Ron Paul's Charisma Factor
by Vedran Vuk
by Vedran Vuk
The level of political analysis throughout the mainstream media is both laughable and deeply saddening at the same moment. I'm constantly amazed by analysts pondering over the particulars of a candidate's charisma, religion, family, high school history, height, and any other topic entirely separate from national issues.
Sometimes, I have difficulty discerning highly educated political "scientists" from the columnists at People magazine and OK! Mark my words. If the mass media continues in the current direction, discussing what designer a candidate wears will become relevant predictions of future poll performance.
The rallying point of the anti—Ron Paul crowd accuses him of lacking natural appeal necessary for a national campaign. Look, I agree, Ron Paul is not the most charming person out of the pack, but he's definitely no slacker. Paul is far more captivating than the average person, but amongst a group coached daily on their image, he is found wanting.
In other ways, his appeal is beyond other potential nominees. Ron Paul's charm embraces the sort of wise character that one finds in an older trusted family member, someone whose words carry great weight when deciding a major decision in your life. It's a unique appeal the rest most certainly find absent.
Despite these favorable attributes, charisma for him beyond the basics is non-critical to bring forth his best appeal, great ideas. Politics can be not much unlike markets in some instances. An individual has to distinguish amongst choices to find the one that best suites him.
To suggest that charisma is an omnipotent power which sways all reason and motive is simply false. A good car salesman can steer you in the direction of a certain car, but in the end, you make the decision. The salesmen's suave pitch is certainly not strong enough in the vast majority of cases to change your entire motive and perspective on your purchasing decision.
Imagine this scenario: you live in a small country town with three restaurants that cook about the same cuisine at just about the same prices. You know, really boring options kind of like the choices for candidates FOX News pushes on us daily. Now, considering all the restaurants are the same, serving the same grub, your dinner decisions will be made with other criteria. Perhaps, the staff at the first restaurant seems genuinely friendly, the second restaurant has a high school buddy working there, the third place has a really cute waitress, etc.
When faced with similar choices in the primary criteria, one must choose by secondary preferences that at first glance seem to have nothing in common with the primary goal, eating good food at a good price.
This isn't unlike the primaries. The choices that we're given every four years are so frighteningly identical that distinguishing the rivals can only be done so with utterly ridiculous and idiotic nuances of candidate's character.
Ron Paul doesn't need Mike Huckabee charisma, because he isn't trying to be a flirty waitress. Ron Paul has got a new menu in town. You either like the offer or you don't. The whole point of his campaign establishment is his lack of resemblance to the others.
He competes on the quality of food and the price, the very essentials. The campaign runs on ideas. If Ron Paul were selling the same bull as the rest of the candidates, the analysts would be right.
However, these analysts are so accustomed to political "science" evaluations of presidential races that they can't see the real deal when it's right in their face. While the commentary may give us insights on the competition, it gives little regarding Paul.
If someone put a gun to my head and told me to vote for an option other than Paul, I would base my decisions on nonsensical traits as well. I'd vote for John McCain. Not because I agree with him. I think the man is utterly insane, but I believe that underneath the rehearsed lines, McCain has a human soul. As mentioned earlier, when no different choices are available, decisions will be made on a politically irrelevant basis.
National Enquirer editors should fear for their jobs. If these political analysts are so good at convincing people that charisma is all important, then they could just as well boost the profiles of top-name pop stars.
Or maybe, people can actually differentiate ideas from spin, and realize the obvious: Ron Paul is not getting 10% of the vote on charisma but instead ideas. This is a terror-filled thought for analysts. No longer can they treat voters as sheep who make decisions over nothing at all. Voters will make decisions on principle and ideas even when the mainstream calls them kooks.
It is not the Ron Paul Revolution which is going to die, but the complete useless political worldview that is spoon-fed to the American people every day. Whether Ron Paul wins or not, we've already proved to the public that everyone is not as dumb as the political scientists would have you think.
Vedran Vuk would like to especially emphasize that when he says "put a gun to my head and I would vote for John McCain," he means it. This in no way means that he would ever endorse John McCain in any way unless under the threat of death. Further, the option of not voting or voting for the Libertarian Party always exists.
January 18, 2008
Vedran Vuk [send him mail] has a bachelor degree of economics from Loyola University of New Orleans, and was a 2006 Summer Fellow at the Mises Institute. He is currently pursuing a doctorate of economics at George Mason University.
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