Friday, January 13, 2006

McGraw for something!

Those who have followed my strategic views know that I regard down-home populist flavor -- in the immortal words of Kung Fu Monkey, knowing how to say ain't -- as the key determinant of presidential electability. It's a very big deal in red-state local races too. So I'm pretty excited to see that country superstar Tim McGraw is considering a political career, and being encouraged by Bill Clinton. McGraw lists his number one issue as health care -- we'll make a country fan out of Ezra yet!


Laura said...

Ha. When I first browsed this story, I assumed McGraw was planning a run as a Republican. (I know nothing about country music.) But as a Democrat... now that's interesting.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Yeah! When I saw the headline, I kind of groaned, because that's what I thought too. But he's one of ours. The health care bit has me tickled too... Clinton, Edwards, now McGraw... we need more Southerners who are Bubba on the outside and wonk on the inside!

Nick Beaudrot said...

So would he run for office in Louisiana, or Tennessee? From my vantagepoint, the Louisiana Democratic Party will need saving in about ten years. And Tennessee could use the help too; they have had a steady decline at the state level, and Bredesen just gutted their managed care plan.

Nick Beaudrot said...

It's also worth pointing out that despite supporting Bush, Toby Keith is a Democrat, so perhaps under different circumstances he could run for something too.

I'm a bit down on the celebrity-as-politician model; it seems to work for Republicans for "playing against type" reasons. But perhaps for sports & country music stars there are exceptions. I guess the Heath Shuler-Chuck Taylor contest in NC-11 will make this clear.

Neil Sinhababu said...

I'm sort of curious whether Shuler's awful numbers as an NFL quarterback, especially in his last season, will hurt him. Kyle Orton (himself a loyal Democrat who plans to run for office someday) might be watching this one with interest.

Blue said...

So like, I worry about the degree to whih you don't see how HARD it is to be that populisty thing. I don't know how you do it, but I know lots of ways you don't.

For instance, Al Gore did a lot of talking in y'alls and using the correct accent with his southern constituents (especially pre-VP). The problem was, this just got used to show that he was opportunistic and disdaining southerners by his superficial immitation/manipulation.

To be honest tho, lot's of people do in fact think that about Bush. In fact, I would only say the difference between the two was that "60% thought of Bush as authentically southern" and "40% thought of Gore as authentically southern". That middle 20% is the most important quintile of course, but it's not simply an off-on switch that can be realized with a few additions from the cunning speech writer.

I also think it goes deeper into costly signals (if you're willing to do clearly bad things, only because of your cultural signals, then those signals carry great weight).