Psychologist Drew Westen, author of The Political Brain recently spoke with NOW on PBS host and senior editor David Brancaccio about how Barack Obama may be blowing his best chances of winning the Presidency. Westen says Obama was at his tactical best during his Denver convention speech, but at his recent worst, Obama comes off more like Michael Dukakis.
Westen counsels that, to win the hearts and minds of American voters, Obama needs to start appealing to their hearts first, and not lead with extensive policy proposals. Voters respond primarily to their own emotional gut-level feelings about candidates, parties, and principles, he says.
A given example:
"I believe in a family doctor for every family."
"I believe in universal health care."
In the interview, Westen says the Obama campaign missed the boat on a golden opportunity to argue the qualifications of Sarah Palin before the Republican Convention, and gives advice on how Senator Biden can appropriately come out swinging during the October 2nd Vice Presidential debate.
"You can take any position," Westen says, "as long as it's not the fetal position."
Watch the interview here, and also check out an online interactive debate over Sarah Palin's candidacy.
Follow Joel B. Schwartzberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/now_on_pbs