Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Rick Perry, Manchurian Candidate?

A hard-boiled campaign is being run for the GOP’s most soft-headed aspirant by a group of political scientists.

We learn this from a reporter’s electronic book about them, “Rick Perry and his Eggheads: Inside the Brainiest Political Operation in America.”

For his 2006 Texas campaign, they ran experiments testing the effectiveness of campaign tools: candidate appearances, TV ads, robocalls, direct mail—-the equivalent of applying randomized drug trials to politics.

“No candidate,” claims the author, Sasha Issenberg, “has ever presided over a political operation so skeptical about the effectiveness of basic campaign tools and so committed to using social-science methods to rigorously test them.”

All this conjures up a scary picture of white-coated Frankensteins in a lab unleashing a Manchurian Candidate to mesmerize voters into electing a President recently characterized by a prominent Republican as “an idiot.”

Not to worry. We have been here before in the 1960s when rented social scientists were all the rage in “Mad Men” ad agencies, promising to brainwash Americans into buying their products.

It all led to the story of a dog food scientifically concocted, market-tested, demographically promoted and put on the shelves, only to fail miserably in sales. Asked for an explanation, the scientists explained, “The dogs didn’t like it.”

Whatever his eggheads concoct, Americans will find Rick Perry’s ignorant certitude hard to swallow. The country may be going to the dogs, but its tastes have not deteriorated that much.

3 comments:

martin Conder said...

Wanna bet ? After electing (and re-electing)Nixon, Reagan and George jr. in my lifetime it would be presumptuous to overestimate the wisdom of the USA electorate

Anonymous said...

Great common sense analysis of Rick Perry. He's showing an arrogant rudeness on his campaign trail -- like Judy Holliday said to Broderick Crawford in the great movie Born Yesterday - "You're not couth!"

Anonymous said...

Remind me again what Mencken said about underestimating the American public.