Thursday, February 7, 2008

Beware: Superficial Analysis Ahead.

Call me a sucker for a charming speaker. But one thing that must be clear by now is that, regardless of your political positions, Obama is the most inspiring candidate in the race.

Granted I've only been around long enough to pay attention to the past few presidential election cycles, but I cannot remember anything in the '96, '00, or '04 campaigns that galvanized so many people with a positive attitude and seemingly genuine faith in a candidate, not any candidate that had a shot of winning at least.

It often goes unstated how important "gut feelings" are when it comes to selecting a candidate. Politicians are like professional athletes in the sense that they have a certain script they need to follow when addressing the public. (i.e.: "Just got to take things one game at a time" = "I will work hard to get bi-partisan legislation through") And whether it is right or fair, the presentation of that script can be decisive in a candidate's appeal. Gore was a robot in both appearance and presentation, Kerry was ghoulish and uninspiring.

Now we come this year's Democratic field. Before Johnny Edwards bowed out, he had a strong appeal along the fighting-against-big-corporations-for-the-common-man element, which plays well among the young and angry, the downtrodden, or members of student groups that "jokingly" get referred to as "Stalinists" by their classmates.

Ms. Clinton? Well, perhaps I'm bias, but I'd rather watch paint dry. If I was at one of her speaking engagements, I'd probably feel like Bill Murray in Caddyshack, "Hey Lama, how about a little something, you know, for the effort?" I know they're canned lines, but infusing a little passion into your speech wouldn't turn me off. I've seen bar stools with more stage presence.

That brings us to Mr. Obama. I don't think much needs to be said on his behalf.

And the original speech:

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