Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mitch Daniels' Preposterous Spin: "The Charisma of Competence"

Gov. Mitch Daniels
The most truly ridiculous attempt at political spin that I have lately heard was uttered by political consultant, Dan Proft, Sunday on the WLS-AM "Beyond the Beltway" program.

Proft was touting the virtues of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels as a possible GOP Presidential candidate. The Hoosier exudes, "The charisma of competence," Proft gushed.

That is what's called trying to put the best face on a glaring political liability.

The 2nd term Governor and former G.H.W.Bush  Director of the Office of Management and Budget is arguably the most personally uninspiring, boring and milquetoasty of the 7 dwarfs currently mentioned as 2012 GOP prospects.

In Proft's defense, he was merely regurgitating the line used by George Will in introducing Daniels to the 2011 CPAC. And Will, in turn lifted the line from an obscure North Dakota historian who was trying to put the best face on an obscure North Dakota Governor named Bill Guy.

The "charisma of competence" seems to have become the budding Daniels campaign's favored line to try and spin away the fact that, in a telegenic age, they are saddled with a short, balding, pasty-faced candidate. Even worse, Daniels is anything, but a spellbinder.
Dukakis at his goofiest

The last candidate to run for President with a competence pitch was Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic nominee, who was at the time the governor of Massachusetts. "This election isn't about ideology. It's about competence," he said.

Dukakis, short, funny looking and anything but a spellbinder, carried 10 states and the District of Columbia.
Dewey "The man on the wedding cake"

Half a century earlier, the three term, highly effective Governor of New York, Thomas E. Dewey, touted his competence in two GOP Presidential bids. Short, funny looking (like the man on top of the wedding cake, they said) and anything but a spellbinder, he lost twice.

As unfortunate as it may be, Americans today expect genuine charisma, dynamism and excitement from their Head-of-State and Commander-in-Chief.

They expect competence from their civil engineers and tax accountants.