Tuesday, July 29, 2008

An Election-Year Dominant Narrative Parable ...

... in Four (or so) Parts

Part The 1st

In 1992, George H. W. Bush was running for re-election as president. During his years in Washington, Bush had been many things: a president, VP, congressman, DCI, the son of a prominent senator, chairman of the RNC. He also had a well established (and earned) reputation as a stick-in-the-mud fuddy-duddy. In primary debates eight 12 years earlier, Bush, himself, had called the supply-side economics of Ronald Reagan “voodoo.” His strategy – and that of his party – was to tell the people, and therefore the voters, that the corner had been turned. Kind of like “prosperity is just around the corner” but without the emotional commitment. The knock on Bush was that he was out of touch. This scion of New England aristocrats and darling of the Texas oilmen simply didn’t understand the life of common people.

Cut to: The grocer’s convention. At a display of the latest technology, dutifully videotaped and broadcast by the networks that evening, the sitting president of the United States seemed mystified by a simple barcode scanner. Now anybody who had been in a supermarket in the ten years prior knew how a barcode scanner worked. Clearly this guy was just as out of touch as his opponents said, right?

Then, to a mantra of “It’s the Economy, Stupid” the out-of-touch tag would send Bush into retirement four years earlier than he had planned.

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Next: Does the Show Fit the Other Foot?

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