, but it seems from what I read about the book that the most intersting parts are the inside look at the candidates. I assume Shrum is telling the truth, and some of the stories seem very interesting. The story about what Edwards told Kerry in his effort to get the VP slot is very interesting -- telling him absolutely he would not run against Kerry in 08 and then telling him about climbing on the mortuary slab to hug his son with the intro that he had never told anyone else the story(when he had actually told Kerry the same story a year or two before). Overall, Shrum apparently shows Edwards to be a lightweight phony.

Posted by: brian on June 1, 2007 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

At this point, wouldn't you have to say that Schrum was a Republican mole? Someone who went deep, deep undercover to cause loss after loss for Democratic candidates?

It sounds far fetched, but Pat Buchanan's Bombastic leaving of the Republican party and subsequent take over and destruction of the Reform party then quiet reentrance into the Republican party was just such a maneuver.

Posted by: Boronx on June 1, 2007 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

If I were Bob Shrum, I would have advised him to fire Bob Shrum.

Posted by: pjcamp on June 1, 2007 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

A campaign depends on messages, not on a littany of issues. The message I would have Gore give is that the election is "Bush, who would sacrifice the future for the present" versus "Gore, a leader with a long term vision and the patriotism to fulfill it". This message would cover a couple of issues, for example:

Global Warming: Gore is willing to lead America against this long term threat and preserve a healthy environment to pass on to our children and grandchildren.

Taxes and Budget: Bush is willing to drive America deeper in debt for tax cuts that can score him political points, whereas Gore is willing to keep the budget balanced so we don't bury our children and grandchildren in mountains of debt.

This would allow Gore to argue about an issue he cares about, global warming, while allowing his passion to transcend that single important issue and cover several important issues.

Posted by: brian on June 1, 2007 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

A campaign depends on messages, not on a littany of issues. The message I would have Gore give is that the election is "Bush, who would sacrifice the future for the present" versus "Gore, a leader with a long term vision and the patriotism to fulfill it". This message would cover a couple of issues, for example:

Global Warming: Gore is willing to lead America against this long term threat and preserve a healthy environment to pass on to our children and grandchildren.

Taxes and Budget: Bush is willing to drive America deeper in debt for tax cuts that can score him political points, whereas Gore is willing to keep the budget balanced so we don't bury our children and grandchildren in mountains of debt.

This would allow Gore to argue about an issue he cares about, global warming, while allowing his passion to transcend that single important issue and cover several important issues.

Posted by: brian on June 1, 2007 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

From my recollection of 2000, Gore often seemed overcoached and more like a cautious and dutiful son taking the next logical career step than a leader who believed in anything enough to take some risks pushing for it. I doubt that part of his image - a trademark of the Shrum client - helped him. The kind of speech Shrum says he managed to block would have helped, even with people who didn't agree with the policy but wanted to see some conviction. I suspect that's particularly true of many of the Nader voters.

On the issue of 2002 votes for the AUMF, I think no votes would have made it easier for either of the candidates to criticize the war effectively in 2004. You can dance around the semantics of it all you want, but it was clearly understood at the time that it was likely to lead to an invasion. Anyone who claims not to have understood that lacks the judgement or the honesty needed to be President in the first place.

Posted by: just sayin on June 1, 2007 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

"'Gore was determined to give a blunt speech on global warming, and to do it in Michigan." Shrum and the rest of the staff talked Gore out of it, on the grounds that the issue "was a third rail in the automotive state of Michigan, a state we had to carry.' And, indeed, such a speech almost certainly would have been unpopular in Michigan."

Don't be so sure. Industries often make claims like that without having any empirical evidence to back up their claims.

I haven't seen any data on Michiganders' views on global warming per se, but I have seen polling among Michigan voters on attitudes toward higher fuel efficiency standards (CAFE), a closely related issue on which it is sometimes thought that Michigan voters' views would be skewed by the presence of the state's auto industry.

But they're not.

Michigan voters overwhelmingly -- by more than 3-to-1 -- strongly support tougher, mandated increases in fuel efficiency standards. I wouldn't be surprised if MI voters looked much like voters in other states when it comes to global warming too.

Posted by: Chris Marshall on June 1, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm late to this party, so apologies if I missed it. (And I just skimmed Matt's excellent piece.) What about Shrum's responsiblity for the whole Swift Boat non-response fiasco? That fries me more than just about anything I've seen recently.

Posted by: MaxGowan on June 1, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

First, Shrum was giving advice to Gore because Gore had hired him to do so. We might decide the advice was bad (or not). But the decision to follow such advice always belongs to the candidate. I'm always puzzled by the implication that consultants possess the type of voodoo power that leaves candidates unable to judge.

On the merits, I don't know why we're supposed to think that giving a warming speech in Michigan would have helped Gore win Florida. We can always imagine that, of course. But we can also imagine that Gore would have gained in Florida by sprinkling fairy-powder on Ceci Connolly's luggage. I haven't seen Shrum's book, but I have seen Joe Klein's "Politics Lost" (2006). In that book, Klein describes the way Gore decided to give a speech on warming in Philadelphia (6/27/00) against the advice of his consultants. Result? As Klein describes in some detail, the press corps refused to cover the speech. I have no idea why the speech in Michigan would have been treated any different. Floridians don't learn about speeches in Michigan if the press is discussing wardrobe issues.

The basic premise of Klein's chapter on Gore is the following: Gore was wrong when he followed his consultants' advice--and then too, he was wrong when he didn't. Unless we present strong evidence to support our hypothetical judgments (Matt doesn't), we all play this silly pundit game when we imagine what would have occurred if Candidate X had only been smart enough to take Action Y.

Final question, for drunken discussion: Who understands electoral politics better? Al Gore or Matt Yglesias?

Posted by: bob somerby on June 2, 2007 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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