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Do We Want Barack Obama Or Hillary Clinton In Our Home?

February 27, 2008

Recently I had the chance to talk with a radio broadcaster from Chicago.  In our conversation I expressed my thanks to him for being the type of radio talk show host that I wanted to invite into my home.  After all, that is the way every radio and TV personality should be evaluated by all Americans.  Are they the type we honor by inviting them through the airwaves into our homes? Are they of the caliber and character to be in our space?

I think that at some level that is also the way we make our choice for President of the United States.  After all the debate about health care and immigration, and the many other vital issues that impact our nation, I think it comes down to who is more likely to be welcome as a long term guest in our home via the television?  Who has the ability to engage us in a long-term conversation as our leader on the evening news, and political shows without us wanting to bar them at the door?

Senator Hillary Clinton surprised me by being so ‘accessible’ when I met and talked with her in Madison the night before the Wisconsin Primary.  On television she has tried to make herself into a tough leader who could make the hard decisions, but by doing so has in effect made herself come across as less friendly and more hard-edged.  So when she walked with calm composure and made herself available with effortless laughter and intelligent conversation at her campaign rally my first thought was how ‘assessible’ as a person she could be.  That side of her is very hard to discern on television. 

Barack Obama has a talent for conversation and thoughtful dialogue that demand we listen and pay attention.  He is well suited for the camera and the television screen.  His calm demeanor and slow delivery enhances the connection with his television audience.  It is due to that type of speech pattern that 63% of the Democratic Primary electorate in the latest CBS/New York Times poll state that Obama cares about them “a lot”.  It is due to that effective use of language and media image that creates a personal feeling for Obama that places him comfortably ahead of Clinton in the nominating process.   We want to like our leaders, and the fact that many already love him is why so many are ready to invite him into their homes for the next four years.

I have met many politicians over the years (that is my thing) and there have been a handful that was so very different in person as opposed to being on television.  Vice-President Al Gore, and former Illinois Senator Paul Simon are two examples of not having a strong television presence, but having warm and remarkable personalities up-close and in person.  On the other hand, I found former Senator Bob Dole, and former Democratic nominee Mike Dukakis as dry as dust when I met them.  Sadly they matched their TV image. 

Would I rather have a substantive candidate with a less than desirable personality elected President in order to have the correct decisions made over the fate of the nation?  Yes.  But that is not how the media driven elections in America work.  After all, President Bush was judged to be the one most Americans would want to have a beer with.  Today we realize that the wooden image of Al Gore on TV would have been far preferable to the former cheerleader from Texas.  But in this media age I do not think it possible to decide our President solely on the merits of the issues, or the leadership strengths of the candidate themselves.  There is that ‘thing’ that the TV lens amplifies in some candidates, and totally misses in others that will be the deciding factor in the Democratic primaries to come, and the general election this fall.

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One Comment
  1. Gracious permalink
    March 6, 2008 2:42 AM

    Please America if you really want change you will vote for OBAMA, if you really want to see young people take stock of their of their lives believe in themselves to be hopeful and not hopeless, vote for OBAMA, if you want the world to start saying again AMEAICA the promise land, the big apple oh AMERICA, AMERICA the beautiful,vote for OBAMA,if you want love,peace,unity then vote for OBAMA, if you want peace throught out the world vote for Obama however, if you just want to be selfish and don’t care then vote for Hillary or Macain don’t get me wrong they both are fine people in many ways however, the world is hungry & thirsty for change that will give us a something to look forward to and not just there saying “oh well” the world is comming to an end soon so why borther although that might be true anyway we want to start thinking and making realistics plans again. Remember there was a time when ask which country you love most and would LOVE to visit #1 was America; now all you hear is CANADA not the US or nowhere. Think about it deeply. Just a little note.

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