Saturday, May 12, 2007

Pop fluency as a presidential trait

I like Dean Barnett's take, at The Weekly Standard, on the flap about Mitt Romney and his favorite book -- which Romney originally said was Battlefield Earth until that didn't play so well, whereupon he said it was the Bible and Huckleberry Finn. Barnett writes:
Since it would be too much to expect journalists to stop asking these questions, what the Romney episode points to is the need for a new subspecies of political consultant--one who will help candidates look literate when it comes to pop culture. Most of the candidates need a crash course on the things that ordinary people like. Desperately. Or do you think Hillary Clinton has a favorite NASCAR driver ready for the inevitable occasion when a plucky Edwards supporter demands to know if she's a Jeff Gordon or Dale Jr. kind of gal? ...

Picture a candidate who could effortlessly segue from paying homage to Dale Earnhardt's #3 to saying how much High Noon has always meant to him. Conjure up a contender who could unashamedly admit that if owning every George Strait record makes him a square, so be it, and then quickly pivot to the many times tears welled in his eyes when sports heroes like Curt Schilling or Willis Reed rose above pain to perform in an almost super-human fashion.

That guy wouldn't just have a lot of admirers who wanted to have a beer with him. He'd also eventually be known as Mr. President.

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