. . . Tuesday May 18, 2004

The Personality

Robert Reich on Clinton: “Undoubtedly he was and is a gifted politician. He triangulated, and by that we all understood he was taking positions that were equidistant between Republicans and Democrats. He thereby blurred the distinction between Democrats and Republicans. He didn’t help define what the Democrats believed in. He got reelected and that was no small feat … But the Democratic message was squandered. The Democratic moment was wasted.”

Interesting take from an insider. I actually think there was something else (related, but subtly different) at work here. The Clinton years were all about personality. There was the other side that was attacking. And then there was Clinton. His scandals were personal. His charms were personal. And unfortunately for the Dems, personality-driven programs of any kind are almost impossible to duplicate (that goes for non-profits, political movements, entertainment, and certainly radio talkshows).

It’s not just that Clinton shifted to the middle. The Party could’ve done that with him had it so desired. It’s that he shifted alone.

Concentration is important!