INdiana Systemic Thinking

February 24, 2008

Dems Still Hopeful Bayh Will Be on Ticket

A few months ago, I posted that I thought Senator Evan Bayh made huge political mistake by endorsing Hillary Clinton. My take was/is he wanted the VP slot so bad he would violate a cardinal rule of politics by showing his hand too early. Well, turns the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is now wondering aloud what the consequences of his early endorsement will mean. Sylvia Smith goes way out of her was to rationalize and justify why Bayh should be on an Obama ticket. I’m not going to post any quotes, because the story is so far from being anything close to political reality that it would be a waste of space here.

However, I will use the space to say this. Folks, get over it. Bayh isn’t going to be anywhere near a Presidential ticket. Obama needs someone older…way older than Bayh, and someone who can deliver some hefty electoral college votes from a very swing state. Bayh isn’t the guy. While he may be well known in Indiana, no-one knows who he is outside our borders. Argue with that all you want, but it’s the political truth. Add to it that he has never done anything memorable legislatively, he continues to enrich himself through his wife’s woefully unqualified “employment” as a professional board member, and the fact he has never had a real job, and he will never pass a national vetting.

So, can we please go back to sticking our heads in the sand on Bayh?


February 3, 2008

Public Perceptions of Presidential Candidates

The other day my wife and I were discussing how one particular candidate would never be elected President.  Our premise was public perception of this candidate’s personality was so negative the candidate could never garner a majority of the country’s votes.  Of course public perception of any candidate is probably wrong, but it appears to be important to voters none the less.  Take Ronald Reagan for example.  I think his public perception was of a kindly grandfather type who, even if he had to tell you “no”, he did it in a way that made you feel he was doing it to help you…sorta a grampa knows best approach.  If you disagree, that’s fine, it’s my perception and I’m sticking to it.  Which is really the problem.  People stick to their perceptions despite lots of evidence (and candidate spin) to the contrary.  That’s why I was really interested in this article from the Associated Press, via WTHR.  The article reports the results of a poll on the public’s perceptions of candidates and how those perceptions may change over time.   I’m not that interested in the change over time part, but, in summary, here is the public perception as it stands right now. 

Hillary Clinton – People often cite the words “female” and “feminist” when asked about her.  She is viewed as “strong, decisive and experienced but is not seen as likable, honest or refreshing.” 

“The most volunteered description of Clinton was her gender and the thought that she’s a feminist. Close behind were feelings that she is dishonest and not likable-voiced mostly by Republicans-followed by strength and mention of her husband, former President Clinton. “

Barak Obama – “Inexperience” is the word most use to describe him.  However, most view “him as refreshing, compassionate and attractive. ”

 “People mention inexperience most often, followed by those saying he is inspiring and favors change, and by people citing his race. Some said he is Muslim, an Internet-fed rumor that Obama’s campaign has labored to dispel. “

Mitt Romney – The word most used to describe him is “Morman”.

“Nearly half of those polled could not say anything when asked to describe McCain’s chief rival, Mitt Romney, including more than a third of Republicans-surprisingly large numbers this late in a campaign on which the former Massachusetts governor has spent $40 million of his own money to get his name and message before the voters. ”

“Among those familiar with Romney, most cited was his Mormon faith and a sense he is not authentic, including many who said he changes his mind on issues-a frequent charge leveled by his opponents.

John McCain – “Military service” and “old” are the two most cited terms regarding McCain.  However, he is “widely seen as experienced, strong, honest and decisive”.

Mike Huckabee – Is “best known for his religion. The ordained Baptist minister discusses his faith frequently while campaigning”.

So what do you think?  I think the results of the poll are pretty much in line with my perceptions of the candidates.

January 22, 2008

Mid-day Musings: Dems Debate, Lobotomies, Etc.

Last night I was flipping channels between the Democratic debate and a PBS documentary on lobotomies.  Seriously, I was, I’m not just making that up for some punch line.

First, the debate.  Because I was switching channels, I obviously didn’t get to see the whole thing.  BUT WOW!  Can Hillary and Barak be more hateful toward each other?  On one hand it was entertaining to watch…sort of like a schoolyard fight, but on the other hand, has the Democratic party really sunk so low that two out of the three top contenders have to interrupt each other so much that they can’t even carry on a civilized conversation?  Someone needs to remind these two it was a debate, not an argument.  There is a distinction there.  The first is an exchange of ideas with mutual respect where, at the end, two people can agree to disagree.  The second, well, looked a lot like what we had last night.  Oh, and John Edwards didn’t come put looking too good either.  He appeared to agree with whoever had the best “gotcha” or the most applause.  All the time though, never getting his hands dirty.  If I continue with the schoolyard fight analogy, he is the kid in the back, yelling the loudest, but never putting himself out there to either throw a punch or take one in the gut.  Some would say that is smart, but where I went to school we had a rather unflattering name for people who did that.

Next up, Lobotomies.  Wow, what an interesting, if not gut wrenching show from PBS’s American Experience.  Everything anyone wanted to know about the procedure was presented in detail.  I have to admit, at times, I was glad to flip over to the debate as descriptions, pictures, and video were presented about the procedure.  It’s one thing to academically study something from the psychiatric past, but another to have it so blatantly explained.  I’d recommend watching it if your in the field, although ever being confronted with someone who had one is rare nowadays (they aren’t performed anymore).  Luckily, if you follow this link, PBS is promising to allow the show to be viewed online in a few days.

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