by Doctor Science
The most startling revelation of the past week in the US Presidential race was in Buzzfeed, where McKay Coppins wrote:
But to those who have known him longest, Rubio's flustered performance Saturday night fit perfectly with an all-too-familiar strain of his personality, one that his handlers and image-makers have labored for years to keep out of public view. Though generally seen as cool-headed and quick on his feet, Rubio is known to friends, allies, and advisers for a kind of incurable anxiousness — and an occasional propensity to panic in moments of crisis, both real and imagined.W.T.Actual.F?!? On what grounds would *anyone* support, for the US Presidency, a person with "an occasional propensity to panic in moments of crisis"?!? I mean, I have some very good friends who tend to be anxious and over-react, and one of the guidelines of my life is don't let them control the nuclear weapons.
In the case of my friends, this is not difficult. But why would you ever work to get someone like that into one of the most stressful and responsible jobs in the world? Good grief, isn't there an easier way to make a living in Florida -- wrestling giant Everglades Pythons, for instance?
Aside from questions about Rubio individually, this emphasizes something I've been noticing all along: the candidates favored by the "Establishment" wing of the Republican Party have not been up to the job of campaigning, much less Presidenting. Jeb Bush has been burning money, but he's really not a good candidate: he's not a forceful speaker, he can convey neither burning emotion (currently the favored beverage of the Republican base) nor sobering, paternal knowledge and seriousness. Scott Walker came into the campaign with a lot of money behind him and potentially much more to come, but he turns out to be a *terrible* campaigner on the national level. Bobby Jindal doesn't have it, Perry blew out almost immediately, Christie's Jersey bluster turns out not to translate, and now Rubio has shot himself in the foot -- with a flaming arrow.
Republican donors have spent an enormous amount of money supporting candidates who don't have the basic skills to run for President: stamina, TV presence, and the ability to fake thinking on their feet. Why can't Republican billionaires hire someone who can do the job?
And that reminds me of the 2012 election. I've heard from many sources that Mitt Romney was certain he was going to be elected President, so certain that he didn't have a concession speech prepared -- proof, if any is needed at this date, that he would have been a really poor choice as President. But I figured that that was at least 50% self-delusion, that Romney had waved away people who were trying to warn him about the facts. Similarly, I assumed that Karl Rove's on-air "meltdown" over FoxNews calling Ohio for Obama was at least 50% acting, and was a way for Fox to bring their viewers toward the reality predicted by Sam Wang and Nate Silver.
But the invaluable Jane Mayer reports, in her latest article about the Koch brothers:
The Kochs' strategy began to change after the last Presidential election. Having spent so much money trying to defeat Obama, they were stunned when he was reëlected. As late as Election Day, their political advisers were assuring them that Mitt Romney had secured the Presidency.
If the Koch's advisers were telling them Romney had it in the bag, those advisers were incompetent. Not lying, because liars wouldn't have let the marks be surprised, they'd have been spinning a Dolchstoßlegende with an eye toward another round of grifting.
I seem to see a pattern where billionaires who get involved in politics don't just get overcharged, they're getting negative value -- worse results than if they used public information and just voted with their votes. Why can't they get good help?
My gut says Brueghel has the answer: billionaires are surrounded by so many flatterers that people who actually know what's going on (info which might not be so flattering) can't get through.
I also wonder if the negative charisma of the Establishment GOP candidates is because charisma makes a person too egocentric to be good at flattering mere money.