I think Martin Amis has it about right:
GEORGE W. BUSH HAS prevailed in two general elections because, very broadly, male voters feel that he’s the kind of guy “you can have a beer with”. Whereas in fact George W. Bush is the kind of guy you can’t have a beer with, under any circumstances: as they say at AA, he has come to treasure his sobriety. You can have a beer with John Kerry and Al Gore; and you can have a beer with Bush Sr and Bill Clinton (and pretty well all the others, including George Washington). But you can’t have a beer with Bush Jr.
Amis forgets something, though. You can’t actually have a beer with Kerry, or Gore, or Bush Sr, or Clinton either. They are Big Men who only hang with the plebs from time to time so they can continue being Big Men. These guys ain’t your mates. Judge them for their competence.
It used to be that we were attracted to politicians for their Big Ideas. Isn’t it a shame that we’re down to choosing fantasy beer buddies on one side, and those we feel won’t make a complete hash of it on the other.