Paul Krugman:

>Here’s a suggestion: Why not evaluate candidates’ policy proposals, rather than their authenticity? And if there are reasons to doubt a candidate’s sincerity, spell them out.


. . . . [C]onsider the case of Fred Thompson. He spent 18 years working as a highly paid lobbyist, wore well-tailored suits and drove a black Lincoln Continental. When he ran for the Senate, however, his campaign reinvented him as a good old boy: it leased a used red pickup truck for him to drive, dressed up in jeans and a work shirt, with a can of Red Man chewing tobacco on the front seat.

>But Mr. Thompson’s strength, says Lanny Davis in The Hill, is that he’s “authentic.”

And also:

>Oh, and as a candidate George W. Bush was praised as being more authentic than Al Gore. As late as November 2005, MSNBC’s chief political correspondent declared that Mr. Bush’s authenticity was his remaining source of strength. But now The A.P. says that Mr. Bush’s lack of credibility is the reason his would-be successors need to seem, yes, authentic.

Even more ridiculous than the politics of “authenticity” (which only applies to Republicans by the way), is the politics of head and shoulders:

Speaking of Mitt Romney’s performance at the debate the other night, the Politico (that’s some kind of blog) writes:

>FIRST PLACE: Mitt Romney

>Analysis: Strong, clear, gives good soundbite and has shoulders you could land a 737 on. Not only knows how to answer a question, but how to duck one. Asked why he was so late in deciding to oppose abortion, Romney smoothly replied: “I’m not going to apologize for the fact that I became pro-life.”

Before the praise for this man’s shoulders, his hair:

>Romney has chiseled-out-of-granite features, a full, dark head of hair going a distinguished gray at the temples, and a barrel chest. On the morning that he announced for president, I bumped into him in the lounge of the Marriott and up close he is almost overpowering. He radiates vigor.

Now the kicker:

>And he can’t wait to stand next to John McCain on a stage and invite comparison. (McCain, who looks less hearty than Romney, was severely injured while fighting for his country as a Naval aviator. Romney never served in the military, though the band at his announcement played both “Anchors Aweigh” and “The Marines’ Hymn.”)

3 thoughts on “Authenticity”


    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all convictions, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
    –W.B. Yeats

  2. It is all about glamour now, isn’t it?

    Superficial outward appearences for the glossies and the camera. There needs to be a new word. No longer are their ‘soundbites’ alone good enough. There now needs to be ‘lookbites’ — looking good, a profile for the poster, a gleaming white smile, perfect hair.

    And the other other side of the coin of this political glamour is the story book ideology oh, so summed up as the “they hate our freedom” — a phrase that generates thuderous applause still — rhetoric of superficial superiority.

    We are so screwed.

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