The Fun Indicator

I recall that during the Reagan campaign in 1980, Nancy Reagan would “bowl” an orange down the aisle of the campaign plane on takeoff. Ronald Reagan would sometimes take part, and occasionally throw an orange down the aisle. The Washington Post reported at the time:

Each time the campaign plane roars upward from a runway, Mrs. Reagan assumes a position in the center aisle at the head of the plane. Looking as competitive as a professional athlete who has thousands of dollars riding on the next shot, the 57-year-old former actress carefully bowls an orange down the steeply banked aisle and watches intently to see if the missile can travel all the way to the plane’s rear door without running astray amid the seats and bulkheads.

If she succeeds, Mrs. Reagan smiles broadly and graciously accepts the laughs, whistles and shouts of approval from her fellow travelers. But if the orange smashes midway into a foot or briefcase or seat, she calls for another and tries again — sometimes half a dozen times — until she hits the mark.

This came back to me as I read a note this morning from Republican political consultant Alex Castellanos posted at CNN, where he suggests that the candidate/campaign that is having the most fun will win.  Call it the “fun indicator” of presidential politics. After telling a long story about how he learned this lesson (worth taking in at the link if you have time), Castellanos notes:

Which returns us to a reflection that should scare all of us in Washington’s GOP establishment, as noted in an interview conducted by Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press.”

Donald Trump is having a lot of fun, isn’t he?

More than anyone else.

Yup. And conversely, does anyone think the Hillary Clinton campaign is much fun to be around? And Bernie Sanders? Probably as much fun as an alcohol-free union local meeting.

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