on their speeches: obama, hillary, and mccain

june 3, 2008

dear readers,

most online political pundits agree: obama has “clinched” the democratic party’s presidential nominee.  and i mean, they really agree on that.  on “clinched.”  everyone from npr to cnn is using that exact word, and i can’t wait for william safire to have at it.

i listened to the speeches this evening, did you hear ’em?  if not, i’ve got links for you below.

lets do a quick blow by blow–i’m looking at messaging and throwing in some crowd critique for fun.


on their speeches: obama, hillary, and mccain

all three trotted out the requisites of presidential running, sending up shot-outs, and ticking off issues like a grown-up version of “now I know my abc’s,” war, economy, schools, children, workers, americans, health care, you know the alphabet. but in between the abc’s there was some real messaging.

here’s what i heard:

(new orleans, la) senator mccain was all about digging his teeth into now confirmed opponent senator obama. obama, according to mccain, is inexperienced, interested in big big government, and too partisan to lead a country. “that’s not change we can believe in,” was mccain’s refrain. it’s a sure bet in poetry, repetition gets a crowd hype. but mccain’s singular focus on obama felt flat. his embarrassingly obvious sharpening of talons sorta missed the point. its like he’s challenging obama to a thumb war, and obama is gunning his chromed out engines for a tire squealing, track leaving drag race. finish line: politics not as usual. mccain’s old school put em up, put em up, put him way back in the proverbial dust. way to go mccain speech writers!

mccain crowd breakdown: eerily well trained crowd, instant boos, lots of instant boos, seemed kind of confused about whether to cheer or boo when mccain kept saying, “and that’s not change we can believe in!” where were the laugh track sitcom cues, do we cheer or boo??

(manhattan, ny) senator hillary rodham clinton came back to gotham tonight to say: thank you, america, thank you and naysayers i’d like to point out again and again: 18 million of you voted for me, watch as they all rampage into my website, and don’t you for a minute think im not a force to be reckoned with, thank you, thank you. i thought her message was as much in her tone as in her content. clinton communicated confidence, warmth, care, “i see you,” she said, and something in her voice made me believe her. shit, girl, you could see me right now? can you help me take this garbage out though? then maybe you and i really just sit down and chat, about being a smart woman in this world, in this time. online newsies are all about her declarations: “i know people are wondering, what does hillary clinton want?” and , “i’m not making any decisions today.” and i can see why, its fun speculating on whether or not clinton will join obama’s campaign as the democratic parties vice presidential nominee. for the record, i think its going to happen. but to me, her real message was: i am smart, and i care and this is what can sound like to be a woman leader.

hillary c. crowd break down: students hyped on red bull, so amped for her, super vocal, lots of interruptive hoarse throated comments, ready with the cheers, very few boos, generally warm.

(st. paul, minnesota) obama’s voice rose out of a hockey stadium, excited fans pouring up and over its brim, he graciously accepted the nomination after all the right shot outs, and said: this is our moment, this is a pivotal moment for america. thousands roared as obama soared. he seemed slightly at loss for words, which i took to mean he was genuinely humbled by the people.  obama also indicated both gracious annoyance with mccain, and uber-confidence as the right candidate to rebuild america’s role on the planet as “leader of the free world.” thank goodness for that grandma shot out, or i might feel funny about a candidate interested in ruling the world without a world-wide vote.

obama crowd break down: i heard an army of supporters, a crowd in the tens of thousands, and rolling cheers that swung heavy with momentum, slower to start, and longer to end, like a train.

stay tuned for more.



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