Friday, February 8, 2008

Dopplegangers and Bizarro World Candidates

As I was our running through the slush this morning, enjoying the fresh snow that has been falling gently gently for the last 6 days, my thoughts turned to democracy and our wonderful elections. I thought about the brave and strong candidates, who thoughtless of their own safety, hurl themselves into the harsh light of public scrutiny, subjecting themselves to all manner of physical and emotional torment at the hands of the people, all for the paltry prize of becoming the leader of the free world.

I occured to me that there were some fasinating parllels among the candidates. It seems in fact that each candidate in the field has his own doppleganger, his own Bizarro complement. Each pair hails from a different party, but shares a style of candidacy. Within each pairing, there is shared style, but a much different emphasis on substance and focus.


Technocrats are candidates who are focused on technology (in the Ellulian sense), "the totality of methods rationally arrived at, and having absolute efficiency (for a given stage of development) in every field of human activity." In other words, governing is all about the methodology, the programs, the technique. Romney and Clinton don't really differ that much in style. They differ mainly in the tools and ends they would use the technology of government for. The danger of either, of course, is whether the technology really serves humanity, or vice versa.

The Emoticrats seek to lead by inspiring, by appeal to the emotional desires and dreams of the citizens. McCain says, "I will never back down in hunting and killing the enemies of our Great Nation. I will Never Never stop!" That appeals deeply to certain segment whose main concern is the enemy without. Obama says, "We need Change. I will bring Change. We need to Unite. I will unite us." This appeals to the hearts of those who fear the enemy within, which is only those who cannot just get along, or who don't want to change. Of course, change is never defined. The great danger is that an emoticratic appeal can move millions to action, but to what action? They use similar styles, but their ends are very different ends.

The Populists set themselves up as the contenders for the people against the overwhelming machine of the big bad Wolf we can government. Huckabee wants to save us from the grasping claws of the IRS that want to steal the money that is rightfully ours. Edwards wants to save us from the iron heel of the military industrial bureaucratic complex that presses our necks down so that we cannot earn the money that is rightfully ours. The both style themselves as saviors of sorts, but their means are quite different.

The Polarists stand on the far ends, shouting as loud as they can. Unfortunately for them, they stand so far out there that only a few, those whose hearing aids are already tuned to their special frequency, can actually hear them. It has been said that a sign of integrity is what you do when no one is watching. If this is true, then God bless Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. They are trying to fit 10 pounds of integrity into a 5 pound sack.

The Non-Starters are good guys who apparently just have no idea whatsoever how to actually run a national presidential campaign. They might have had something good to add, but just totally screwed themselves.

I'm not sure how much value this analysis has for actually choosing one candidate or another, but it's kind of interesting to see how it all breaks out. The question is, will the parties choose there candidates with matching styles, or will they pit one style against another? How will that affect the campaign? If this happens in the national election, you may see one candidate trying to change their style to counter the other. My guess is that the candidate the changes will most likely lose.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Fascinating concept, and I'll link to it.

It perhaps tells us about human nature, and the types of solutions we naturally gravitate toward. Different skillsets are always present in the tribe, called out by different situations. These are something like archetypes, and our spirits may call out to different types of leader at different times. An election, then, may be about both What Kind of Solutions we like and What Kind of Problem we think we are facing.

Whether we "like" a particular candidate or whether they "seem" presidential to us may be driven in part by what we see the need is right now. If true, a candidate might seem presidential in one cycle and not seem presidential four or eight years later.

Kelly said...

Let me suggest another style to you: Stovepipe Jumpers or Knights, depending on whether your metaphors come from business charts or chess. People who have done extensive public service (sometimes heroically, sometimes just lengthy) in another area, whether legislative or mayoral, who hope to move laterally and up to the presidency. Examples would be Giuliani, Biden, and perhaps Bloomberg.

Dubbahdee said...

Of course. I totally left Giuliani out. Hmmmm...
I like the stovepipe jumper idea, but don't they almost all fit that mode? Granted, Rudy is the only one trying to make the jump from Mayor of a city. But we are overrun with a plethora of candidates from the Senate, and former Governors of states.

The Scylding said...

I really like your analysis. Especially as "Which candidate" surveys on the internet give me Kucinich on the D, and Paul on the R side - the former leading. (lol)