Inside the Beltway: Public frets that U.S. global prestige is fading

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Relations have not always been so lovey-dovey with Mr. Brown, however. Though the former Cosmopolitan magazine centerfold model has struck many a political posture and offered much policy talk in recent days, he has been coy about whether or not he will run.

Brown needs to either move here and announce a run or state definitively that he will not be a candidate. The ladies love his flirting, it is true, but the one who loves it the most is Jeanne Shaheen. Every time he bats an eye, she cashes a check. He needs to make his intentions clear or turn his big, brown eyes elsewhere,” a recent editorial in The Union-Leader newspaper noted.

THE RULE OF THREE

Advice to political parties and pushy campaign strategists: give voters three glowing points about the candidate in question, then stop. More talking points and those electoral consumers shut down, just like they do when business pitches go overboard. That’s when the voters become “cognitively depleted.”

So says Kurt Carlson, director of the Georgetown University Institute for Consumer Research, who is a firm believer in “the charm of three.” So that means both parties can call their political stars, say, authentic, tough and optimistic. But they should resist the temptation to throw in anything else. Mr. Carlson says the practice also applies to products and services.

“Firms tend to believe their product is the best, which leads to a tendency among practicing marketers to present as many compelling claims as possible,” he says. “But there is danger to that as consumers’ awareness of persuasive intent will convert into skepticism.”

Ah, yes, skepticism. It is epidemic in the voting public at the moment, and for more reasons than marketing sins.

Mr. Carlson will reveal his research, titled “When Three Charms But Four Alarms,” in an upcoming Journal of Marketing, an academic publication.

CAPITOL HILL’S GREEK MENU

Yes, why not bring cheerful Greek food to the halls of the melancholy U.S. Congress? Indeed, the Embassy of Greece, six Greek chefs, nutrition experts, health gurus plus Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis, Florida Republican, and Reps. Joseph Crowley and Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrats, team up on Capitol Hill to laud the “Greek Mediterranean Diet” at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday.

They’re talking up the glories of olive oil, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, cheese, yogurt, seafood and “more white meat than red,” the organizers say. The traditional Greek diet, they add, “promotes longevity, boosts the immune system, and reduces the likelihood of obesity and chronic diseases.”

Will this mean spanakopita, avgolemono and souvlaki? Only the chefs know for sure.

“Ancient Greeks, including the world’s first Olympic athletes, recognized the benefits of healthy eating and exercise,” declares Christos Panagopoulos, the Greek ambassador to the U.S. “Their wisdom has lasted through the ages, and on this special occasion a new contemporary twist will be given by some of America’s brightest scientists and chefs.”

POLL DU JOUR

83 percent of Americans say protecting the U.S. from terrorist attacks should be a top foreign policy priority.

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