This morning’s Washington Post ran some excerpts from Dana Milbank’s new book, Homo Politicus: The Strange and Scary Tribes That Run Our Government. If the government is a primitive tribe — and yes, there’s some primal sociology at play in politics — then how do candidates stack up in a primitive hierarchy? (Or for the gaming set, what WoW class are they?)
Some, like Barack Obama, are shamans. Mitt Romney is a storyteller. There’s Rudy Guiliani the deviant and Mike Huckabee the cannibal.
John Edwards is the berserker:
In medieval Iceland, the fiercest of all Viking warriors were known as the berserkers. They prepared themselves for battle by donning animal skins, drinking the blood of bears and wolves, biting their shields and howling. Reaching a frenzy, they fought without regard for their own survival and managed to ignore the pain of even severe wounds until the battle ended. Occasionally, the berserker would kill members of his own tribe, but this was regarded as an acceptable price to pay for such combat prowess.
The berserker tradition continues in Potomac Land — exemplified in the 2008 race by John Edwards. When he ran for President in 2004, he presented himself as the “positive alternative” with a “positive vision” and admonished his rivals not to let the Democrats become “the party of anger.” As Sen. John F. Kerry’s running mate, he refused Kerry’s requests to go on the attack.
This time, he’s mending his ways, attacking Hillary Clinton at every opportunity as a corrupt, dishonest corporate shill. In a single speech to the Democratic National Committee, he used a form of the word “fight” 23 times. “I fought,” he said. “I did not walk away from the fight. I fought. I stood my ground. I took them on. And I beat them, and I beat them, and I stood my ground. I took them on. And I beat them, and I beat them, and I beat them again. I won.” (In Potomac Land, even a berserker needs a thesaurus.) Edwards’ finest berserker moment came when he refused to fire two campaign bloggers who had described President Bush’s supporters as the “wingnut Christofascist base” and written graphically about the Virgin Mary’s birth control. Edwards was clearly drinking the wolf’s blood, but cooler heads prevailed, and the bloggers quit anyway.
After nearly eight years of Bush and his corporate cronyism, America needs a warrior for every American. John Edwards, Viking berserker, will be that warrior. 🙂