Kilroy Was Here
December 29, 2003
Where's that Election Abstract
The Decembrist laments about the subjective criticism of the Dean campaign.
The other fascinating quote is from a political strategist I've worked with, both in the Senate and on the Bradley campaign, and respect a great deal, Anita Dunn:
"Dean faces one significant challenge, to go to the next level of his candidacy," said Anita Dunn, a Democratic strategist who was a senior adviser in Bill Bradley's 2000 presidential campaign. "He has not yet achieved the level of admission to what I call that small circle of people in the United States that voters perceive as qualified to be president. That is an enormous hurdle. . . . He has, at every stage of his campaign, when he has faced a hurdle, found a way to move to that next level, but they get steeper."
That makes sense to me, but it's probably infuriating to the Dean camp. First, because the person making the statement is not easily dismissed as a hostile member of the Clinton establishment. But second, who decides when or how you've been admitted to that circle? Just out of curiosity, who right now might be said to be in that circle of people voters perceive as qualified to be president?
...Just like "electablity," I think this is a purely subjective judgment, one that may seem obvious after the fact, but is hard to prove right now. But subjective judgments are sometimes all we've got.
Is subjective judgements all we've got? I don't think so.
My favorite analogy in all of this is predicting winners in sporting events. While there is certainly some subjective judgements that must be made, the overwhelmingly more important elements that are used in predicting a winner are hard statistics.
My OBP, Total Bases Per Bat, and HR of the political struggle are number of donaters, endorsements, and volunteer hours. Dean's clearly doing a better job in all three areas than any of his competitors. Wouldn't this be a better indicator of 'electability' than these subjective measures?
Where's the Bill James of Elections when you need him?
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