Monday, February 18, 2008

Do Words Matter?

"Martin Luther King didn't stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and say, 'Go home everybody. The dream is deferred, false hopes. You need a reality check.' There is a moment in the life of every generation, when that spirit of hopefulness has to come through, if we are to make our mark on history..."

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan's blog. That's where I first saw this video, the last 10 minutes or so of Obama's recent speech in Wisconsin.


Stamford Talk said...

Does he write this stuff himself though?

John said...

I think it's a really good question, and probably one it would be hard to answer, except to say most likely he doesn't write all of it himself. That said, I think there's a world of difference between being overley scripted and completely spontaneous. I don't guess that Obama is being either, but I also think there's a sort of range of scriptedness that politicans fall along.

Ultimately I think these are prominent factors in the political calculus we each preform: namely how much do you see that feels authentic and appealing and how does your sense of that compare with your feelings around the same question in relationship to others in the race.

In an interesting comparison, McCain is often described as being a rebel, off the cuff, etc. and being appealing for those reasons. Still, he often gives speaches that feel very scripted to me. At the same time you can find lots of video from McCain out on the trail acting in very natural, spontaneous, authentic ways. What out of all of that is most important to evaluating him? I'm not quite sure.

Back over on the Dem. side, it has often seemed that Hillary faces a deficit in the authenticity department, but an interesting trend I've followed is that people do seem to like her more when they get a chance to have some closer contact. Does she become more authentic in smaller settings? Maybe. If so, are the questions around her authenticity just due to unfair kinds of media attention? maybe. All in all, I think it's a very interesting piece of the picture, that's fo sho.