I’ll take the smart kid
I like this post from Time.com’s Michael Scherer:
Here’s one thing you need to know about John McCain. He’s always been the coolest kid in school. He was the brat who racked up demerits at the Naval Academy. He was the hot dog pilot who went back to the skies weeks after almost dying in a fire on the U.S.S. Forrestal. His first wife was a model. His second wife was a rich girl, 17 years his junior. He kept himself together during years of North Vietnamese torture and solitary confinement. When he sits in the back of his campaign bus, we reporters gather like kids in the cafeteria huddling around the star quarterback. We ask him tough questions, and we try to make him slip up, but almost inevitably we come around to admiring him. He wants the challenge. He likes the give and take. He is, to put it simply, cooler than us.
Now here’s the thing you need to know about Mitt Romney. He is the overachiever, the do-gooder, the kid in class who always does everything right. All his life he has outperformed, as a Mormon missionary in France, as a corporate takeover consultant, as the guy who saved the Winter Olympics from financial ruin. He works crazy hours and apologizes after he makes a joke, because he is worried you won’t understand his meaning. He is the one who takes endless notes in every class and has a little plastic container inside his locker for all of his mechanical pencils. He will probably be the valedictorian, and he will surely disappoint you at graduation by giving a bland speech that all the parents just love. “Isn’t that boy so sweet,” say all the moms.
So here is the situation that Republicans in New Hampshire face on Tuesday: Do we elect the jock or the overachiever? Do we go with cool and confident, or cautious and competent? It’s an analogy that doesn’t hold up in every scenario and doesn’t characterize the candidates with total accuracy, but it works. Personally I find competence compelling by itself. There is something great about excellence. It may appear bland, but is that because it is of itself unremarkable? Or is it that we expect nothing less from such a person? Try as you might to claim that campaign pronouncements mean much more than the paper they are printed on (or the blogs they are posted on), the real proof is in how the candidates have lived and worked. I don’t think anyone can question Mitt’s competence, just as we don’t question McCain’s bravery or Huckabee’s…uh…weight loss?Likewise with the Democrats there is not a one that has been as effective in the private sector as Mitt has been, short (maybe) of slimy Trial Lawyer Edwards. Unfortunately for the Edwards, his senate tenure was extremely unremarkable.So like I said above, I’ll take the smart kid. Check out Scherer’s whole post for his great jab at Huckabee.