BDM on Reagan and Yeltsin

by Russ Roberts on July 23, 2007

in Podcast, Politics

This week’s EconTalk features Bruce Bueno de Mesquita discussing his latest book, The Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin. Bruce is consistently fascinating, articulate and knowledgeable. Among other insights, he cites the advice that Quintus Tullius gave his brother Cicero when the latter was running for office. Quintus encourages Cicero to:
"change his air and his statements in accordance with the people he meets" and to:

slander your opponents as often as possible, reckon their crimes, their sexual depravity, or their attempts to bribe other candidates–all according to the character of the individual opponent.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

This podcast is an excellent complement to Bryan Caplan’s latest. In Bryan’s work, politicians are basically reflecting the desires of voters. Here, Bueno de Mesquita explores the importance of marketing and packaging in political campaigns to create a winning coalition.

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shawn July 23, 2007 at 2:53 pm

…it's interesting to me that I loved the other two podcasts with "BDM", but was very uninterested in this one. Maybe it was just so historical, and apart from his applications near the end (of what to look for in a candidate on the campaign trail), I didn't really see much application. I'm sure a more savvy listener could take the lessons from the past and apply them to the now, but I'm not to that point. If there could have been more ties to the current '08 campaign, I think that I'd have found this more interesting.

Regardless…I look forward to every monday morning when I can download the latest installment of econporn.

Erik July 25, 2007 at 3:50 pm

I love your podcasts.

tw July 26, 2007 at 9:54 am

I enjoyed the all-too-brief discussion about the change in the party primary nominating system. I hadn't heard specifics before about the 6 "barons" (basically 6 powerful Republican senators) who controlled 40% of the convention delegates back in 1968.

Now that we basically have direct election of convention delegates (though I believe the Democrats also have "super-delegates" at their convention), I think it would be interesting to determine whether that's increased the quality of our candidates. Of course, I realize that such a study would be almost entirely subjective (how indeed could you measure this), it'd still be an interesting subject.

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