"That's because the very issues that Democrats say make her a political risk -- her newness to the political world stage, her anti-choice stance, her opposition to gay marriage, her support of capital punishment, her disregard for the environment -- matter very little in determining the outcome of elections. Voters -- some of whom dissect policy issues daily, but most of whom don't -- ultimately cast their ballots based on emotion. Not logic. Not knowledge of "the issues.""
When I read this I think of people, like my mom, who don't read much about issues, but who watch the nightly news and the "talking heads" on Fox etc. and take what they say as the gospel about candidates. She "just knows" that she doesn't like certain candidates, but cannot really tell you why. She doesn't like Obama's wife, but can not give specific details about what makes her feel this way.
"In 2004, John Kerry was the champion debater. He was sharp, focused, intelligent. He could call B.S. on George W. Bush and poke holes in nearly any of his arguments. But he was also stiff. He seemed cool and disconnected, not just because of his body language but also because of his words. His policy prescriptions, detailed as they were, didn't connect with his audience. Four years after hearing him speak, I can only recall that, on an intellectual level, I agreed with his points. But I don't remember what he said. His words didn't resonate with me. They didn't stick with me in my gut.
Bush, on the other hand, was the dunce. He wore a goofy smile and dodged questions in each debate. But he was the man people could imagine having a beer with. He drew crowds in with his drawl, spoke in a simple, unintimidating way, and so could get away with covering up four years of abysmal domestic and foreign policy. I probably disagreed with 99 percent of what Bush said, but I can at least remember some of his talking points. He said he worked hard and promised to work hard for American families. He said he understood American families. He said he would protect American families.
Was that a load of bull? Of course. But it sure was delivered in pretty packaging. And, most importantly, it made a large number of voters feel good."
You can see some this in the large numbers that turn out for the Obama concerts that end up actually crying at his mere appearance, they want to feel good and they are so overcome with emotion that this becomes their voting mantra. Drew Weston, from Emory University, is a clinical, personality & political psychologist who has studied this phenomenon and written a book about it; "The Political Brain:The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation."
"(T)he vision of mind that has captured the imagination of philosophers, cognitive scientists, economists, and political scientists since the eighteenth century -- a dispassionate mind that makes decisions by weighing the evidence and reasoning to the most valid conclusions -- bears no relation to how the mind and brain actually work," Westen writes. "When campaign strategists start from this vision of mind, their candidates typically lose."
I think that Timothy Egan, of the NY Times, summed it up best when he said," Palin brings a bit of the "Legally Blonde" aspect to the race -- you underestimate her at your peril."