Friday, October 26, 2007

Democratic Perfectionism

I'm thinking a little more about the previous post. Generally speaking, gossip propagates best when it validates preconceived notions. The thing that gives them weight is the feeling that people have that, even if the allegation is false, it's the kind of thing they would expect to be true.

Republicans have a lot of negative feelings about Democrats. Democrats have a lot of negative feelings about Republicans. And Independents have a lot of negative feelings about both. The weed of bad gossip spreads because their is fertile soil in which it can grow.

I think the most fascinating aspect of the story linked to previously is the 25 positive Bush emails that Hayes identified compared with the total lack of any similar emails for Kerry. If gossip (bad or good) requires the validation of preconceived notions, then the successful propagation of good gossip about Bush means there was a fertile landscape of good feeling about the man. The total lack of such emails for Kerry means that he had no positive feelings to begin with.

Which brings me to a key question: are Democrats simply incapable of having lasting, positive feelings about their own leaders? Do Democrats demand a level of perfection from their leaders that is guaranteed to produce negative feelings when they inevitably fail? Ever notice how many of the most loved Democratic leaders are either dead or have never gotten into a position of real leadership where they had real impact? Just compare the residual feelings of Republicans towards Reagan with the Democrats toward Clinton and you will see what I am talking about.

Republicans continue to ascribe good motives to their leaders even when they fuck up while Democrats almost celebrate the opportunity to throw their leaders under the bus when something doesn't go right.

Can this be changed? Or is it an essential characteristic of the Democrat's mindset? I have no answer to that question. But I think it is one that needs to be answered.


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