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[Comments] (4) Joementum: In 2003 and 2004 when I was working on the Clark campaign we always made fun of the Lieberman campaign. We didn't do all that well but we always did better than Lieberman.

I've discussed before how part of being a politician is going out and smiling the morning after a crushing defeat and pretending everything will turn out fine. I've seen my share of this up close, but Joe Lieberman was incredible. All through the 2004 campaign he acted like the nomination was his in all but name, right up until he dropped out. Defeats were recast into milestones that he'd had to meet, and that he'd just met. He had the Joementum.

Except no one could figure out what "Joementum" was. Clearly it was not being used according to its dictionary meaning ("an electroplated filligree added in modern times to a medieval baton or weapon"). Nor could it legitimately be considered any kind of pun on "momentum".

I think I've figured it out. Yesterday Joe Lieberman lost his Senate primary (note to non-US readers, who don't care anyway: this is quite a feat). He's still smilin'. He's going to run as an independent, against the Democratic nominee and the (fairly pathetic) Republican.

That's when it struck me. Joementum is not specific to Joe Lieberman, and it's not an attribute of the campaign, as I'd always thought. It's a personal quality of the candidate. It's just the name for that thing inside you that makes you act like the bad news isn't happening, that everything will work out fine and you'll win. It's the momentum that keeps you physically working even when people aren't voting for you. Joe Lieberman just has more of it than most people in politics.

It's not denial; it's the ability to act as though you were in denial. As I discussed in my earlier entry, this is a neccessary quality in a politician, because admitting that any bad news is real will instantly doom you. To gain any nontrivial victory, the candidate must posess enough Joementum to be stubborn and firm-jawed about bad news and impossible odds. But usually when the bad news is that you lost and conceded the election, you can relax.

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Comments:

Posted by Brendan at Wed Aug 09 2006 08:37

I wondered if you were going to weigh in on Leiberman. Beautiful.

Vice-Presidential Candidate
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Presidential Primary Candidate
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Independent Senate Candidate in Your Home State
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$200,000 Motivational Speaker
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Has-Been Columnist for Partisan Newsletter
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Cable Access Pundit
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Guy People Can Hit with a Golf Club for Money

WHERE WILL THE JOEMENTUM STOP!

Posted by Brendan at Wed Aug 09 2006 08:38

Ah, that was supposed to be preformatted.

Posted by Greg Knauss at Wed Aug 09 2006 13:12

Shouldn't "Guy People Can Hit with a Golf Club for Money" go above "Cable Access Pundit"?

Posted by Brendan at Thu Aug 10 2006 09:33

Yeah, see, that's the rebound.


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