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Sunday, July 06, 2008

When did the inability to speak become "authenticity"?
Posted by Jill | 8:27 AM
Of course we know when; it's when the media decided that George W. Bush should be president because he gave out nicknames and acted like a frat boy.

One would think that after eight years of the most inarticulate boob ever to occupy elected office, let alone the White House, we would have had enough of this notion that poise and the ability to express one's thoughts clearly are liabilities. But given that the media mantra of "Flip-flopper" is being revived for this election season to refer to anything other than the most rigid adherence to long-held views, even in the face of changing conditions and evidence, it's hardly surprising that they would go along with the notion that because John McCain can't get a coherent thought out of his head, that somehow speaks to his "authenticity". That it may be a sign of cognitive difficulties seems to matter to no one on the barbecue-and-bus circuit. They're perfectly willing to just pass on the spin about the "authentic" McCain (as opposed to the "inauthentic" Obama, who I guess would seem more "authentic" if he wore baggy pants, lots of gold chains, a backwards baseball cap, and said "fo'shizzle", even though from what I understand, no one outside the movie Juno has said that in the last five years.

But the McCain campaign continues to use this spin -- and why shouldn't they, when it seems to work:

Mr. McCain’s advisers, who bristle at the idea that they are trying to transform the candidate, say that his lack of smoothness merely reinforces his reputation for authenticity.

“Voters are looking for credibility and are wary of polish,” said Mark McKinnon, a former consultant to Mr. McCain’s campaign. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter which candidate can more deftly read a teleprompter.”

Indeed, Mr. McCain and his advisers seem to be trying to present him as a kind of anti-Obama whose weaknesses as a political performer underscore his accessibility to regular voters.

“John doesn’t ever want to be something that he is not,” Mr. Salter said, including trying to pass himself off as a larger-than-life figure on stage. “There’s nothing in there about him that wants to be rarefied.”

Mr. McCain and his surrogates appear to be taking a page from the primary campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, which made a point of praising Mr. Obama’s speaking skills both to erase any expectation that she could match them and to imply that Mr. Obama was more of a performer than a leader. Nicolle Wallace, Mr. McCain’s new senior adviser, said the campaign would focus on having the candidate interact face to face with voters, “not from a center stage in the middle of a stadium.”

In an interview on his campaign plane, Mr. McCain said “my strongest environment is clearly the impromptu.” He added, “I don’t mean that in a way that denigrates Senator’s Obama’s speechmaking skills.”

He shrugged when asked whether he is improving as a speaker. “It’s fine, it’s fine,” he said. “It’s coming along.”

“I will continue to make mistakes,” he added.

And the media will continue to give him a free pass on them. And if he is elected, and one of those "mistakes" launches a nuclear missile, well, he's a maverick, and he was a POW, and so by definition he can do no wrong.

And yeah, he grills up some mean ribs. Yum. More ribs, please, Senator...and we'll continue to pour on the love. Because we just LOVE a man who used to be in uniform.

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Blogger D. said...
Clearly, these journalists (and McCain's campaign people) washed the blue pill down with the kool-aid.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
“I have set before the American people an energy plan, the Lex-eegton Project,” Mr. McCain said, drawing a quick breath and correcting himself. “The Lex-ing-ton Proj-ect,” he said slowly. “The Lexington Project,” he repeated. “Remember that name.”
In a town meeting in Cincinnati the next day, Mr. McCain would again slip up on the name of the Massachusetts town, where, he noted, “Americans asserted their independence once before.” He called it “the Lexiggdon Project” and twice tried to fix his error before flipping the name (“Project Lexington”) in subsequent references.
Mr. McCain’s battle of Lexington is part of a struggle he is engaged in every day. A politician who has thrived in the give-and-take settings of campaign buses, late-night TV couches and town meetings, he now is trying to meet the more formal speaking demands of a general election campaign.
By his own admission, Mr. McCain is not a great orator. He is ill-suited to lecterns, which often dwarf his small stature, and he tends to sound as if he is reading his lines, not speaking them. His shortcomings have been accentuated in a two-man race, particularly because the other man — Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee — can often dazzle on stage.
The media is now doing with McCain what they did with Bush. Anytime Bush misspoke they under played it. Sometimes the inference was - it was “cute.”

As above - they have begun to report McCain is terrible in situations like debates. Doesn’t that sound familiar? They said the same about Bush so when he came off OK - he was a huge success. They are doing the same thing with McCain. They say Obama “dazzles.” If he doesn’t “dazzle” – he lost.

The media is also going out of their way to be sure any “misspeaking” is not blamed on his age.

Come on Democrats pay attention to this and call it to the attention the voters.