Monday, July 13, 2009

Conventional wisdom

Well one out of two ain’t bad. Both Jeff Fecke and Robin Marty have written recent posts about how, in the context of the Entenza campaign for governor, conventional wisdom is always conventional, but much less often wise.

Jeff provides a litany of many of the nuggets of conventional wisdom gone wrong in state and national politics since 1990:

In 1990, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party put forth a sacrificial lamb for the United States Senate. The feisty college professor was entertaining, and the base loved him, but he obviously couldn’t beat the firmly entrenched and well-liked Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, I-R-Minn.

And the list goes on, and on, and on. Jeff has a great example of the failure of the conventional wisdom in politics for almost every year from then until now. It’s a delicious trip down memory lane. Every supporter of an “inevitable” candidate should print out a copy of this post and tape it to to the refrigerator.

Robin picks a single analogy for comparison: the early Hillary Clinton race for president in the last election cycle.

I'd been working on this post ever since Fecke put up his Entenza piece, because I see a lot of parallels between Matt Entenza and the early Clinton campaign. Both candidates were seen as early on favorites due to finances, name recognition, and, in some ways, by this weird political idea of "it's my turn." Both candidates had extremely high positives, but for those who didn't like them, they REALLY didn't like them. Both have done things in campaigns that weren't necessarily officially unethical, but could be seen by their dissenters and coming dangerously near the line if not crossing it. Both were running early, long campaigns at a time when, let's be honest, a democrat really should have an excellent chance to win.

Couple these facts with the spectacular explosion and flame out of the 2006 Entenza campaign for attorney general, and it would be — in the words of one of Spot’s friends — mass ritual suicide to just annoint Matt Entenza the DFL candidate now.

No way; ain’t gonna happen.

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