They All Follow the Crowd, Man

Okay, so Rudy came in third in the Florida Republican primary. And McCain, who won, is a good guy. And Rudy chose to opt out of competing seriously in the early primaries like Iowa and New Hampshire – his decision, and obviously a bad one. But it is also clear that the media’s relentless pounding of the “Rudy is not viable” script played an enormous role in this major loss.

Tonight CNN reported that according to exit polls, a majority of Florida Republican primary voters who went for McCain said issues and values did not principally determine their decision. “They were voting for him; it wasn’t values, it wasn’t issues,” said CNN analyst Bill Schneider. Of the large portion of elderly voters who went for McCain, another CNN commentator remarked, “He’s a senior; they are his peeps.”

No disrespect to McCain’s base, who I’m sure are familiar with his positions on issues and with his values, but what does it say about the voters who swung over to McCain that the majority—if CNN’s polling can be trusted—attributed their decision to the cult of personality and not his positions on issues, or even his values? Are we nominating someone for President of the United States or for American Idol?

Particularly when one considers that these are primary voters, whose commitment to the political process is above average and whose intelligence is probably above average as well, you really have to wonder about the major forces at work in determining who gets the nomination, about the role of the media in our society, and about the mindset of many voters.

A reader named Arlene Horn sent me an e-mail a couple days ago that I think sums it up well:

“The mainstream media are already electing John McCain for us. They know Rudy would beat anyone the Democrats have running.”

A source in the Giuliani campaign tells me the scuttlebutt is that Rudy may be considering the possibility of serving as attorney general, should the opportunity arise, in a McCain administration.

“With Rudy’s personality, he needs to do something, and VP is not that job,” said the source.

Well, at least Rudy trounced Ron Paul.

This entry was written by and posted on January 30, 2008 at 1:17 am and filed under Blog.

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