Saturday, December 01, 2007

Politics of Misery

Gallup reports that Republicans feel better about their mental health than Democrats. This is consistent with previous polls that show Republicans are happier, healthier, and wealthier. For how this affects a person's politics, consider Ms. Susan Estrich who was the manager of .Michael Dukakis' presidential campaign. As she explains in a column, she wants the next president to be a miserable failure. James Taranto summarizes from her column:

Think you've got problems? Consider the perils of Susan Estrich. Divorced, she has to eke out a living as a lawyer to support her two children. The demands of that job mean she doesn't get to see the kids as often as she likes. She is overweight and lacks the discipline to exercise regularly. Her house is a mess, and unethical rug cleaners wrecked her living-room floor.

Wait, it gets worse. Her nanny lacks medical insurance because the application form is too confusing for Estrich to fill out. Estrich herself has health care, but complications from a recent surgical procedure have her feeling worse than ever. Her kids are ungrateful. And she doesn't even have a boyfriend!

"Most days," Estrich writes in a column, "I feel like a failure at most of the things I try to do, and the only question is the matter of degree."

Clearly, she is presidential material.

Estrich isn't throwing her own hat into the ring, but the purpose of her column is to explain that she favors Hillary Clinton because Mrs. Clinton, like Estrich, falls well short of being a "superwoman":

A funny thing happens when she makes a misstep, takes a hit, becomes the target for a prolonged mass attack. Her numbers, especially among women, often go up. The chit chat you hear from regular women is that "they're after her," and even though, or rather especially because, that is the wrong thing for her to say publicly, it resonates even more strongly privately.

When Hillary is the perfect candidate, the superwoman in teflon, it's a little hard to connect. When she isn't, when she makes a mistake, takes a hit, when her face tells you she's ready to scream in frustation that the guys are never this tough on each other, a funny thing happens.

I know it's wrong, but it's when I like her best. I even imagine her sitting in a hotel room, the way I am now, beating herself up for all the things she did wrong today, and for all the things that went wrong even if she didn't do it. You go girl! We're with you.

It reminds us of a quote from Dick Gephardt, in a September 2003 debate:

This president is a miserable failure! He is a miserable failure! . . . He's a miserable failure on this issue! . . . This president is a miserable failure on foreign policy and on the economy! . . . Why would we want to keep anything of the Bush tax plan? It's a miserable failure!

Who'd have thought that four years later, being a miserable failure would be a selling point?

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