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November 24, 2010

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Well, Doc, I have to think that you are just trying to stir the pot with this post but I know charisma when I see it and Sarah Palin just don’t got it. I would put her on a par with George the Worst, and I guess he also had a type of charisma that I was immune to, but her good ole gal persona just does not wear well IMO.

I feel pretty sure that Barack Obama and most Dems (myself included) are fervently hoping that she runs and gets the nomination but I don’t see it happening, then again I was sure Hillary wasn’t going to run so what do I know. There’s also the 'be careful what you wish for' element but, honestly, if this country’s citizenry has been worn down and duped to the point that they would elect Palin then we might as well find out now.

That reminds me, however, I never thought Reagan could possibly be elected (and his resume was much more impressive than Palin's), although I would agree that Reagan had charisma and, really, he wasn't a half bad actor.

Not a comment on the post, but on your previous comment to me as to what to anticipate: aha. +1 Charisma awarded.

I'm working on Constitution.

I read the title, I thought this was the Balloon Juice scale of how many drinks the writer had, which was reinforced when it had the notion of charisma overlapping Sarah Palin.

The problem I see is that there are different kinds of charisma with different effects depending on range and target. To use the most notorious example: Hitler
There were essentially two types of people, those that he could mass hypnotize with ease and those where this had no (positive) effect at all. No middle ground. On a one-on-one basis he has been described as extremly charming even by people who hated his guts.
Many TV personalities are able to charme at a distance but have a near 100% failure rate on close range, i.e. everyone loves them on screen but few that met them in the real world did not leave the encounter with extreme disgust.
Palin is perfectly suited to lead a lynch mob and bamboozle those that have not been exposed to her intimately (i.e. not as part of a crowd). That makes her imo quite qualified as a GOP candidate.

As I recall from my role playing days, (It's been a few decades...) Charisma was a trait which helped you with pretty much everybody. That was one of the unrealistic aspects of D&D, IMO. In the real world charisma has a polarity, which interacts with the polarity of the viewer.

Which is to say, yeah, Bill Clinton had loads of charisma. If you were inclined to like him, you loved him. OTOH, if you were of the other polarity, you didn't just dislike him, you instantly loathed him. I have to admit to being troubled by this, the first time I was exposed to him I was seized by an overwhelming disgust, and he hadn't even done anything to merit it yet. (Granted, he did resolve this problem fairly quickly...)

"Polarizing" might be a better description of the trait we're talking about.

One point where Palin is weak in her 'charisma' is her inability to deal with any kind of criticism on the spot. In front of a mob she lashes out expecting her fans to deal with he troublemakers (works resonably well), in front of a single person (e.g. an interviewer) it tends to be deer-in-the-headlights. The only way she can deal with real or perceived criticism is in absence, i.e. hitting critics over the head when they can't defend themselves because they are either not present or risk literal violence from her supporters. Again, perfect for the GOP part of the country.
Obama on the other hand seems rather helpless when confronted with simple nonsense, a typical fault of intellectuals. Trying to deal with such situations by applying logic or common sense directly plays into the other side's hands.

I have to admit to being troubled by this, the first time I was exposed to him I was seized by an overwhelming disgust, and he hadn't even done anything to merit it yet.

I love how you expect us all to perceive this as a problem with Bill Clinton rather than with you.

Not speaking for Brett but a lot of people personally dislike Bill intensely but respect him as a politician/statesman. "Would trust him with my money and/or my country but not my daughter"

Of course herein lies the problem...if you personally do not feel any connection to someone, no one can. If you don't see any charisma; it does not, and could not, exist.

For instance, I felt nothing but coldness and a bit of dislike for Obama (although I dutifully voted for him, before anyone begins to howl). I remember being flummoxed by Reagan's appeal, but I liked Bill Clinton from the start. It's a gut feeling, that attraction, and if you can't (shouldn't) base a vote on it, you also can't deny that it exists. The 'like to have a beer with' criterion is way more important in politics than any of us like to admit, and Sarah has it in buckets.

My first thought when McCain started to interview for a VP candidate was 'omg don't let him pick Sarah Palin,' for many of the reasons listed by Dr. Science. I knew of her because I am at least vaguely aware of most female politicians at a certain level. There are so few, you know. And I knew she would have appeal.

And really, telling people they are stupid to feel how they feel is not going to change their minds. Talking among yourselves as to how superior you are...because you can see right through That Person those others like; that's not going to change their minds. There may not BE a way to change their minds. But you share a country with them, they are your neighbors and often your family, and part of living in a democracy is learning to deal with people who disagree with you. Because they also get to vote.


Other systems have the +4 Charisma in situation A/-2 Charisma in situation B (generally it is an attractive modifier, i.e., people who are attracted give you a +4 modifier, people who are your competition give you a -2 modifier).

I'd also argue that intelligence is her dump stat, with a mediocre, if not penalizing Wisdom score, because a lot of her decision have taken in the short term gains that she's looking for; you can't argue that she isn't succeeding in the environment (now you can say that it is because she's listening to good counsel, but that's a wisdom in and of itself); however, the deer in headlight look is when the DM looks at her and says "Roll Intelligence+Diplomacy to come up with an intelligent sounding answer that doesn't give away too much."

"I love how you expect us all to perceive this as a problem with Bill Clinton rather than with you."

You completely misunderstood that remark. The reason I was troubled by it, was that *I* shouldn't instantly loath somebody without any objective basis, on the first exposure. It was, absolutely, something wrong with me. The fact that Clinton wasted no time giving me some good basis for the feeling doesn't change that it was, at least in the first instance, irrational.

I have to admit to being troubled by this, the first time I was exposed to him I was seized by an overwhelming disgust, and he hadn't even done anything to merit it yet.

What Phil said.

But I think there's a sense in which charisma, if possessed by someone you dislike for other reasons, can sharpen your dislike to loathing. If you meet a charming, personable individual who believes that (say) the poor should be left to starve, then I can believe you'd feel more hostile to him than to his uninteresting, unconvincing colleague. Certainly Reagan seemed to arouse much more hostility in Europe than Bush I, even though their policies were very similar - Reagan had charisma and Bush I didn't.

I'm speculating here, but it could be a reaction to the mismatch of two different emotional responses: the lower brain is reacting positively to the charisma, and the higher brain is rejecting the principles they espouse.
(The lower brain works faster: there's an interesting experiment which involves showing people very brief flashes of a picture of a smiling face. Even when the exposure's too brief to identify the person in it, the subject still smiles in response. They tried it with pictures of a smiling Hitler, and, below 200ms exposure IIRC, people smiled back; above 200ms they looked revulsed.)

And, as a bonus, this might also explain why female politicians attract so much more vitriol (from a mainly male media) than male ones; it's the mismatch between the lower-brain reaction to seeing a physically attractive woman (and most female politicans are, if only in the sense that they're well-dressed and well-groomed, as politicians have to be) and the higher-brain reaction to hearing her promote policies you disagree with.

But, as I say, speculation.

The fact that Clinton wasted no time giving me some good basis for the feeling doesn't change that it was, at least in the first instance, irrational.

Well, not really. I mean, you presumably didn't run into Clinton at random in a supermarket or something: you already knew that he was a senior politician in a party that you instinctively despise. And I think it'd be very difficult for you to see him not through that lens.

I'm with Brett here. Charisma tends to have a polarizing effect. I can't stand to watch Palin for even a minute; to me she is patently phony - also petty, mean, ignorant-and-proud-of-it - but most of all just transparently fake. In my eyes, her supposed-charisma is so clearly calculated that it doesn't function like charisma at all - 'Charisma for Dummies'. Obviously, lots of other people don't and won't feel that way.

However, though I think she can indeed win the nomination, I'm pretty sure she'd have a hard time winning the general. Even if the economy is still in the crapper, and even though Obama tends to be more passive than active, I think she would tend to undo herself. She doesn't wear well.

Sarah Palin's charisma is in part attributable to her visual attractiveness. This is something that will diminish as she ages. She will also become less marketable as her grating voice wears on people's nerves. The novelty factor will disappear eventually.

That said, she's dangerous right now, mostly because of the 24/7 promotion machine on all media. As someone who loathes her, I try to turn off the tv when she's mentioned.

*Ahem*

As a student of US American religion, I think it’s no coincidence that Sarah Palin is Pentecostal.

And Pentecostal theology is built on the notion of the charismatic, or to be more theologically sound, the charismata.

It is also the biggest Protestant sect with the most working-class and poorest members.

Clinton's voice, coupled with that "I feel your pain" crap he ran out, turned me off. I found that if I totally avoided listening to him and instead read his speeches, I liked them. Listening? I literally had to turn him off. Couldn't take it.

I ultimately came around to the idea that he was a pretty good President. But I absolutely didn't like the guy. Not one bit.

Sarah Palin takes that to 11 for me. Absolute repulsion. I think she is the manifestation of pretty much everything that's wrong with our political system.

I've stuck with my Clinton-era avoidance of actually listening to politicians. I read instead, to avoid having a knee-jerk reaction to somebody's voice/face/body language.

I'd accuse Brett of being disingenuous, but I think he nailed it-- "charisma" is something that makes someone very attractive to some (or even many) people but creates an intense feeling of loathing/distrust in others. Even on a policy-basis, Brett isn't justified in his loathing of Bill Clinton-- the economy did well, NAFTA was passed, the military was downsized, and government growth was slowed. But Bill Clinton's personality is just the sort of thing that is regarded as compelling by some and loathed by others, in the same way that arrogant investment bankers who are tall and loud are considered heroes by some, but I personally can't stand them. Or George W Bush's jocular fratboy personality is considered friendly and fun by some, but I regard as obnoxious assholishness.

Likewise, I find Obama compelling-- he's someone who I regard as "one of us"; I relate to him, for various reasons of my background -- but for some people, they clearly have the exact opposite reaction. I assume it's the same for Sarah Palin: she exudes an aura of being "one of you" to her audience, while those of us who are most assuredly not "her people" are never going to see her that way.

Oh please with the Palin thing. It's one thing to go around making speeches to captive audiences, chat with tame journalists and send out missives via various social media. It's quite another to actually go out on the campaign trail, press flesh with skeptical voters and answer unscripted questions from local media.

That's not even mentioning getting up on stage with all the Presidential hopefuls and having a debate.

Moreover, running for President is a labor-intensive, grueling slog. If you want to have a shot, you have to do the work. If there's one thing we know for sure about Sarah, she's lazy and as Fred Thompson showed in 2008, lazy gets you absolutely nowhere, no matter how charismatic you might be.

I agree with Brett and with everyone who agrees with Brett. Those who disagree are proving his point: the charisma that causes some to swoon also causes them to lash out at those who's reaction is the opposite of a swoon. I pretty instantly disliked Clinton. I also pretty quickly came to dislike Palin.

The difference between Clinton and Palin, both of whom polarize, is that Clinton was substantively far more knowledgeable, intelligent and conversant--it's not necessary to like or agree with someone to acknowledge these qualities. Palin is simply a very shallow cliche spouting egomaniac. Clinton had and has his own ego issues, but Palin, unlike Clinton, is not a viable national candidate. She cannot withstand full blown, substantive exposure on a national level, day in and day out.

At least, I hope this is the case, that she just can't win. I'd have to vote against her or do a write in. She would be, without a doubt, the worst president ever. The worst.

In the real world charisma has a polarity, which interacts with the polarity of the viewer.

An extremely apt point. And yes, I think folks who are reading hypocrisy into it are misreading what Brett actually wrote.

And, each and every thing McKinney said.

I'm not sure how charisma should be taken as a polarizing trait. 'If you have charisma, people will hate you' seems untrue on its face. Generally, it is not the charisma people hate, it is the success after the charisma. (I suppose Hitchens fury with Mother Teresa might be listed as a counter example, but can one imagine Hitchens benignly ignoring her, given his flaming atheism?)

Unfortunately, when the trait of charisma is applied to political figures, I think that tends to skew things, since it is difficult to be an unsuccessful, but charismatic politician (unless the 'your rent is 2 damn high guy counts). I think there are some interesting points about female attractiveness built in here as well as some other notions about fame and responsibility that lead to what Doc Science is after, but I'm not sure if charisma is responsible. A quick journey to an online etymology dictionary suggests that charisma has the dual meaning of 'gift of leadership, power of authority' (which seems to exclude Palin as she has never led anything, unless you could her half term as Alaska governor as 'leadership') and the meaning of 'personal charm' (which seems to be refuted by every first hand story that has ever leaked from anyone who has travelled in the orbit of the Palin camp), with an additional fill-up of 'personal kindness', another trait that seems to be in short supply for Sarah P. While this will probably be taken as a rant on Sarah Palin, it more a rant in defense of charisma, which deserves a lot better than to have Sarah Palin represent it, though I expect MWV

Generally, it is not the charisma people hate, it is the success after the charisma.

Not sure about that LJ. I think the point is that you can love and hate someone at the same time and for the same reasons (particularly a celebrity) and that one of the two emotions tends to dominate the other. (In fact, I would speculate that most emotions lend themselves to polarization. Love is closer to hatred than it is to indifference). I think this is built into the Doctor's definition of charisma if not its etymology.

Palin's appeal might be a less potent form of charisma, since for many of us it's just a manufactured gloss. But charisma clearly is in the eye of the beholder - is largely *about* the beholder, really - so I'd go with 'weak charisma'.

I had the same initial reaction to Bill Clinton that Brett did. He struck me as smarmy, arrogant and phony. I didn't trust him a bit and his voice grated on me. Thereafter, my reaction was the opposite of Brett's. He won me over through the campaign, and I liked him well enough during his presidency, even if I didn't agree with his every policy. The witch hunt probably made me sympathize with him more than I otherwise would have.

I share Tyro's feelings, particularly as expressed in his second paragraph at 8:24 AM, with one caveat. In all honesty, I find Sarah Palin very attractive physically, which allows me to watch her speak longer than I would otherwise find tolerable. Photos are even better, since they don't talk. I consider this a personal failing on my part, but there it is, in all its ugly, shallow, male glory.

I think Brett and others are closing in on a salient point for the whole Palin Presidential campaign thing. Charisma is polarizing, but the plus and minus factors are not identical. Clinton or Reagan, for example, were +4/-3. Kennedy was more like +4/-2, i.e. less polarizing (the strong antis were more focused on him being Catholic than anything else). Obama is, I think, +4/-3. In fact, he would be much like Kennedy, except that race, even today, is more of an issue for more people than religion was in 1960.

But Palin is +4/4 -- which is why her negatives are higher any other national politician in sight, or any other politician in the past few decades. What that means for a Presidential campaign is that, for a set of voters with whom she resonates (e.g. Republican primary voters), she will do very, very well indeed. But for a set of voters with whom she does not resonate, she will be in big trouble -- so the question becomes, how big a voter pool is that anti-Palin group?

I've heard that Jesus had great appeal for some, but not for others.

it is difficult to be an unsuccessful, but charismatic politician (unless the 'your rent is 2 damn high guy counts).

Just as an aside, I'd like to push back on this.

I'm not sure you can call Jimmy McMillan unsuccessful.

He's a former postal worker and part-time karate instructor from Brooklyn who pays his rent in kind by doing maintenance work and errands for his landlord. He has weird facial hair, and he wears black gloves because he thinks they help him breathe better.

He's a freaking nut.

And I'm going to bet that the only quote anyone remembers from the NY gubernatorial debate is "the rent is too damn high".

Dude got 40,000 votes.

Just saying.

I had the same initial reaction to Bill Clinton that Brett did. He struck me as smarmy, arrogant and phony. I didn't trust him a bit and his voice grated on me.

You nailed it exactly - that's EXACTLY how I felt about Bill Clinton (smarmy, in particular, is the word). I separated out policy, but I had to overcome that personal, visceral dislike.

I didn't actually feel that way about Dubya at first (though I held to my "don't listen to them" thing, so I avoided listening to a man who apparently can barely speak English, which had to help him). He EARNED my disgust, distrust, etc., through his actions.

Obama started out with an advantage w/me: I generally liked him. I voted for him in the primary, even. But he's pissed me off in much the same way Bush did (though to a lesser degree): with policy choices.

I think charisma promotes intensity--which in electoral politics can be a good thing.

On the Bill Clinton issue--he is definitely absolutely one of the most charismatic people I've ever experienced. And personally I hated it because it worked even on me, even when I was aware of it, and even when I disagreed with him. I found myself again and again listening to his speeches and nodding with agreement, getting swept along, and then afterward realizing that I disagreed with most of what he said. It was a truly disturbing phenomenon for me, as I like to consider myself a rational person. This caused me to overreact in my dislike of him, to put me on guard from his charisma, when at the distance of many years I can look back and say that he was a perfectly adequate president.

I hear he is like that only ten times more in person. I've never seen anyone remotely as charismatic as Bill Clinton. He pushes some deep and basic buttons, your reaction isn't always positive, but you can't help but strongly react.

Interestingly I can tell from reactions of people around me that Obama is very charismatic (though no Bill Clinton). But the buttons he pushes either aren't as resounding with me, or I'm less aware of it pushing my positive reaction.

Palin is very charismatic, I get the instinctive lure of her, but because she is such a mess, it completely turns me off. I'm not completely sure I'd trust that response to be common enough to keep her out of office.

My biggest concern about Palin is not that she could be elected in the normal course of American politics, but that she could get the nomination by Republicans in a long term recession environment, in which case it is possible that almost any Republican would win against Obama.

I also wonder if charisma contributes to the demonization style of your opponents. Most politicians can't fight +4 charisma toe to toe. Reagan and Clinton were both very demonized by their opponents (both at the time and in retrospective) even though both were perfectly adequate presidents (or better). But when you are fighting against someone who pulls the Charisma strings, one method of fighting back is to paint him as such a monster that the Charisma can be turned into a liability. You turn him into a dangerous Siren, trying to viciously catch the unwary. I dunno, just talking out of my ass. ;)

Going all cross-platform here. Think that White Wolf may get at Palin's stat split a little better than D&D. Rather than Charisma as a catch-all for social traits WW used to split social traits into Charisma, Manipulation and Appearance each on a 5 point scale. Palin has fairly high Appearance and Charisma and a middling Manipulation hampered by low-ish Wits and Intelligence. Her Manipulation and Charisma, however, are both specialized so that they get a net-zero +/- modification based on audience.

Think it also helps that the Tea Party character template has an addiction to liberal baiting built in.

I'd put Palin's charisma on par with that of Goldie Hawn. Lot's of bubbly energy, cute-i-tude and charisma but decidedly NOT fit to be POTUS. And beside, Goldie's a far more serious person with a far more impressive track record of commitment to her profession. But I still wouldn't check the Hawn for President box on the ballot.

I have a hard time listening to any politician of any party. Obama and Bill Clinton and Al Gore just as much as George W. Bush and Palin and H.W. and Reagan and Thatcher. The purported charisma of all of them comes off as a transparent phoniness to me, whether I like them or not or agree with what they're saying or not.

But I'm not the average person.

There is little chance that Palin will get the GOP nomination and zero chance that she would win if she did. She drives a great many Republicans insane and her obvious unfitness for office was certainly a factor in Obama winning in '08. She quit being governor of Alaska because she was bored.

For those reasons I hope she does get the nomination. It'd be like running against Elmo. Elmo has lots of charisma but he's hardly Presidential material.

Palin may have the +4 Charisma bonus, arguably, but I'd say that running for President isn't a low-level campaign at all. So while that +4 stat bonus will be helpful, it's not gonna fly without a bunch of skill ranks. I suspect she's not taken that many points in things like Diplomacy or Knowledge [Policy], either out of choice, or because the classes and build she went for didn't offer a lot of skill points, or rewarded a different build than politician.

(Nerdy enough commentary there?)

Co-sign with chuchundra. Charisma needs to be backed up by something, especially with the intensity of a Presidential run. Also, the more people get to know Palin the less they like her. Even for her reality TV show, everyone went gaga over the first episode ratings, but by the 2nd it dropped by 44%. Not 100% on the number, but I think Palin has a 15% approval rating by the Republicans in Alaska...Republicans! Maybe it's because they don't like a quitter.

She is very charismatic to the 25% dead-enders, i.e. Republican base, that still approved of Bush at the end of his last term. Which is why she is making the speaking circuit and fundraisers. She is also very compelling to the "journalists" because they can do easy tabloid reporting and give it a veneer of "news".

Other than that, she really doesn't have much. I really wouldn't put her charisma on par with Reagan , Clinton, Kennedy, et all. Maybe it's just me though.

I'm still trying to figure out whether Doc's original post is serious or some kind of Geek vs Onion parody that a bunch of you fell for.

Having said that: Charisma or not, Palin's negatives are unsustainable. There are lots of scenarios under which she could win the GOBP primary with a small plurality, but pretty much none under which she wins the general.

Mock Balloon Juice all you want (not that they don't deserve it at times), but some months ago someone started a thread in which they posited Sarah as the quintessential Mean Girl, meaning women recognize it and won't vote for her, period. Being a guy, I only partly understand, but I'm willing to take the poster's word for it.

Also too, the starbursts are going to continue to ear off as she ages.

And then there's this:

http://www.doublex.com/blog/xxfactor/last-gasp-culture-wars

I'm in the camp tht sees Palin as charismatic although I find her disgusting. She does have a sparkel factor.

I really wish she would run for President because, sparkle or not, she wouldn't get elecrted. Too many people see thorough her already. She wouldn't be able to run exclusively on Faux interviews--which she can't ahndlemuch better than rfeal interviews. I mean who knew that North Korea was our ally?

But I don't think she wants to be President. It would be too much work. She'll keep pretending that she is going to run because that what keeps her grifter act afloat but in the end the last thing she wants is responsiblity.

"Clinton had and has his own ego issues, but Palin, unlike Clinton, is not a viable national candidate. She cannot withstand full blown, substantive exposure on a national level, day in and day out."

Compare to George Bush, Governor of Texas' credentials, what the Governor of Texas actually has power over and does, what Bush did and didn't do as governor, his mastery of substantive policy, and the rest while he was still a governor being talked of as a possible presidential candidate.

Compare to Palin's credentials, and discuss how and why she wouldn't be nominated by the Republican Party compared to why Bush was, and why the American people wouldn't vote for her, hypothetically, but would him.

I can argue both sides, of course. I think you can guess which I lean towards.

But since there are valid points to be made on both sides, I offer that, since I just got 3/4s of a box of clothing unpacked and put away, so this is my repayment to myself while resting.

Discuss or ignore.

She'll keep pretending that she is going to run because that what keeps her grifter act afloat but in the end the last thing she wants is responsiblity.

BINGO!!!

If US electoral politics were a role-playing game (and are you going to argue that it's not?), her Charisma would be +4: a perfect 18 out of 18.

Er... as someone who's been playing RPGs of various stripes for more than 20 years, I have to say no. Just, no.

There's two problems with both this analogy and its utility here. The first is that D&D and 1E AD&D are among the most unrealistic and oversimplified tabletop RPG systems in the history of the genre--so much so that it's nearly impossible to use its game mechanics to make any kind of useful point that isn't undermined by the superficiality of the game mechanics. If you're going to make an RPG analogy, about the only thing D&D and its descendants have to recommend them is pop culture familiarity.

The second is that even within the context of D&D itself, Palin would not have an 18 CHA. Charisma, in D&D, is an all-encompassing social stat that glosses over innate ability, appearance, and people skills of all varieties. Palin is reasonably good-looking, especially for a woman of her age. She is pretty good when it comes to the kind of cunning that lets you navigate politics. But she has a screechy voice, a large number of very polarizing verbal and behavioral tics, and almost no ability to relate with or persuade anyone who disagrees with her.

An 18 is a level of perfection that approaches the personal magnetism and persuasive abilities of someone like Martin Luther King. Obama or Bill Clinton might only rate a 16 or 17.

If I were to do this exercise with D&D, I'd probably map Palin's nationwide approval ratings with the probability curve of a stat check rolled on 3D6. These checks are usually done in D&D with a D20, but a single D20 has a completely flat distribution of success, whereas a 3D6 exhibits a bell curve with most of the outcomes more realistically in the middle, "normal" range.

Bear with me. This is going to be pseudo-scientific at best, but keep in mind we're making an analogy between national politics and D&D, here.

Palin's national approval rating hovers around the 30% range. Granted, a lot of the reason that's so low is because of the depth of the contempt for her from Democrats, but that matters: someone with a higher CHA would be able to overcome more of the ideological disagreement at least enough for there to be more respect for the person, if not the views.

For a 30% chance of success on a 3D6 CHA check, you need a 9 CHA, as there is approximately a 38% chance you'll roll a 9 or lower on 3D6. An 8 CHA would give you around a 26% chance of success, which I think is probably unfair to Palin. So she's got a base of 9. I'll add one to that to reflect her physical attractiveness--in fact, I'll spot her two whole CHA points for her looks, since that's a nontrivial factor in her popularity.

At an 11 CHA, you have a 63% chance of successfully passing an unmodified CHA check on 3D6. This dramatically overstates Palin's popularity, but it does better reflect the level of initial, face-value favorability she enjoyed and still enjoys among those who have only limited exposure to her and her views. It's also very close to what her approval rating was as Governor of Alaska before the 2008 election catapulted her to the national spotlight.

But an 11 is pretty mundane and average. So to be fair, I'll spot her an extra point or two to account for her raw political cunning and acumen, which--while often greatly exaggerated--is probably one of the few things that helped get her as far as she's come.

So at most, we're talking about a 13 CHA. She just does not have the kind of broad personal likability and persuasive ability to justify anything higher.

----

Now, with all that said, I need to clarify that D&D would be my absolute last choice for making any kind of analogy between game mechanics and real life. My preference would probably be for GURPS, which--while flawed in its own ways--does usefully distinguish between core attributes (CHA), natural talents (Advantages/Disads), and learned skills that are a function of the linked attribute and the level of experience or training, modified by any relevant ads/disads.

In GURPS terms, I'd give Palin a base CHA of 10. She would probably merit the Attractive advantage, which confers (IIRC) a +2 to reaction rolls from the opposite sex. She should probably also have at least one advantage that reflects her connections and personal fortune. I'd put at least four points into the Politics skill--perhaps even 8, to reflect the length of time she's been a political actor. Two points in Persuasion, 1 in Diplomacy, but at least 4 in Savoir Faire and probably a few in Intimidation and Manipulation.

And, yes, Brett Bellmore made some good points. This is one reason I read Brett, despite the fact that most of the time I don't think he's making good points.

(I'd read him for educational value if I didn't think I had a good handle on where he'll come out on most questions, and think so, among other reasons, because I've known a heck of a lot of people loosely the same model as Brett [just as we all have certain similarities to others, which we can very loosely categorize for some purposes], but I wouldn't assume, either.)

But automatically dismissing everything Brett says just because one disagrees with him most of the time, and one disrespects some of the ways he may express himself or think, doesn't mean he's wrong about everything, or doesn't have a valuable insight to offer at times.

It would probably be for the best if we all made a slight effort to turn down the dial on comments on other people's personalities and writing styles. It's a good general principle that I don't expect anyone, including myself, to make their top, or high, priority, but it's not a bad thing to pause now and again, and if there's any doubt, save a comment instead of hitting "post," and looking at your comment again in half an hour, and seeing if you still want to stand by it.

This is advice I'm writing as much or more to myself, you understand, than for anyone else. I've been trying to learn this lesson since 1995, and as you know, Bob, I've had limited success.

But: Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

@ Catsy

Undisputed winner for Geek Post of the Day.

And I'm still not sure that Doc Science was serious, and he isn't saying yet.


Bush was a better fake than Palin. He was much better at projecting a persona of a reasonable likeable person. Remember when the mask slipped and the nasty, spiteful, mean little Georgie exposed himself during the second debate against Kerry? Palin's problem is that she exposes herself everytime she opens her mouth, no matter what the venue. I mean when she has to be prompted by Glen Beck to correct an inaccuracy...

I think the Balloon Juicers are on to something with the Mean Girl analysis, too. Our culture does have different standards for what kind of behavior is admired in each gender. What might be perceived as forthright strongminded confidence in a man looks like shrill cattiness in a woman.
Lastly I think Palin's charisma works against her in the long run because it's too much a sex appeal kind of charisma. Our culture still tends to equate sexiness with dumbness, a linkage she reinforces.

The list of charismatic Presidennts was also a list of men with perceived gravitas. That's a winning combination! Americans seem to like their father/leader figures. A woman can combine charisma with gravitas, but not if the charisma is sexual and not if the woman behaves like the girl who didn't quite get elected Homecoming Queen because really no one likes her.

I think Doc Sci is a she. And, yeah, impressive one from Catsy (who's a he).

@ hairshirthedonist

As the father of a geek daughter, who has her own blog about video games, I should know better.

Apologies to any and all.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't really see Palin as being that much more attractive than other folks on the national stage. Certainly not to the point where it would sway my thinking about anything she said or did. She sure as hell is not more charming or engaging.

Different strokes, maybe.

What she brings to the table is an affirmation of people's resentment. People who think the country is being run by a bunch of out-of-touch elites who are looking down their noses at regular folks like them.

Those folks love Palin. They love her. They'd take a bullet for her, because they see her as their champion.

The thing that disturbs me the most about Palin is the degree to which that point of view -- that social and political mood -- has weight.

It doesn't bode well for there to be that many people in this country who either have cause to feel that disenfranchised, or to feel that they do.

Palin's a grifter, a narcissist, and an opportunist. On her own terms, I don't really give a crap about her either way.

The fact that she has an audience is very disturbing to me.

@ russell

The fact that she has an audience is very disturbing to me.

And also, all-too-typically American, historically.

Compare to Palin's credentials, and discuss how and why she wouldn't be nominated by the Republican Party compared to why Bush was, and why the American people wouldn't vote for her, hypothetically, but would him.

This.

Thanks, Gary. I really haven't come across an "insurmountable" negative attributed to Palin that couldn't just as easily have been attributed to GWB.

As time goes on I feel like I understand less and less about the American political system, but there's a couple of things I'm quite certain of: (1) we've come nowhere near to "hitting bottom" yet; (2) never say never.

I think Palin has a very strong chance of being our next president.

It...disturbs me...that many people in this country .. [think the country is being run by a bunch of out-of-touch elites]

What disturbs me is the fact that, to some extent, these people are absolutely right - 'out of touch' in the sense that said elites don't give a rats arse about them. It's secondarily disturbing that their wrath is focused on people with more education and/or expertise rather than those with money and power. Loving Palin is practically an admission of powerlessness, hopelessness. Many of her devotees know, deep down, that she probably won't be president or anything else, but just like being slightly disruptive of a system they feel utterly alienated from.

In my days of hanging out with regular LP libertarians - pretty similar to today's tea partiers, albeit less religious - I saw this same basic attitude many many times. When I'd ask why they don't support concrete proposals - large or small - which would clearly be beneficial to them, the answer was always essentially the same: people like me are screwed no matter what; rather than try to forestall disaster, it's better to prepare for it as if it's already happened. So, I'd say, if you see a fire burning in your garden, you think it's better to run and put on your elaborate fire suit and claw your way to the roof than to grab water and put the fire out? Blank stares. Don't I get it? It's too late!

It's pure fantasy born of real despair, or at least real emptiness. It's not a proud, civic-minded refusal to back down; it is capitulation itself. It's also a huge cop out quite a bit of the time - apocalypse, unlike the real world most of the time, is simple and entertaining - but not an unmotivated one.

Undisputed winner for Geek Post of the Day.

Which verged on tl;dr, but I suppose that in and of itself is inherently geeky in some way. :)

I think Palin has a very strong chance of being our next president.

While I think the chances of that are nonzero, I think "strong" is overstating things a bit.

Yes, on some level you can compare Palin's negatives with Shrub's and come out with some kind of equivalency that gives her just as much of a shot as he had, the differences are important ones.

Bush:
1. Came from a powerful, dynastic political family, and had a recent former president for a father.
2. Was largely unknown outside of his state before the election, but didn't suffer from lack of name rec due to sharing a name with his father.
3. Had the backing of the GOP establishment and machine.
4. Had a team--and a veep pick--filled with a who's who of the last few decades of Republican administrations.
5. Was not a woman. As pathetic as it is, that matters.
6. Ran against an uninspiring Democratic ticket, and still lost the election--the perfidy of the SCOTUS notwithstanding.
7. Ran in an open election with no incumbent.

Palin:
1. Comes from a family notable primarily for tabloid headlines, not political power.
2. Has tremendous name recognition--most of it bad. Most people know who she is, and most of those who do don't like her.
3. Has the GOP establishment and machine already mobilized--against her.
4. Has no team beyond herself, Todd and a handful of demonstrably ineffective advisers--and little chance of picking up any respected GOP names willing to hitch their wagon to her Quixotic presidential bid.
5. Is female. This actually matters to a nontrivial portion of the GOP base; it will cost her some votes she can't afford to lose.
6. Will be running against a charismatic Democrat with a demonstrated ability to campaign and inspire people.
7. Will be challenging an incumbent president.

It's conceivable that she could get the nomination, particularly since the teabagger demographic loves her and they've demonstrated an ability to sway GOP primary elections.

But it would take either a spectacularly improable implosion on Obama's part or a credible third-party challenge from Obama's left in order to get her anywhere near winning. And even then it's a long shot.

I think it was me who made the Balloon Juice connection, and I just want to say that it wasn't to mock them, I love the place, but my time zone and the rough and tumble of the comments prevents me participating. My invoking the BJ scale just shows that I never took to gaming to any great way rather than any disdain for the place

And I meant to add, fair points, jonnybutter and all, but I'm still not comfortable with the notion people hate Palin because she is charismatic because that implies that the people who hate her are as easily duped as the ones who love her.

I'd say that Obama is more of a +3/-4. The people who like him don't gush all that much, but those that don't LOATHE him.

I think 'strong' chance is maybe overstating it, but I would worry that it isn't nearly as unthinkable as I might wish.

The thing that worries me is that if the economy doesn't recover, any Republican who is better than Sharon Angle (who almost won, remember) will win, because economic state trumps personality. And Palin could conceivably be the any Republican.

efgoldman asked if my post was "serious". I'm not quite sure what counts as "serious", given that we live in a world in which the White House Secretary is frequently asked to respond to Sarah Palin's Facebook posts.

I'm serious, though, that I think Palin has a *lot* of charisma. I did notice what someotherdude pointed out, that Palin's Christian denomination is one where *all* kinds of charisma are likely to be encouraged, developed, and selected for.

I'm also serious that about being very, *very* afraid of someone who can command such levels of devotion and who is IMHO clearly a Double High authoritarian.

I'm serious that I don't think she could win in 2012, but that she could be horrifically effective in 2016.

So what kind of serious do you mean?

And just for the record, efg, for quite a while I assumed you were female, because of Emma.

"You nailed it exactly - that's EXACTLY how I felt about Bill Clinton (smarmy, in particular, is the word). I separated out policy, but I had to overcome that personal, visceral dislike."

Something like that. I like to say that, the first time I heard him speak, my "BS" meter pegged itself, and exploded in a shower of sparks. That "I'm laughing at you, and you morons think I'm laughing with you!" chuckle drove me over the edge. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDtcyVbPvC4>The Ron Brown funeral, where he went from laughing to crying in under two seconds, when he spotted the camera. He just instantly struck me as massively insincere, and no, not even able to fake it.

And, yeah, I found just reading what he'd said made the loathing go away. It was his mannerisms. It's now my unvarying policy to *read* all political materials.

The Bush/Palin comparison is really facile and actually quite silly if you think about it for more than a few minutes.

Those of us in the liberal elite liked to paint Dubya as dumb, but he was never dumb. He was a sharp and savvy political operator. It possible that something happened to him during his term; The 2008 Bush certainly appeared to be considerably less mentally aware than the 2000 Bush, but even still, he could sit down for an interview or answer unscripted questions without looking like a complete idiot.

Go Google for video of Bush's 1994 debate with Anne Richards, then go watch some of Palin's interview with Katie Couric. It's just painful. Even Dan Quayle, who we all loved to make fun of, went on TV the day after he got the Veep nod and didn't make a complete fool of himself.

Moreover, no serious politician up and quits their elected office for no good reason. Palin's resignation from the AK Governorship pretty much disqualifies her from any role in the political process except as cheerleader or sh-t stirrer.

Something like that. I like to say that, the first time I heard him speak, my "BS" meter pegged itself, and exploded in a shower of sparks. That "I'm laughing at you, and you morons think I'm laughing with you!" chuckle drove me over the edge.

Are you from the northeast (as I am) ? The "good ol' boy charm," I think, to a northeasterner, sounds like dumb bullshit, but I think to the rest of the country sounds compelling. With Bush, though, I could see the rich fratboy underneath the "good ol' boy" veneer, and having grown up an upper-middle-class northeast private school kid myself learned to loath that type.

And, yeah, I found just reading what he'd said made the loathing go away. It was his mannerisms. It's now my unvarying policy to *read* all political materials.

This reminds me of the classic book by Oliver Sacks The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat where he has an aphasic, who cannot interpret language but can derive meaning from body language and tone, and an agnosiac, who can only understand the "text" of what someone is saying. Neither can make any sense of Reagan: the body language is all out of whack and comes across as insincere, while the actual spoken words of the president don't hold together any coherent meaning. It's only in the combination of the two that allowed Reagan to charm: we "filled in the blanks" where the body language and tone filled in for the lack of coherent language and vice versa.

The Sacks story is worth re-reading, and here, in all the interwubs copyright busting glory, it is.

"And I'm still not sure that Doc Science was serious"

Why?

"Bush was a better fake than Palin. He was much better at projecting a persona of a reasonable likeable person."

Is there an objective measure of this that you're pointing to, or are you suggesting that everyone has identical responses as to who is likeable and ahow much?

Objective measures would be great, but otherwise I'm unclear on what basis one might speak for more than one's self as to who is and isn't likeable, hateful, or otherwise determine that, in fact, these are not subjective responses.

"The Bush/Palin comparison is really facile and actually quite silly if you think about it for more than a few minutes."

Thanks!

Catsy's response struck me as a bit more persuasive, however.

"Those of us in the liberal elite liked to paint Dubya as dumb, but he was never dumb. He was a sharp and savvy political operator."

What means do you suggest Sarah Palin used to become Governor of Alaska, and where she is today?

Secondarily, was there an election in the liberal elite recently appointing a spokesperson? I'm not clear if it's a matter of my not being sufficiently liberal, elite, or merely having missed that the wrapper contained a TOS in which I authorized someone else to speak for "us" on. But we may be mistaken, in which case that makes us in the liberal elite consider whether we are now suffering from multiple personality disorder.

We confuse easily, those of us in the liberal elite. We even think we're as entitled to hold a different opinion as the rest of us are, but we're really really confused about this, as we're finding something paradoxical in this.

We might appreciate help from ourselves. Or we may not. What do we think?

"The Sacks story is worth re-reading, and here, in all the interwubs copyright busting glory, it is."

Or you could read the legal version, with the full essay included, and much more.

On the substance, although it's been such a long time, I recall that I had the exact same response to this passage that I have again:

What she then found she had to do was to pay extreme attention to exactness of words and word use, and to insist that those around her did just the same. She could less and less follow loose speech or slang - speech of an allusive or emotional kind - and more and more required of her interlocutors that they speak prose - 'proper words in proper places'. Prose, she found, might compensate, in some degree; for lack of perceived tone or feeling.
We call that "writing well."

I'm not saying I do it, but I don't lack ability to differentiate precise language from careless language.

"What she then found she had to do was to pay extreme attention to exactness of words and word use, and to insist that those around her did just the same."

Why, it's almost like dealing with editors, writers, and other people whose profession requires them to pay such attention, and who therefore sometimes find themselves frustrated with those who do not.

This is presented as abnormal, but try explaining this to any set of professional editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, or many writers, and can I watch, please?

[...] In this way she was able to preserve, even enhance, the use of 'expressive' speech - in which the meaning was wholly given by the apt choice and reference of words - despite being more and more lost with 'evocative' speech (where meaning is wholly given in the use and sense of tone).
Again, the only way a writer can invoke "tone" is with "words." How, exactly, otherwise are writers supposed to communicate, and convey tone?

No, I'm not expecting Oliver Sacks to pop up to comment. But I never did get to write down my response to this bit the first time I read it.

Obviously aphasia is not identical to being a bad and careless writer, but since he's identifying the characteristics of anyone who cares about good writing, I can't help but be struck by the implication that, somehow, vocal communication is all that exists between people.

If you think this is true, you can't be reading this, and you couldn't have made sense of Sack's piece, because where in it was he conveying his tone without words?

[...] 'He is not cogent,' she said. 'He does not speak good prose. His word-use is improper. Either he is brain- damaged, or he has something to conceal.'
I'm missing how this differs from the way most everyone I've grown up knowing, or since meeting, who works as a careful writer, or editor, responds in my experience. The first thing any writer or editor or careful reader will react to when reading is bad prose and poor usage. Duh.

"Any" is too strong; "most."

Clinton and Palin are currently the most-admired women in America.

God help us.

Why?

Because Palin is a totally incompetent embarrassment to politics, a laughingstock without any substance whatsoever. If large parts of the US public cannot see that and in fact view her as a charismatic political leader, well, then - god help us.

I'm missing how this differs from the way most everyone I've grown up knowing, or since meeting, who works as a careful writer, or editor, responds in my experience.

Gary, I think that the person in question needed people to speak as if they were reading well written prose. Asking someone to speak in the way that you expect a careful writer to present edited and proofread text is really asking a lot, I think.

The thing that worries me is that if the economy doesn't recover, any Republican who is better than Sharon Angle (who almost won, remember) will win, because economic state trumps personality. And Palin could conceivably be the any Republican.

And so could Huckabee, who would likely be every bit as substantively awful as Palin once in office, but who has the advantage of being adored by the Beltway media. Frankly, that to me is a more likely scenario than Palin winning: Huckabee positions himself as a "reasonable" alternative to Palin, and succeeds.

("C'mon, he's been on Jon Stewart -- how bad can he be?")

To expand a little on the example of Hitler.
He hated the telephone and disliked to give radio speeches because he feared that he could not work his magic on people without being seen and seeing them, able to react*.
On the other hand, watch Hitler doing a public speech with the sound turned off. It's cheesy pantomime**. But the combination somehow worked on millions.
Palin seems to be unable to control her tendency to shriek (not the right word, I mean a dissonant sharpness without getting loud) where one expects the next thing will be a call to the mob in front of her to go out and get violent.

*Can't support it with hard facts but I also get the impression that he avoided shouting in audio-only speeches, keeping his voice below the level where it turns rasping.
**he took acting lessons and practiced in front of a mirror.

Gary, if it's objective data you're looking for, I invite you to example the current polling on Palin vis favorable/unfavorable and compare them to Dubya's numbers in the run up to the 2008 election. Dubya Bush fooled a lot more people for a lot longer period of time. Like Casey Stengel would say, "You could look it up".

As to Palin's "success" in Alaska, I would simply state that AK is one of the least populous states in the nation. It has roughly the same number of people as Charlotte, NC. Its people and political culture might be reasonbly described as idiosyncratic. While you certainly have to give her credit for winning, I doubt that that particular talent translates well to running a national campaign.

As for her current success, I wouldn't attribute much of that to her own, personal abilities. She was plucked from semi-oblivion by a desperate, old man, feted by Fox news and the rest of the right-wing noise machine and consequently adored by a large subset of the Republican faithful due to her personal attractiveness and her willingness to play the wingnut game to the hilt.

Certainly you have to give her credit for maximizing the value of her sudden celebrity, but most of her success is due to forces beyond her control. She didn't catapult herself into the national spotlight.

Again, the comparison of Bush and Palin is facile. It's superficial and lazy. Their only similarities are the layer of fake, corn pone personality and a willingness to do whatever it takes to get ahead.

Bush went to Yale and Harvard. He parlayed his political connections into a personal fortune. He had extensive experience working in a presidential campaigns. He served a term and a half as Governor of the third biggest state in the nation.

Palin bumped around four different colleges before graduating for U of Idaho with a BA in communications. She was a small town mayor and the Governor of a sparsely populated state...and she couldn't do either of those jobs semi-competently.

As to my election as Commissar of the liberal elite, I'm sorry that nobody told you. The election happened while you were in transit and somebody was supposed to send you an email.

@ Doctor Science
And just for the record, efg, for quite a while I assumed you were female, because of Emma.

She was dead before I was born.
And my screen name isn't even close to my real name. I have a long association with band music, and all of the Sousa variants I could think of, when we got AOL in the mid-90s, were taken.

@ Doctor Science
So what kind of serious do you mean?
@ Gary Farber
"And I'm still not sure that Doc Science was serious"

Why?
I'm always afraid of being too expansive in a blog comment. Plus there's the voice in the back of my head that says "these are all sensible people; of course they'll understand my frame of reference."
Wrong.

So a longish explanation:
I'm not a gamer, never have been. Never played d&d, or civil war board games, or any of that; don't own or play any video games now.
Analogy (which I assumed all would understand. Gotta' get over that!): I've been a baseball fan since primary school. I used to sit and score TV games (not for decades); collected an traded cards, read box scores, watched network games of the week in the old days, and Braves, Cubs, Mets and (ick) Yankees games when we got cable in the early 1980s.
I was fascinated by sabremetrics in the early 1980s, too. I didn't (and don't) understand the math, computer programming or stats involved. But when Bill James and his merry men started debunking conventional wisdom and redefining who were the good players, and why, I could see and understand what they were talking about, because I understood the game!
If The Onion put out a parody of a Baseball Abstract, I could recognize that, too, for the same reason.

Now comes Doc Science, with political commentary based on games formulas. Lots of you understand it, I think. I don't. I perhaps should have stayed out of the thread for that reason. But anyway, that's why I wasn't sure whether the original post was serious, or something along the lines of the Ig-nobel awards or The Journal of Irreproducable Results.

Meanwhile, hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Pats won (after starting horribly), my racist, alcoholic, gun-totin' brother in law was mellow (for him) and we survived mother-in-law's without an argument (a win). I have to work tomorrow, I'll be the only one in my group, but we don't expect to be busy (not in retail).

LJ:

Gary, I think that the person in question needed people to speak as if they were reading well written prose. Asking someone to speak in the way that you expect a careful writer to present edited and proofread text is really asking a lot, I think.
I'm writing with insomnia, so with apologies for being short: I was obviously unclear as to what I meant to write, because I agree with both your above statements.

But I'm too tired to right now go back and check what I wrote.

He hated the telephone and disliked to give radio speeches because he feared that he could not work his magic on people without being seen and seeing them, able to react
Thus Joseph Goebbels doing as much of the radio as possible.

I've reread everything here several times over the years, because you can't truly understand how propaganda works without intense study of the masters, and most importantly those who are most successful and whom you most loath and despise.

Thus I knew I'd been on Facebook too long now when my first impulse upon scanning Dr. Science's post was to click "Like," and I've wanted to do so for a bunch of comments by a bunch of folks, above, and you can probably figure out which ones from what I've just written.

If not, I'll try to be less cryptic next time I pop back.

"and consequently adored by a large subset of the Republican faithful due to her personal attractiveness and her willingness to play the wingnut game to the hilt."

I wouldn't neglect the enjoyment we get out of watching liberals blow a gasket every time they see her. She's worth it for that entertainment value alone. For President? I think I'd prefer Bobby Jindal, but none of the potential candidates for 2012 exactly fill me with enthusiasm.

I wouldn't neglect the enjoyment we get out of watching liberals blow a gasket every time they see her

One should not discount the perception that something or another "makes liberals mad" as a motivator for just about most republican beliefs and behaviors. It's a ideology rooted in soot and resentment. And generally right wingers will try to retroactively justify their stupidity claiming that the REAL reason they do it is because it "pisses off liberals." And if there's one thing that poises me off, it's when resentful, spiteful people set themselves on fire.

Brett: "I wouldn't neglect the enjoyment we get out of watching liberals blow a gasket every time they see her."

To me, resentment explains so much of the right's attitude (the masses, not the elites). Somebody once said that the majority of the people on the right would be happy living in a cardboard box under a bridge, cooking a rat on a coat hanger wire over a trashcan fire, so long as their neighbors didn't have a rat.

More and more, I think that that somebody was right.

I wouldn't neglect the enjoyment we get out of watching liberals blow a gasket every time they see her. She's worth it for that entertainment value alone.

The really astounding thing about this statement is that Brett probably has no idea just how pathetic and puerile this statement makes him look.

Along with what Tyro and Barry said, this really strikes me as a perfect example of the intellectual bankruptcy of the right. It's a common sentiment among right-wing bloggers, and it's a self-delusion I hope they hang onto as long as possible, because it means they'll continue supporting Palin and her ongoing embarrassment to the Republican brand long after her sell-by date, simply because they've convinced themselves that she pisses off or scares liberals.

Hint: the only thing that scares us about Palin is the thought of the damage she'd do to the country in the unlikely event she ever achieved public office again. Beyond that, she's merely an object of justifiable ridicule, contempt, and mockery.

I swear, it would be like liberals all rallying behind Alvin Greene and making him a hero simply because the right mocked him. Just incomprehensible behavior from anyone who's no longer in high school.

I wouldn't neglect the enjoyment we get out of watching liberals blow a gasket every time they see her.

Enjoy yourself.

In my case, "blow a gasket" translates to "sends money to liberal candidates".

But whatever floats your boat.

One should not discount the perception that something or another "makes [people] mad" as a motivator for just about most [human] beliefs and behaviors.

Russell to Brett:

[...] I wouldn't neglect the enjoyment we get out of watching liberals blow a gasket every time they see her.

Enjoy yourself.

I found that statement of Brett's a useful data point/calibration marker; I think it's an entirely self-accurate appraisal by Brett, and accurate as regards a plentitude of U.S. voters.

I'm quite sure Brett was offering that statement as analysis, not brag, and I think it's acute.

Catsy:

[...] The really astounding thing about this statement is that Brett probably has no idea just how pathetic and puerile this statement makes him look.
Disagree.

Will place one penny bet, though, of course, neither of us knows whether his response will be distorted by mine.

I can only tell you that I have yet to have any private communications with Brett Bellmore, best as my memory suggests at the moment. Best as I recall at this moment, it's almost all taken place on ObWi comments, and the handful of exceptions have been in public comments on other blogs.

Question for liberals from a liberal: Have any of you found that when liberal baiting fails to get a rise the baiter becomes outraged or offended at your "condescension"?

One should not discount the perception that something or another "makes [people] mad" as a motivator for just about most [human] beliefs and behaviors.

Recent studies have shown that over 60% of everything I do is motivated by spite.


Recent studies have shown that over 60% of everything I do is motivated by spite.
Displaced irritation or worse is the cause of much human behavior.

This increases when people are not face to face, or otherwise self-aware, and aware of the problems inherent in written communication, and/or how much irritation or worse is the actual cause and/or trigger.

Recent studies have shown that over 60% of everything I do is motivated by spite.
Displaced irritation or worse is the cause of much human behavior.

This increases when people are not face to face, or otherwise self-aware, and aware of the problems inherent in written communication, and/or how much irritation or worse is the actual cause and/or trigger.

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