Thursday, June 14, 2007
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My soft spot for the Stassenites
Over at Slate, John Dickerson has story that crops up every four years -- the indefatigable, perennial and completely obscure presidential candidate:
While covering the Republican and Democratic debates last week, I thought I might have a shot at eating a late breakfast at the Merrimack candidate-free. John Cox, the Republican superlongshot, has an office above the restaurant, but I knew he was away, trying to wangle his way into the Republican debate. So, I knew I wouldn't run into him. I thought I was in the clear. I sprinted toward the door, then slowed down briefly to pull the handle. "Are you a reporter?" asked a man standing on the sidewalk. He was typing on a laptop he'd perched on one of the newspaper machines. Busted.I find something unbelievably charming about the Harold Stassens of the world, but I honestly don't know why. In theory, these kind of people should repel me. If you think about it, what's endearing about a guy whose ego is so out of proportion to reality that he thinks he should be president?
I think what I find endearing is that, deep down, these guys know their odds and yet they persist anyway, election cycle after election cycle. That requires a mixture of optimism, faith in one's abilities, and partial self-delusion that is quintissentially American.
The comparsion with Stassen is not really apt, because in 1948 Stassen was a very serious candidate indeed. It was only his repeated subsequent candidacies that made him look ridiculous. The point with these other guys is that they *never* had a chance.posted by: David T on 06.14.07 at 08:37 AM [permalink]
I'm with Mr. Drezner.
Since Pat Paulson died I've had to vote Libertarian.posted by: Useless Sam Grant on 06.14.07 at 08:37 AM [permalink]
Sadly, Stassen behaved like a serious candidate in the run-up to 1952, playing straight-man for the China lobby's attack on Philip Jessup.posted by: Carrington Ward on 06.14.07 at 08:37 AM [permalink]
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