On my way out the door at work, the newspaper dispensers display the very liberal Concord Monitor (edited by a cousin of mine from the A&H side of the family), and the very conservative Manchester Union Leader. Their headlines often spin the same news different ways, and this is usually about all the newspaper reading I get in a week.
Today the headlines were remarkably similar “Obama Fever Grips NH,” and “Rapturous Reception For Obama.” My first comment, paraphrased from a cynical liberal at a leftie blog. “Can we observe how he responds to one minor crisis before we elect him president?” Amen, brother.
The breathless excitement is not something common to Republicans, and not always to Democrats. The swooning and heavy breathing were part of the Clinton campaigns, particularly the first, and of course the JFK election. It was present to a lesser extent in the first Carter campaign. No one was swooning, but the man’s likeability was a big selling point here in NH.
It was quite the opposite in the Kerry, Gore, and Dukakis campaigns. Democrats seem to have chosen them more for ideology and a perception of competence than because they were enthused. They complained in some distress, in fact, about how unlikeable the candidates were, and how much it hurt their chances.
Republicans seem to show less variation. They have put forth candidates who were likeable enough, but described more as “amiable” than “charismatic.” No swooning. Dole was seen as an amiable guy, and that’s certainly what one would think of Ford, Reagan, and both Bushes. The GOP requires that candidates have likeability, but are not defined by it. I don’t know what to make of this difference between the parties. Or how Nixon slipped by it. Maybe he was more amiable than I remember, because I was a media-dependent leftie during his presidency.