The New Improved Edsel
(Just before starting work on the Edsel, Mr. Brown completed the 1955 Lincoln "Futura" show car, which went on to become the "Batmobile" in the 1966 television series "Batman")
George Will discusses the relationship between those that know better than the rest of us and the rest of us in 'Lessons from the Doomed Edsel' on RealClearPolitics.com:
[...] In the spring of 1958, S.I. Hayakawa, a professor of semantics (and later a Republican U.S. senator from California), ascribed the Edsel's failure to the Ford executives' excessive confidence in the power of motivational research to enable them to predict -- and modify -- Americans' behavior. In their attempt to design a car that would cater to customers' sexual fantasies, status anxieties and the like, Ford's deep thinkers had neglected to supply good transportation.The free market fulfilled the destiny of the infamous Edsel, but the Edselar 'liberal project of expanding government in the name of protecting incompetent Americans from victimization, and having government supplant the market as the allocator of wealth and opportunity' lemon is alive and well, still advertising a promised Utopia.
"Only the psychotic and the gravely neurotic act out their irrationalities and their compensatory fantasies," Hayakawa wrote. "The trouble with selling symbolic gratification via such expensive items ... is the competition offered by much cheaper forms of symbolic gratification, such as 'Playboy' (fifty cents a copy), 'Astounding Science Fiction' (thirty-five cents a copy), and television (free)."
In 1958, with the Edsel already turned to ashes, John Kenneth Galbraith, with bad timing comparable to the launch of the Edsel, published "The Affluent Society." It asserted that manufacturers, wielding all-powerful advertising, were emancipated by the law of supply and demand because advertisers could manufacture demand for whatever manufacturers wished to supply.
This theory buttressed the liberal project of expanding government in the name of protecting incompetent Americans from victimization, and having government supplant the market as the allocator of wealth and opportunity. But all of Ford's then-mighty marketing prowess could not keep the Edsel from being canceled in 1959. Brooks calculated that it would have been cheaper for Ford to skip the Edsel and give away 110,000 Mercurys.[...]
Barak Obama: Batman
Hillary Clinton: Batgirl
John Edwards: Robin
Al Gore: Alfred, the Buttler
John Kerry: Commissioner Gordon
Harry Reid: Chief O'Hara
Producer/Director: Vladimir Ilyich Lenin