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Opening Arguments

Angry dog, nice doggie

I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with something in Salon:

Jeb! Bush’s alleged intention to run a positive, joyous, exuberant, civil, delightful, laughter-filled presidential campaign of constant mirth treads around an obvious political risk: projecting condescension or even hostility towards, you know, Republican voters. Implicit in these calls for a shiny, sparkly Republican politics is a criticism of Republican voters as feral beasts who’ve been conditioned only to respond to argle-bargle nativist nonsense. No one likes to be told to smile more, honey.

A certain number of voters will respond to the angry-dog candidate, which Donal Trump is and Ted Cruz is trying to be. But that wears thin over the long haul. Neither will people really buy into all that smarmy, condescending niceness, either.

There is something in between that will grab them and hold them -- a candidate who talks about problems and serious issues but also exudes a sense of optimism and faith in the country and its people. That's what Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton did. The closest to that combination I've seem so far (and I'll be looking for more of it in the first "degbate") is from Marco Rubio. I think Scott Walker and Carly Fiorna may have the capacity for it, too.