April 20, 2006

Mark Schmitt gets there first again!

Posted in Politics at 1:26 pm by antonello

More McCain talk.  Authentic? Fake? Conservative? Liberal

Mark Schmitt gets it just right:

Politicians are aggregations of their instincts, values, and political circumstances and conditions, the pressures put on them and the niches that are available… 

…"[A]uthenticity" is an important political tool in its own right. And voters are malleable as well, supporting a political candidate they view as genuine, even if the candidate’s views differ greatly from their own, as I discovered in New Hampshire in 2000 where some number of independent, socially liberal voters chose to vote for the hot McCain in the Republican primary over Bill Bradley in the Democratic. Likewise, pro-death penalty voters supported Tim Kaine in Virginia because they felt that his opposition was authentically rooted in his religious belief — it actually strengthened his sense of authenticity. But as McCain demonstrates, authenticity is itself a pose, one he adopted and has now discarded.

McCain’s latest move is necessary, if he wants to be president, but it’s awfully daring. Live by the cult of authenticity, perish by the cult of authenticity. 

Via Washington Monthly, where Kevin Drum also has an important 2 cents: 

But Mark is right about the "cult of authenticity." That's been McCain's real bread and butter, and it's tiresome. McCain is no more a straight talker than George Bush, but both are terrific at manipulating our supposedly cynical and world weary media into thinking they're straight talkers. My fervent wish is that McCain's recent pandering to Jerry Falwell will at least disabuse them of this notion and finally earn him the coverage he deserves: that of an ambitious politician willing to work with whatever interest groups it takes to get him elected president. That's the real McCain.

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