Wednesday, February 12, 2020

New Hampshire Lessons | Lefsetz Letter


Amy Klobuchar went from zero to hero in one debate, with just a couple of lines. Proving that you must ride the tiger until your moment arrives.

The dirty little secret is talent is secondary to perseverance and the ability to shine at the right time. Most people are not made for the stage. Furthermore, you are not born to it. Most people get mic fright, it’s only through repeated experience that you get good at anything.

Turns out it had nothing to do with whether she was a woman or not, what she looked like or not, but what she said. I wasn’t a huge fan, but when she referenced FDR and said she was on our side and would fight for us, it resonated. Yup, she was a middle class woman, without the benefit of riches or stunning looks, who did the work, paid her dues, and was ready when everybody was paying attention.

Oh, there you go again Bob, talking about women’s looks.

But the truth is it’s always about looks. Do you know any of the naturally beautiful? Their lives are completely different from the rest of ours. They get endless opportunities, they can screw up and survive, they’re picked first. And just like Albert Brooks says in “Broadcast News,” looks fade, but very slowly, life is long, high school is not the end of time, if you continue to play you have a chance of winning, when many others have opted out or made excuses or…

At the end of the day, it’s about relatability. And watching Klobuchar I realized she wasn’t that different from me, I could relate to her.

And she was honest when it counted. Standing up to Bernie’s socialism.

This is where the educated and moralistic can emerge victorious, by having principles and hewing to them. This is the opposite of the sausage-makers, the yes-men, the people who view their career as a game, wherein you know enough people and smile and are duplicitous and you move up the food chain. That’s what’s wrong with America. And never forget, America was built on the saga of the rugged individual, the lone wolf, the cowboy, and that ethos still stands.


Can you say JOE BIDEN?

Just because they say it, just because they wish it to be true, that does not make it so.

Come on, have you followed Joe Biden’s career? His fake smile, the hair plugs, the mistakes he made in previous campaigns to his detriment? Thinking he could win is like thinking the guy on the bench is the key to the World Series.

And he’s from Delaware, the land of the banks and corporations.

As for his vaunted appeal to people of color… Why? Do the math on this for me please.

Not that Biden can’t be a good communicator. I was watching CNN after last Friday’s debate and they showed a clip of Biden wherein he connected to people who had experienced cancer, he pounded morality, said he told his kids they could never criticize someone for something they could not change, like their looks. But Joe could never be this person when everybody was paying attention. He only started to fight when the tables turned, and then he looked desperate.


It’s no different with a record. Either it’s hustling its way up the chart or… If it stops climbing, it’s probably over. And momentum begets more momentum. Pete Buttigieg isn’t radically different from how he was before Iowa, it’s just that he did well there, giving himself the imprimatur of electability, which is a flawed concept established by those who want to steer the election to their benefit. Come on, if you win a number of primaries, why is it you cannot win the national election? And there was a statistic in yesterday’s paper, showing more blue people read the “Wall Street Journal” than red. Everything is not cut and dried, everything is murkier than it seems.


Or, as the justifiably reviled Peter Thiel might say, don’t fight fights you can’t win. All these marginal candidates, what were they thinking?

Marianne Williamson has a long history of employing attention/media to build and embellish her career. She knew she had no chance of being elected, but she got what she wanted out of the experience.

Michael Bennet?

As for Andrew Yang, did you read the exposé on how he ran his company, how he was insensitive to women? He spoke English no one else could, even youngster Mayor Pete, Yang knows technology, it’s just that he was not vetted deeply enough, just like Trump. People bought the b.s. Yang was a guy who believed he was entitled. Who was confident. Who could give up the Ivy League leg-up to go his own way because he deserved it. I buy the ideas, but not the man.

As for Tulsi Gabbard… You were in the military, so? Bush II and Trump were not, and they got elected, military service ain’t what it’s cracked up to be, people don’t care that much, especially in the era of the all volunteer army, where most people with any cash refuse to go. Tillman died. Mayor Pete uses his service as a resume builder. Come on, when you look at Pete, do you believe him? Or do you think his brain is churning before he says anything.


Elizabeth Warren was ahead, she’ll drop out soon because she’ll have no money. You don’t want to peak too soon, and you don’t want to screw up when people are watching. Just like Klobuchar’s one debate performance boosted her campaign, Warren’s killed it, when she was asked directly how she was gonna pay for Medicare-for-all over and over again and refused to answer. It looked like a kid telling his teacher why he didn’t do his homework…and the interesting thing is Warren was a teacher!


Biden can’t raise it, he’ll soon be gone.

Bloomberg has an unlimited supply, he ain’t goin’ nowhere.


I know, I know, this doesn’t apply to Trump, but to beat him you’ve got to be the antithesis. There’s a belief that you’ve got to fight the Republicans on their turf their way. And the Republicans have been laughing to victory for decades. The Republicans punch and the Democrats cry. The Republicans say the news is bogus and the Democrats accept the polls saying Trump is stronger after impeachment. Let me see, if the polls were wrong about Biden and Buttigieg, why should they be right about Trump? You run your own race, once you start changing for the game, being impacted by others, you’re toast. This is what happened to Warren, saying she’d delay the implementation of Medicare-for-all.


It’s like listening to a record company hype you on an act, or the film industry telling you about the future success of a movie.

Then you wait until it’s released and instantly you know what’s going on, especially in the movie business, you just go to Rotten Tomatoes and look at the numbers. Spotify can tell if an album is a stiff in a matter of hours, based on the skip rates.

Old school thinking is all about spin, say it to the point people will believe it and accept it as true.

New school thinking is launch and refine, start small and win in the end. Like Google, like Amazon.


We keep hearing about AI, but the truth is people are unpredictable mammals, that’s what makes life interesting.

Bernie Sanders should have been toast, he was too old, had a heart attack and was a Jewish socialist from Vermont. But he resonated with people. This is something that cannot be quantified, it’s a feeling. And elections are more about feelings than facts. It’s just like love…the person who looks good on paper, even in pictures, if there’s no simpatico it’s no-go. We hear about love at first sight, but more often it’s love after a while, suddenly the light turns on.


We were taught to love and respect the media.

I’m not talking about fake news here, I’m not echoing Trump’s statements, all I’m saying is media is run by people, who are human, with flaws and agendas. Just because you read it in the paper, that does not mean it’s true. Didn’t you learn that in elementary school?

Then again, school is supposed to teach you the power of analysis, which too many Americans lack, they accept what they’re told at face value.

A rich person knows everything is negotiable, even at the department store.

A poor person pays the price.

Success comes to those who can divine the psyche of others. But that does not prevent people from trying to spin.

But we’ve seen that exercise too many times, the spin machine is worn out.

But there’s no national database of facts, so everybody employs their own.

What we know is the election process is way too long, and way too expensive. And the frontrunners often are not. You play the game, do not let the game define you.


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