Sunday, January 06, 2008

Embarrassment Of Riches vs. Riches Of Embarrassment

In a rare televised moment, leading Presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle shook hands with one another in between Saturday night's debates in New Hampshire. Image Credit: Ida Astute / ABC News

Embarrassment Of Riches vs. Riches Of Embarrassment

The presidential primary season is now well underway. All of the candidates, Republican and Democrat alike are reeling from the reality that rhetoric, experience, and resources are not what will carry the day.

With resounding and rejective (of the presumed front runner) wins by Barack Obama for the Democrats and Mike Huckabee for the Republicans, this proves that no matter how in touch one might be with politics on a daily basis, experts have trouble predicting just how people will vote.

Clockwise from top left, Democrats Sen. Barack Obama, former Sen. John Edwards, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Gov. Bill Richardson, and Republicans former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain and former Gov. Mike Huckabee are all campaigning in New Hampshire this weekend. Image Credit: AP Photo

Now the process moves on to New Hampshire and last night we were treated to another installment of the survivors of the Iowa Caucuses debating, or should we say showcasing, their qualifications to become President of the United States.

After the televised debates, many experts begin to sit down and make assessments based upon what they perceive the New Hampshire voter is looking for and how they will vote.

Pollster, Frank Luntz uses as his process to inform, polling “attitude registers” that use a rheostat dial mechanism observers move to indicate whether they feel "favorable" or "not favorable" to what they are witnessing.

After the debate, Frank Luntz processes the information gathered and then interviews the people who participated in the “attitude register” process.

One of the people Frank was interviewing about the just concluded Democrat debate, when asked who they felt "favorable" with and who would they vote for, responded that the choices of Richardson, Edwards, Obama, and Clinton presented all Democrats an “embarrassment of riches”.



At MAXINE, we wonder, what exactly are the riches one has to be embarrassed about?

What, in fact, do these candidates have to offer in terms of executive leadership in their background (save Governor Richardson who has low ratings) that would propel them to be observed as good leaders?

On the Republican side, voters in New Hampshire are leaning toward Senator John McCain over the recent winner of the Iowa Caucus, Governor (AR) Mike Huckabee, Governor (MA) Mitt Romney, and Mayor (NY) Rudy Giuliani … proven executive leaders all. Senator Fred Thompson and Congressman Ron Paul add to the debate but have little traction in New Hampshire and only match up in executive experience on a par with the Democrats.

One has to ask themselves, with the apparent favorability of politicians without direct executive experience in New Hampshire (as shown through the use of Frank Luntz’s “attitude registers”) what do we really suffer from … an embarrassment of riches or a riches of embarrassment?

Personality is winning out over the understanding of executive decision making processes ... what are the citizens thinking?

If only we, the voting public, could actually feel a sense of embarrassment in our culture anymore.


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