Msnowe's Blog

Pander Bears

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on August 14, 2007

So as a candidate, it’s normal to have a base. Everyone needs someone to pander to, and on the whole, people liked to be pandered around. Often, panderers choose a crowd they could easily loose themselves in if things got rough. A polar bear lives in the Arctic, because he/she finds it much easier to blend in, and brown bears life in the forest, so its hard to see them through the trees. Sure, they can roar, make themselves heard, and quickly steal your food from under you, but they can also scamper away in the flash. Politicians are similar, and it only makes sense. Why would you bother too much in the early stages of your campaign in a thicket full of hostile predators? You go to the habitat that serves you best – it reflects all your choices, your party, your platforms, etc. Even if you don’t necessary believe your platforms, (and maybe like to flip-flop) you at least have the courtesy to zip up a new furry intellectual coat over your old one, hoping people don’t spot the lumps that signify a change in appearance.

Lucky for politicians, it is relatively easy to “change your spots.” And these phenomena are all well and good. But what happens when the atmosphere surrounding the political heavyweights changes fundamentally? Increasingly, and surprisingly, as if in sync with the environment, the political landscape has been a victim of deforestation. Because of the processes engineered within the Bush administration, and somehow through the mumbles and shifts in policy and the national political climate, parties have tilted on their axis, and changes have taken place. Pundits are scampering to new grounds, and the voters and politicians alike are trying manuever into a habitats that can sustain them.

The strange erosion taking place all over the country complicates just who these campaigners have as an audience. All has gone pear-shaped, Topsy-turvy; a well-placed Shakespearean reference in the vein of how so quickly bright things come to confusion would not miss the mark by much here. Case in point is the presidential candidates and their popularity – the groups we see supporting certain figures isn’t altogether unexpected, but it raises some interesting instinctual questions that will no doubt have bearing on the election.

Political observers will tell you quite clearly that Clinton is doing well with many, but maybe enjoys the largestpopular majority with a lower and middle class liberal base, including single mothers and African American mothers. Obama has found himself in the midst of a captivated audience of college-educated liberals white and black, yet surprisingly less black voters on the whole, and less lower class and minority voters than expected. Guiliani is polling well in South Carolina, and Romney came in first in the Iowa straw poll. Some of these results make sense, but they also speak volumes about what the public is willing to except in order to live in this new political landscape. Clinton is not nonintellectual, yet she seems to be most popular with a working class that is more interested in direct policy and less in philosophical debate. Obama should have the strong support of a more diverse base, but yet he finds himself loosing many supporters to Clinton. Guiliani, a supporter of women’s rights (and yet hypocritically a serial-divorcer/cheater a few times over), should not be doing so well in the bible-bitten state of South Carolina, and Romney should not be polling unnaturally high in Iowa when his national numbers are lower than many other candidates. It doesn’t make any sense, and yet perhaps the organized chaos is to be expected – the life cycle of political campaigns has been skewed to the extreme for this election, and all the species of candidates are feeling the strain. I guess all we can do is wait out the slow degradation, and see which candidates become extinct, choked by the fragmentation of their habitats, and which evolve, and flourish within a new, biodiverse hotspot.