What “Faster” Means

Mickey Kaus Columnist
Font Size:

Faster Hope? A few days ago I suggested that even a late economic recovery might be enough for Obama. The CW (reiterated by pollster Ed Goeas)–that voters need 6 months for an upturn to sink in–seems outdated, a violation of the Feiler Faster Thesis.

John Podhoretz objected (via Twitter):

kausmickey I don’t think stats matter. Has to be what people feel. That’s why Goeas still has a point–takes time for people to feel it. …

kausmickey not sure that’s true–news moves faster but whether people get raises and their friends and relatives get hired doesn’t

To clarify: The “Faster” argument, in this context, is not simply that information moves faster–i.e. we find out quickly that the numbers have ticked up, or that our brother-in-law found a job. The argument is that our brains, including our emotions, have sped up to keep at least partial pace with the fact information flow. We’re bored more easily, more receptive to new phenomena. We fall in and out of love with candidates faster. (Or, in Newt Gingrich’s case, in and out and in and out of love.) When we hear about our brother-in-law getting hired we will more quickly conclude that the Great Recession is ending (even if employers don’t come to the same conclusion as quickly). Hope comes faster.  It’s not just data flow– our entire social metabolism has sped up.  Three or four months of data will now do to voters’ heads what it took 6 months to do in, say, 1992 (when the recovery came too late to save George H.W. Bush).

That’s the argument, anyway. I’ve been wrong before! …

Mickey Kaus