Friday, October 22, 2004

The Elvis factor

Professional optimist and Kerry supporter Thomas P.M. Barnett opines that Bush will win because, "I have said it before and I will say it again: the more optimistic candidate wins national elections." (He says it longer and in more detail--a worthwhile read.)

This is akin to my friend Susan's "Elvis factor": In every presidential election, either the Republican wins or the candidate with the highest Elvis factor. What exactly is the Elvis factor? Well, if you have to ask, I'm not sure I can explain it, but for my occasional visitors from Pakistan (that's a joke--Pakistanis probably know more about Elvis than Berkeleyites), I'll lay out a couple of the essentials--it's a down home, manly quality, with an edge.

Clinton had it. Andrew Jackson had it. Nixon had zero, but he was a Republican. Between Ford and Carter, Carter had slightly more of it. Go through the list. It works all the way back to the earliest days of the Republic.

Back to the present: between Bush and Kerry, who has the Elvis factor?

I'm afraid to be too optimistic (it's a private superstition of mine--that if I expect an outcome too complacently, it won't happen), but Bush seems to lead in both optimism and Elvisism.

We'll see.

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