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Yglesias & Allen



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Matt Yglesias mentions my Allen cover story in this (typically sharp) post, and argues that Allen just might be too similar to Bush for anyone’s comfort. It’s a good point, one in fact that I made myself:


Allen’s persona has always helped him politically, as he has seemed more down-to-earth, more real, more vivid than his opponents, but in an ‘08 race he might seem too similar to Bush at a time when even Republicans might be suffering, after eight years, from Bush fatigue. There is the same sports background, good-ol’-boy persona, seeming lack of reflectiveness. His posture vis-à-vis Bush will, in general, be a puzzle for Allen.

After the Bush years, GOP Washington — fat, happy, unprincipled — could use a good populist scouring. Allen would ordinarily be just the man to deliver it. But he’s part of Washington, making his favored role of a reformist outsider more difficult to play. “He hates being the incumbent,” says an Allen observer. “And he hasn’t done anything in the Senate that is anti-establishment.”

Of course, it’s early, and we don’t know how people will be feeling about Bush in late ‘07 and early ‘08. Also, it’s important to remember those aspects of Allen (and Bush) that drive East Coast journalist-types crazy–in Allen’s case, football, NASCAR, cowboy boots, Copenhagen–aren’t the least bit unusual in most of the rest of the country. I think Allen is one of the best one-on-one politicians in America, and it’s easy to imagine him thriving in the retail environments of Iowa and New Hampshire. Insiders who know him realize that, which is why he has had such good early ‘08 buzz, even if his national name ID is low.



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