Rorschach Candidates, Then And Now

Betsy Newmark and John Podhoretz have some thoughts on Barack Obama:

Podhoretz calls him a “Rorschach Candidate.” People can paint him as representing all they ever wanted in a politician. He can give Kennedyesque candidate calling us to move beyond partisanship towards some sort of new politics. It’s all cotton candy right now, but it sure is sweet.

The Rorschach Candidate is the one who provokes enthusiasm not because of the positions he takes but because of who he is. He doesn’t seem like a politician; he seems to be better than a politician – fresh, new, different.

The Rorschach Candidate is especially exciting because under normal circumstances he couldn’t possibly take the nomination, and his race for president would seem like a revolutionary and transformative act in itself.

He reminds us of similar waves of excitement for Republicans Jeane Kirkpatrick or Colin Powell. The Democrats had Wesley Clark for a brief moment before he actually opened his mouth. And then there was Ross Perot.


There’s lots of truth there, and a reminder that voters from both parties have had their Rorschach Candidates. And as Podhoretz writes, one of the appeals of Obama to a number of voters over Hillary is that he’s an unknown entity, where as Hillary has decades of baggage dredged up in the 1990s and still very much known by the public.

Looking back to the last presidential election, perhaps one of the reasons why the Elite Media were (and are!) so furious at the Swift Boat Vets is that they grafted reality onto one of the great Rorschach Candidates of all time.


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