One thing most successful presidential candidates demonstrate is a sunny disposition. Americans may want candidates who feel their pain, but they also like them to be hopeful and optimistic. Nobody wants to vote for Debbie Downer. It's one of those axioms (along with "the taller candidate always wins") that the more optimistic presidential candidate always seems to prevail.
Via Andrew Sullivan, we get this amusing clip of a reporter for a Texas television news program, amazed at the way some San Franciscans are enjoying themselves as they float in McCovey Cove awaiting World Series batting practice. "They're smoking weed!" he says again and again:
Part of the reason pundits and journalists don't much like the analysis of political scientists about elections is that political science can be kind of boring. Political science tells us, for instance, that structural factors are much more important than the actual conduct of campaigns. If you want to know what's going to happen in an election, just use a few variables, particularly economic ones like real income growth or unemployment, and you can predict with a fair degree of accuracy what the outcome will be.
One of the interesting questions over the next couple of years will be how establishment Republicans and Tea Party Republicans will deal with each other, particularly since the latter are more concerned with ideological purity and ceaseless partisanship, even when it may not be strategically wise. Keep that question in mind as we ponder the present and future of Karl Rove.
My main objection to Meg Whitman's campaign for California governor has been the way she has been an exemplar of the "I'm not a politician, I'm a businessperson" argument, which is one of my pet peeves. I will say one thing about her -- the $150 million or so she's dropping on this race should give a boost to California's economy. But I've got to rise to her defense for what just happened to her.