YOU THINK YOU’RE SO SMART, DON’T YOU?….James Joyner expresses mild surprise that Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to have “won” the recall debate last week:

What this…demonstrates is the differences between the mindset of average voters versus intellectuals and political junkies. While I was impressed with Bustamante’s cool demeanor and seeming grasp of the issues–even though I disagreed with most of his policy prescriptions–most viewers just thought he was uninspiring. While I thought Arnold was charming, I thought he lacked substance; most viewers apparently thought he exuded leadership. Thankfully, the mass public and I agree on one thing: Huffington is an annoying idiot.

I think this is about right. Policy positions aside, Bustamante seemed mostly pretty calm and knowledgable to me, while Arnold was a buffoon who was constantly scrapping with Arianna and tossing out Hollywood one liners.

But that’s not how most people saw it. What they saw was that Bustamante was “condescending” and Schwarzenegger was “engaging.” It’s a complete flip flop.

What this shows once again is that in American politics there is no greater sin than looking like you think you’re smarter than the other guy. It killed Al Gore in 2000 and probably did the same to Bustamante last week. You’d think big time politicians would eventually learn this lesson.

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