Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Obama-Romney matchup won’t have rage, but they need to tap into rage to win

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“Rage against the machine. Vote for Newt. Annoy a liberal. Vote for Newt.”
— Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin occasionally makes a good point. It’s never a whole point, but an occasional gem within piles of zirconium. After all, many liberals would love for Republicans to vote for Newt Gingrich in the primary.

For those who do want to “rage against the machine,” whether they come from the political left or the right, you don’t have that many options.

Ron Paul satisfies some “rage,” and you have to think that independents and some Democratic folk are voting for Paul because of the ongoing status quo. The teabaggers are expressing their “rage” by voting for Newt, though Santorum is more like them than we can imagine. Yet Santorum isn’t being taken seriously as a presidential candidate from the people who should love him.

If you are a Democratic supporter, and upset about the lack of movement toward an improved economy, if you wonder when the hell Obamacare will finally come to your house (2014? Maybe?), you have two options. We didn’t say they were good options.

— Vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden in November, and hope the Dems take back the House and somehow hang on to the Senate.

— Sit out the 2012 election.

As distasteful as the first option might be, the 2nd option really isn’t a good idea, even if you are upset at the “machine.” If the Republicans get in charge of everything, you will more rage and fewer options to express them.

If we end up with a Barack Obama-Mitt Romney matchup, “rage” will not be on the menu for either candidate. Obama is cool, almost too cool. A recent comedic example from Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele amplifies this point.

In their new Comedy Central show, “Key and Peele,” Peele plays President Obama and Key acts out the emotion behind the cool, calm president. Peele is the cool cucumber and Key is excited and angry. Often, Obama supporters would like to see a little more Key and a little less Peele.

The lack of “rage” in the mainstream campaign does open the door for a third candidate. The particulars of how that third-party candidate will run — small technicalities. After all, who needs organization when you can just “rage against the machine”?

The assumption is that a rage candidate hurts Romney and helps Obama. This is mostly true, but the president’s re-election team should factor in rage on both sides of the political spectrum. Rage is real and will play a role in the 2012 presidential race; ignore it at your peril.


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