Wednesday, January 28

Viewer Mail: Changes In The Dean Machine

With the departure of Joe Trippi from the Dean campaign (Note to folks who read this post before this updated introduction: "SSHHH"), it's worth taking a moment to wonder why Dean took a fall from the high ride he had just days before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. The simple answer is his perceived anger which was "proven" by his Iowa rally cry (a much-belated humorous apology is here)...but obviously the wheels fell off going into Iowa. There's something bigger at play here.

A good friend of this site (I'll keep him anonymous so he can stay flame-free!) sends along this observation. It's interesting to say the least, but definitely worth considering. I'm not sure if "Teflon" is something you can develop, or if it's one of those genetic traits that you either have or don't have. Or maybe - just maybe - blunt honesty and raw emotion aren't what mass America wants to hear after all. Hit us with a comment.

It is unfortunate, but the number one quality of a president in these times needs to be Teflon. Reagan was Teflon, Bush Sr. was not, Clinton was (except for the whole blow job thing) and Bush is. Dean? The guy is Velcro mixed with fly paper, dripping with super glue.

Like charisma, Teflon-ness is something that is hard to define or learn. In many cases, you were either born with it or you were not. I have no idea why things don't stick to Bush, but they just don't.

I know that to Dean fans, he could spit on the Pope, and still raise money. But to everyone else things just stick to him. His comment about the US not being safer after Saddam's capture was true, but it hurt him. His comment that Osama should receive a fair trial was true, but it killed him.

I heard a commentator say something interesting. Had Reagan, Bush Sr. or Clinton said that Potato ended with an 'e', it would have gone unnoticed. But people were looking for a metaphor to define someone they doubted, and this became his defining moment. Dean is not running a campaign but a movement, and movements are driven by passion and too much passion scares people. I think the Iowa speech was the metaphor people were looking for to define their opinions about Dean, even if the clip shown on the news was taken out of context.

So like him or hate him, stuff sticks to him, which has ended up being his largest liability.