Tuesday, September 04, 2007


"Everyday Normal"...Politician

Pardon the cynicism that occasionally seeps into my viewpoint after having spent about ten years in Washington. However, it's hard to ignore it after seeing Fred Thompson adviser Mary Matalin's performance on Meet The Press this past Sunday.

Matalin used variations of the word "normal" (or phrase "normal person") no less than seven times while responding to various Russert questions on the issues of the moment.

Normal people, when the husband cheats on the wife, the wife does not consider the politics before she gives a response on this. Normal people out there did just what James just referenced, they looked at Mrs. Craig, and I remember looking at Lee Hart and through the years this—these poor suffering families. The first thing normal people thinks are—think are, “What? Is—this is a family tragedy.” The second thing they think is, “Why is everybody in Washington glued to this? And can’t—and don’t you guys have something better to do?” And thirdly, I didn’t listen to the tape, I didn’t watch any of this, but the people that I talked to are not particularly Craig fans, or critics, said, “That sounds like entrapment. Don’t the cops have better things to do than tap dance in bathrooms in the airport?” I’m just telling you the normal person view at the end of all...
I thought it a litle odd: Mary Matalin -- "Miss Normal"? I mean, she was an RNC chief of staff, campaign manager for Bush I's re-election, special adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney -- and married to James Carville (with whom she shared the MTP set on Sunday). Oh, yeah, she's "normal." Indeed, Bob Shrum even called her on it: "Mary, I love you, but you are not actually the ideal spokesman for the average person in America."

Then it occurred to me: Each campaign tries to sum up its particular effort in one or two words. For Hillary Rodham Clinton, it's "experience"; for Barack Obama, it's "change"; for Rudy Giuliani, it's "security"; Mitt Romney can probably be assessed as "competence."

Oh, of course! "Normal" must be the Thompson campaign's "brand" for its big unveiling this week. He wants to be the
"everyday normal" candidate.:

Thompson will announce his White House bid Wednesday night on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” after skipping a Republican debate in New Hampshire.

“There have been a million debates already and there are going to be a million more,” Harris said. “And people are going to see Fred Thompson out there, mixing it up with the other candidates, mixing it up with the media, engaging the voters. They are going to see months and months and months of that.”

In the meantime, Harris said, “it makes a lot of sense” for Thompson to appear on the Leno show instead of the GOP debate because the candidate will reach “everyday normal Americans who don’t live in the 202 area code.” [Emphasis added.]
"Everyday normal," eh?

In response to Shrum's charge that she was hardly the "average" voter, Matalin said she was doing "school orientation" like a "normal" mom, while the guys on MTP were focusing on politics. Right. It's pretty obvious that Mary was collecting her talking points on how to make sure the right code word was pushed into the ether as actor-politician Thompson unveils his new fall "series": The plot is about a "normal" guy who -- after a few years as an actor playing a district attorney -- decides to run for president. And, yes, like most "normal" actors who run for office, he makes his announcement on a late-night talk show.

And they wonder why we all get so cynical?

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