It just does bad things to my blood pressure, even when I largely agree with the sentiment. For example, I don’t like Newt either. Respect his intelligence, actually like the way he plays politics (to win, no dissembling), and you gotta dig the fact that he wrote his dissertation on something as wonderfully obscure as Belgian policy in the Congo (if I remember correctly). That said, he still seems like sort of a jerk. Which, to me, brings up an interesting question. Not a theoretical, political science question, but a more general question: why do we insist our “heroes” be perfect, but then “forgive” them as long as they weren’t convicted (and sometimes when they were) given enough time? I mean, what kind of sense does it make that about 12 years ago, Newt had to resign as Speaker of the House, but now is (obviously) running for President?
Anyway, on a more research-related note, my frequent co-author Aleks and I are putting together a proposal to look at how implicit attitudes about candidates (and possibly parties in Canada) form over the course of the campaign, in this case the American primaries. Obviously, Newt will be one of the folks we measure implicit attitudes toward overtime, but I figure he’ll probably already have a fairly stable set of attitudes, unlike folks like Herman Cain and Mitch Daniels. Our idea is that lots of folks who can’t provide an explicit attitude about candidates/parties will nonetheless have underlying implicit attitudes about long-term candidates or at least recently newsworthy ones like Newt, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman, Mitt Romney. Basically, candidates may not have as much room as they hope to “reinvent” themselves.
Alright, back to reading IR Core and preparing said grant proposal.