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Comparing Style Apples and Oranges
by Bruce Newman
03/07/08
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One thing that should never be forgotten is context. So if you have it written down that in ten separate instances I responded affirmatively to the question, “Do you want this cold bucket of water poured over you?”, lest I sound a bit nuts, remember to mention that in each case I was digging a trench in mid day during a Texas summer.

Before we compare the speaking styles of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton we should give a little thought to context. First, the presidential “debates” are not true debate as were, say, the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. We never really get to see what these people really think due to the noxious atmosphere of political correctness and hypersensitivity (self-righteousness) all around. People are on alert to be offended. That’s why Mitt Romney gave his most clear-headed, impassioned speech the day he quit the presidential race. That’s why just today a headline read Obama Camp Rejects Adviser’s Comments, where an adviser for Obama called Hillary a “monster” because she would stop at nothing to get elected. The adviser thought she was speaking off the record.

The sad thing about it is that anyone who followed the Clinton’s when Bill was president knew that Hillary’s mouth was legendary in its ability to convince an eavesdropping ear that she’d once been a sailor familiar with the dim recesses of the dingiest bars where testosterone was inhaled like second hand smoke, and that the Clinton’s played politics the way the Oakland Raiders played
football in their heyday.

Add to the fact that last year when Hillary spoke before a black congregation she felt the need to embarrass herself by lapsing into black slang and letting everybody know “I don’t feel noways tired”. The thing is she didn’t have enough civilization in her to initiate the forgotten art of blushing, which is an unconscious reaction. The very air was embarrassed for her. A rusted blush switch portends exponential ugliness in all affairs requiring empathy. That, my friends, is part of your context.

Days of youth, unarmed and naive
Feelings yet to be bureaucratically overlaid
The blush came easily, spreading
Octopus arms fluidly unfurling
The part warmly pervading the whole
Food coloring slowly draping water’s clarity
Time passes, the blush visits
With a Halley’s Comet frequency
And never when self-importance
Usurps that inner helm

Yes, I digress a bit. But my backdrop is related to my point closer than a third cousin, which is that to think of the speaking styles of the candidates in question within a context alone makes the question worth answering.

And what of Barack Obama, former law professor and, unlike Bill Clinton, a guy who inhaled? We’ve all had the chance to see him on television whether it was on the “debates” or the Tonight Show. He answers questions more succinctly and thoughtfully whether you agree or disagree with him. He has the advantage of coming along at a time when America is politically exhausted and so, like Ronald Reagan, (“it’s morning in America”) has the opportunity to inject a bit of hope, which he has the audacity to do according to the title of his book The Audacity of Hope. True styles of any kind are never contrived but are branches on sincerity’s tree. So while I may not agree with Obama on some policy points, I’d have to say his style is superior to Hillary’s, which most agree has the air of labored contrivance hanging over it like mosquito netting in an African safari tent.

Another clue to judging styles is the amount of words used (it’s how you identify a fool according to Ecc. 5:3) or time it takes for an individual to get their point across. Sincerity has nothing to fear and can therefore afford to allow simplicity to herald its unfeigned approach. Dishonest and manipulative people use many words as a smokescreen for their deviousness. The Audacity of Hope is a 384 page book. You won’t read that in a sitting but it is within normal book size. Hillary’s 2003 book Living History was 562 pages, more like a textbook. Evidently those who write about Hillary are infected with the same longwinded style. A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Carl Bernstein is a steroidal loquacious tome overflowing the banks of the Who Cares? River with 600 plus pages.

So if I chose a word to describe Obama’s style it would be simplicity. Perhaps a bit naïve at times but that’s preferable to the cynicism bred by politics from the paint by number school. If I had to choose a term to describe Hillary’s style it would be pin ball, because she bounces off terms and ideas she tries out, and if they light up she feels points were scored. If not she bounces to the next impact event. The scores are then tallied and further plans evolve based on those scores, not the connections made via sincere speech.

Don’t forget that both their styles play out in a context of superficiality and spin doctoring in an environment of short attention spans and way too much emphasis on the visual. But that’s what we’ve got. I prefer Ron Paul’s style over both but a certain level of maturity will have to exist before he can be elected the same way a certain level of growth has had to occur for a black man to have a shot at the presidency.


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