I fantasize about running for President, but in the same way I fantasize about being Batman. I wouldn't want either job, but it's fun to think about how I'd handle certain situations. One situation that pops up all the time is when a reporter asks a candidate to respond to his opponent's campaign promises to do the impossible. My fantasy answer would be "My opponent thinks voters are stupid."

The great thing about that answer is that it would generate world headlines. Second, it would resonate as being honest and accurate. You'd have to make sure you weren't making unrealistic promises yourself, and that's the hard part. But it would be a killer line.

Calling your opponent names, like flip-flopper, clearly works to some extent. But telling voters that your opponent thinks THEY are stupid would work even better, especially if it is clearly true that he thinks that.

I've also been working on good sound bites for both Obama and McCain. Obama's sound bite is easy. He took heat for suggesting a specific timetable for withdrawal before he had visited Iraq and talked to the generals. That seemed dumb. Then he made the best political move I have ever seen, by saying a President has to see the bigger picture, so generals in Iraq can't be the ones to determine when we leave. Agree with him or not, it was a brilliant political move. He needs to capture that in a soundbite: "Generals fight wars. Presidents make peace." It sounds like universal wisdom. That's a good sound bite.

Now that the Iraqi Prime Minister wants the U.S. to leave on Obama's timetable, McCain's biggest issue is gone. Even if you think McCain was right about the surge, it is no longer relevant to the election. No one cares that an old guy once made a good decision. The average voter doesn't know enough about economics to make the economy a powerful issue for McCain, and it's too late for him to start hammering on social issues. So McCain's sound bite needs to be something vague yet persuasive. I suggest: "Do voters prefer words or actions?"

The great part of that sound bite is that everyone is programmed to automatically prefer words to action. And to the extent that Obama is viewed as a great orator, and McCain is seen as more of a man of action, you start thinking the sound bite actually means something. And phrasing the sound bite as a question forces the listener to automatically answer it, thus reinforcing it in the irrationsl part of the brain. It is the political equivalent of "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit." It sounds like a reason to the unreasonable part of your brain, which unfortnately makes most of your decisions.

The other sound bite I have been thinking about wouldn't work for the election, but it's funny: "Change is good until it's your turn to be the diaper."

Do you have a better sound bite for this election?

[Disclaimer: I don't think either candidate meets the minimum standard to be president. And I won't have a preference until I complete a poll of economists that I'm working on now.]

Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +7
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+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 29, 2008
Letting an economist decide your vote is like letting a proctologist pick your dental plan.

He may know a lot about some cavities, but he's not qualified to say how they should all be filled.
-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 29, 2008
TO: p477
'Since the New Yorker put Obama on it's cover, his sound bite should be:

'I'm NOT Obama bin Laden!' '

By far, this is the most stupid comment I have read in Scott's blog for all these years. Not only it is stupid as it is, the comment misses the point of post completely. For to this statement McCain could whoheartedly respond:

'Obama thinks - voters are stupid'.

Or maybe I missed the joke, then THIS one is a most stupid comment ever.
Jul 29, 2008
Not related at all but I heard 'your song' she's amazing the one from your blog collaboration in the wild....

Its famous for sure!


Jul 29, 2008
I give up. It was bad enough trying to read Dilbert when I had to wait half a minute for all your Flash crap to load. But now I have to log in to read Dilbert; otherwise, I just get a big black empty box where the strip should go. Enough.
Jul 29, 2008
how about for Obama:
"Will you vote FOR the First African-American president...or AGAINST him?"
then he should raise his eyebrows with a picture of Martin Luther King Jr behind him.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 29, 2008

This isn't exactly a sound bite but if I was Obama and McCain dropped the "Stupid" line on me I'd make sure to mention something along these lines in all of my stump speeches:
"What voters think is stupid is when Washington politicians go around doing the same things over and over expecting to see different results."
(Hat tip to Mr. Einstein who had like a gazillion cool lines to crib for political speeches.)
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 29, 2008
Since the New Yorker put Obama on it's cover, his sound bite should be:

'I'm NOT Obama bin Laden!'
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 29, 2008
slogans need to grab your attention and don't necessarily have to mean much, such as...

Raisin' McCain
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 29, 2008
risingstarlp, Good One. This falls under the heading, be careful what you wish for.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 29, 2008
For McCain: Cancerous but still mostly continent.
Jul 29, 2008
Minimum standards to be President? Correk me if I'm wrong, but I think those got thrown out with the bath water when Richard Nixon won a landslide victory in 1968.
Jul 29, 2008
I'm pretty much in the "flat-tax" camp, so my sound bite regarding the current tax code is:

-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 29, 2008
Scott speaking of presidents and batman, I was wonder if you had see this: http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB121694247343482821-lMyQjAxMDI4MTI2NTkyNDUyWj.html
Jul 29, 2008
H.R. you are so right... if he'd go with Condy, he'd be all set. And I think she'd make an awesome VP.
Jul 29, 2008
You know, I think the major news networks are part of the problem with this election. If everyone would just suck it up and watch C-Span, then we probably wouldn't have to choose between a inexperienced rhetorician and a war-happy old-timer. But people don't actually care about politics. They care about pop-culture. They care about politics whenever it turns into something Hollywood-esque. That's why when people vote they probably only recognize the names of 2 people on the sheet, and have little idea who their representatives are otherwise, despite the fact that those representatives have far more to do with many of the key issues than the president does. If people would watch what their gov't does (or doesn't do) currently, we'd avoid a lot of the crap we deal with come these major elections.
Jul 29, 2008
What the politician said:

"Politics is about the Voters"

What the voter heard:

Politics is about us [the voters] and our welfare.

What the Politician meant:

"Let's see - how many of you will vote for me? I need to know how rich are you and how much you'll contribute to my campaign? How how well connected are you and influential are you all? After all, I'll need some favors before, during, and after I'm elected? What do I want to be when I grow up - maybe a CEO or a consultant - can any of you offer me that? Nah, I really want to hang out with the wealthy folks - summer on Nantucket, winter in Palm Beach. Maybe jet off to Palm Springs for a round of golf - who'll invite me over? ..."
Jul 29, 2008
What about "Finally! Someone we can vote *for*!" Could be used by either candidate.
Jul 29, 2008
Obama's sound bite: "Europe likes me."

McCain's sound bite: "I suck less."

By the way, will you share the results of that poll with us? I'd like to reap the benefits without doing any of the work.
Jul 29, 2008
"We want change," said the Germans in the 1920's.

Probably should figure out what that change is going to be. And listening to the campaign lies isn't going to qualify as knowing what the change is going to be. I mean who actually believes everyone in the country will have free healthcare, everything will be great, and it won't cost very much.

The study in the link below has been subsequently supported by a follow up study that showed very similar results. It's scary.


It shows that the dumbest 25% of people in a group think they are above average in comparison to that group. I think that explains why bad politicians get voted in. The dumbest people hear the lies, believe them, and then think they know everything and feel confident in voting.

I think people should be given a test about logic, economics and politics before they vote, maybe when they registered. Then before you voted, you'd see the results of your test. Then, if you still wanted to vote, you'd have the opportunity to do so (no one would be barred based on performance) but it would allow the dumbest people to realize their own stupidity and maybe show them they shouldn't be making decisions that effect other people.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 29, 2008
"I want to be president not to be president, but to do what a president does". Sounds good, but means nothing.
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