Friday, October 2, 2015

Stylistically indomitable

Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in Clarence Brown's Flesh and the Devil (1926). Via Rebloggy.
Shorter David Brooks, "Carly Fiorina: The Marketing Genius", October 2 2015:
Fiorina's great at marketing, but needs work on product development. That is, she lies about herself and her career with terrific aplomb, and aggressively about her rage-targets from Barack Obama to Planned Parenthood, but in presenting her policy positions she sounds like a completely conventional Republican. If she really wants to be in the big time she's going to have to start lying more effectively about that too, on the model of Bush or Kasich or Huckabee, giving the impression the policies are meant to benefit working people.
Well, so he doesn't exactly say she lies. He says she's "stylistically indomitable"—
Clinton and Fiorina appeared back to back on “Meet the Press” recently. Clinton was challenged on the email issue and tried affably to defend her conduct. Fiorina was challenged on the existence of a Planned Parenthood video she claims to have seen.
In contrast to Clinton, Fiorina simply refused to adopt a defensive posture. She ignored the challenges and just hit Planned Parenthood harder. The factual issue sort of got lost in her torrent. She was stylistically indomitable even if she didn’t address the substance of the critique.
And that she has
out-Trumped Trump and landed the most telling and quotable blows on Hillary Clinton
and can
bludgeon a host with a barrage of forcefully delivered bullet points, which then goes viral
and adds that
When challenged on the accuracy or fairness of her assertions, she blasts straight through.
Know what I'm saying? Her job is to beat people up, not to tell the truth, or tell lies either. Complaining about her telling lies is like complaining about a left-handed boxer for leading with right instead of left jabs. It's a cool thing that left-handed boxers do, and it keeps her opponents jumping! You can learn a lot from watching her!

But she falls down, Brooks feels, in the policy area, as
for all her feisty outsider bravado, if you actually look at her views on substance and her behavior in the past, she is a completely conventional Republican....  substantively she’s completely establishmentarian. Another way to say it is that her campaign is brilliantly creative in its marketing arm, but unimaginative when it comes to product development.
So we know how she uses her imagination in campaigning—how should she do it in the "substance" department?
there’s been a huge gap between the campaigners, like Trump, Carson and Fiorina, and the governors — those with actual experience in government.
First time I read this I thought he was cutting out Rubio, because he's a senator. But no, Brooks just forgot, as he tends to do, that words (such as "governor") often have meanings before you decide to use them. But anyway Fiorina's problem is going to be that voters
want someone authentically connected to middle-class concerns and with strategies for their specific challenges, like wage stagnation.
Like those unconventional Republicans and paragons of authenticity Kasich, Bush, and Rubio. And how do they display that? By rejecting minimum wage increases, for example? How is that unconventional? It's a weird way to ameliorate wage stagnation, but all Republicans agree on it. Fiorina and Bush have identical stances on minimum wage (that the federal one shouldn't exist). Why is Fiorina doomed to failure here while Bush is authentically connected to middle-class concerns?

I guess it's because Jeb! explains to you that getting rid of the federal minimum will make your wages go up. He uses his imagination. Or young Marco, who doesn't think there should even be minimum wages at state level:
"I support people making more than $9. I want people to make as much as they can. I don't think a minimum wage law works," Rubio told Charlie Rose. "We all support -- I certainly do -- having more taxpayers, meaning more people who are employed. And I want people to make a lot more than $9 -- $9 is not enough."
Right, how can you expect people to rise if you allow them to have a floor under their feet?

Getting rid of the minimum wage will push up your wages, cutting taxes on rich people will increase government revenues, bombing Iran will make peace and making a peace agreement with Iran will make war. Forcing workers to pay for contraception out of pocket will guarantee their religious freedom, keying the amount of speech you have to the amount of money you have will guarantee everyone's freedom of speech (Q: What's the most expensive free thing in the world? A: Political speech in the USA). Having people pack heat in bars and churches is the way to stop gun violence. Telling lies from the sex education class to the gynecologist's office is the way to get people to make informed choices on sexuality.

Hey, Brooksy, come to think of it, conventional Republicans have tons of imagination! WTF are you talking about?

Image via The Last of the Millenniums.

Driftglass takes the same point (Brooks doesn't think there's anything wrong with Fiorina's lying) in a different direction, so don't miss that.

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