The Art of Analogy

This morning, John Dickerson of Slate, posted on FB, “A question I’m noodling: What attributes (not issue positions) do you think a president needs?”  I liked my response so much I will post it here.  It’s a thought I’ve had for a long time and inspired a speech I wrote years ago for the HH at the Temple.  I still haven’t worked out how it all fits together but someday I will.  Or maybe if I am lucky someone will write about it when talking about how great a presidential candidate I am!  🙂  Ahhhh the dream.

Politicians in general have lost the art of analogy and metaphor. So while Obama might be really great at speaking and inspiring, at the end of the speech, people go home inspired, but they don’t do anything. As a result of the lofty rhet…oric, no one actually understands HOW his ideas could work. Conversely, the opposition never makes an argument why they won’t work or how something else might work better/cheaper. Most people outside the beltway aren’t policy wonks, so just spouting ideas, principles, and philosophies, isn’t going to lead the populace to follow the chain of events that would predict an actual result. The “stump speech” and “sticking to the themes” is good for making sure that reporters don’t catch you “flip flopping” (read: clarifying a nuance in your position) but it has done nothing to promote political discourse and debate at the grass-roots level. All this explains why someone can build an entire campaign on the line “one-term-PRESIDENT!” Pols that are good at explaining positions by utilizing analogies and metaphors, can connect with the people in a way that might actually make them think about the proposed policies. A good president could do this on the fly, and it would play well in a press conference or debate. An example. In the debt ceiling silliness, I like to make this little analogy: It would be like my wife and I saying that we aren’t going to pay our home mortgage anymore because we can’t decide how to trim our expenses. She wants me to get a cheaper car, I want her to agree to cheaper vacations. She wants me to play less golf, I want her to drop the data plan on her cell phone. None of these options would cause us to be starving in the streets or kill us when we are seniors. Is life a little less perfect? Yes, but we get to keep the house.

About Josh Rutstein

I am an aspiring entrepreneur and hopeful political candidate. Father of 2 very special girls, husband to an amazing woman, and passionate American. I snowboard whenever possible and follow a 20x mentality for exercise. I also play golf and ultimate frisbee and am a die hard New England Patriots fan and season ticket holder. Everyday I wake up wanting to make this country a better place, someday I hope to actually succeed.
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