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October 04, 2004

George W. Bush's "Hard Work"

People make decisions emotionally, then they attempt to justify their decisions rationally. However, this is a self-checking process. People are passionate about being rational, so if their initial emotional decision cannot be rationalized, it'll be altered until it can. What this means is that people choose the decision that appeals to them the most which can also be rationalized. And Bush's phrase, "hard work", is a source of an emotional issue which will bolster Bush's position by creeping into the back door of the voters' thought processes.

You can divide America's workforce into two categories: 1) The working class. 2) The risking class. The irony is that the risking class works much harder than the working class (the average millionairre, for example, works 60-65 hours per week and does so for decades before reaching that economic landmark).

Now, if you were one of those people who was bugged - or even just plain embarrassed by - Bush's referring to his job as "hard work" fully 11 times during the debates, then chances are that you're a member of the working class, not the risking class.

Members of the working class do not risk (that is, their level of risk is so low as to be inconsiderable). Most members of this class hold protected positions in unions, civil services, and universities. Even in non-unionized companies, the ability of managers to fire or discipline employees is severely limited by the threat of lawsuits based upon "wrongful termination" or specious claims of racism (or based upon other protected classes).

The risking class has no such benefits. They protect themselves from risk with education, intelligence, foresight, and planning. But these are just tools in their arsenal to manage risk. The necessary condition for these people to succeed is to work really, really hard. These people get up earlier, work harder, stay more consistently on task, go home later, and work more days than the working class, and even take their work with them on vacations.

The working class tends to relate to the arguments of the Democratic party. These people see the spoils of the risking class (money), but they don't understand or acknowledge the work of the risking class.

The members of the risking class tend to be Republicans. They know the meaning of the term: deserve.

President Bush used the term "hard work" 11 times during his debate, forcing the phrase to seep into the back of the minds of those who work really hard for a living. He conveyed the message: Hey, I understand what it is that you're doing out there every day, because that's what I do: I work really hard to manage risk. (And when we acknowledge that the risk he's managing includes the risk of terrorism, we're even more humbled.)

To those with a working class mentality, Bush's repetition of "hard work" seemed like clumsy everyday language. But those who risk for a living picked up on its true implications immediately, but subconsciously. It did not bother them to hear him repeat it over and over, and it's impact did not likely weigh in on their analysis of who won the debate. Instead, it helped to solidify their good feelings about President Bush and will weigh in strongly when they make their emotional decision about who to vote for in the coming election.

ps: as a side note, isn't it interesting that while President Bush has kept up his more-than-full-time job as President while he campaigns on the side, that Senator Kerry seems to have just walked away from his duties as a senator and campaigns full time?

Posted by Jeff at October 4, 2004 12:00 PM

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