Drew Westen, the super smart American political scientist who wrote for The Spectator a few weeks back, has extracts of his new book on why leaders need to connect on an emotional as well as intellectual level in G2 today.
Westen makes a good case; there’s no doubt that much of the Republicans’ electoral success since 1968 can be chalked up to their superior ability to connect with voters on a gut level. But Westen goes too far when he suggests that Gore would have stood a better chance of being elected president if he had hit back during the 2000 debates when Bush questioned his honesty and called Bush a coward, a drunk, a crook, and a disgrace to his family, his state and his country.
This would have been a high-risk strategy and resulted in a landslide one way or the other. Maybe, now with people having soured so thoroughly on Bush it would be effective. But in 2000, it wouldn’t have chimed with how the electorate saw Bush. Instead, Gore would have looked intemperate, desperate even. Just imagine how the electorate here would react if Brown unleashed a similar barrage on David Cameron at PMQs.