The family ordeal as campaign theme

This Washington Post story describes how Dick Gephardt is trying to win votes by telling personal stories about his family — the son who almost died from cancer, a daughter struggling to make ends meet as a teacher, another daughter who is gay, his father the milk truck driver, etc. Gephardt, of course, is picking up where Al Gore left off. And just as Gore lied about his reaction to his sister’s death from lung cancer (claiming that he decided to fight the tobacco interests whereas, in fact, he continued to accept their campaign money), I understand that Gephardt has embellished his tales about the hardship suffered by his daugther the teacher.
But the portion of the Post’s story that grabbed me is the discussion of the fact that Republicans — think of Reagan and Bush I and II — generally don’t engage in this sort of “self-revelation.” According to Democratic operative and former Gore adviser Carter Eskew “Republicans don’t care about connecting with voters. They’re more comfortable running on their agenda.” The second sentence may be true. However, I would amend the first sentence to say that “Republicans have too much dignity to exploit their families in this way” or “Republicans don’t care about connecting with saps.”


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