On politicians that don't give away much

Tyler Cowen complains there's nothing new to say about Obama, despite the extensive coverage he receives. In my view, that's something to be expected of a well-run campaign for two reasons:

1. What's the point of staggering the release of information? The information you want out there is 'released' on day one, and there's no need or desire for more information later on.

2. The point of a presidential campaign is to reach Average Joe, not to keep the likes of Tyler and myself happy by feeding us with more news, and even more so important news. There's a simple message to be communicated - 'vote Obama cos he'll bring change' - and it will be communicated over and over again until it has reached everyone, preferably more than once. That's why companies run information-poor 30-second ads over and over again; the point is not to reach out to the afficionados, as they can no more keep a company afloat than they can win you an election.

Even more importanly, a politician that doesn't commit to specific policies (as is the case with the current low-information Obama campaign) is simply more powerful when in office, and given checks and balances and the fact that Average Joe is vehemently anti-market, anti-foreigners, anti-reason, etc, that's not necessarily a bad thing - think of how rarely referenda are used, and how the Western World would look like if that wasn't the case.

So stop complaining about politicians speaking without saying anything; on the one hand they are good marketers, and on the other they would like, once in power, to actually have some. A *successful* politician who communicates too much substance before an election can only be a populist.

This comment on Tyler's post is worth perusing:

Obama is too intelligent and well educated to have any fixed principles. He has fixed inclinations and preferences, but not principles.