Tuesday, October 07, 2008

 

Can it be the US Election Will be Won on Substance Rather than Style?

Sunday's Observer carried an article by Professor Patricia Williams, bemoaning the acceptance in the US election of 'folksy directness' as somehow superior to knowing something about the issues of the day. Referring to Sarah Palin she says:

When I hear her failing to recall the name of a single newspaper she'd ever read, I feel willing to offer up my teenage son as a sacrifice to the Republican party; he could serve in her stead with so much more fluency. When she prattles smoothly yet non-responsively to questions about the war, economics or foreign policy - or when she brightly changes the subject altogether - I want to weep.

But it really does seem that appearing to know little about the political background is OK in the US as long as one dresses up one's ignorance in folksy 'good old boy' charm. Actually mastering the complexities of the massive problems facing the uSA and the world, seems to have been downgraded to 'boring' or being part of the reviled 'Washington elite'.

So it was (really) reassuring to read Michael Tomasky in The Guardian, suggesting the very opposite of his fellow US commentator. He recalls in 2004 how John Kerry, authoritative in the debates, was rubbished as boring while Bush was seen as the kind of guy you'd like to have beer with(though Bush didn't drink beer). And Bush went on to win, not because he was the better candidate but because he made voters feel OK about their own ignorance and uninformed prejudices.

But he goes on to suggest that this time people are genuinely listening to the substance. In the debates McCain had:

'more zingers and one-liners than Obama did and generally speaking was the aggressor that night. And Sarah Palin, with her repeated winks at the camera, had far more of a folksy, I'm-just-like-Joe-Sixpack approach than Joe Biden did. One-liners, aggression and emotive warmth are supposed to win these contests, we are told, and they usually do. But literally every poll I've seen shows that voters think Obama and Biden - who were direct and substantive and between them barely said one zingy or folksy thing - won the debates, and handily so.

If it happens in the US, it might even happen over here.

Comments:
Great article.
I hope that the election will be won on substance!

To find out - have a look at this widget i found..
The widget shows the election polls by strength of states over time.

I think you might like it:-)
http://www.youcalc.com/apps/1221747067033

... and its easy to put on your blog and fits in your sidebar!

Make a difference, keep on voting!
 
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