Wednesday, January 30, 2008

One Down

I must join in the general left-blogosphere relief , enthusiasm , and respect that greets the disappearance of Rudy Giuliani from the race.

He would have been the most dangerous President to come out of the Republican field, probably even worse than Bush. Personally, he is a creep. Publicly, the atavistic aggression erupting from his rictus is hard to bear.

So we can all be very glad that the worst possible choice is eliminated.

As for McCain, I'm liberal and think the guy's stands on domestic issues (choice, likely judicial appointments, gay rights) really stink, but his "war is always the answer" foreign policy would be nearly the equal of Rudy's vague bellicose bullshit.

McCain is very old. He will look very old, especially on HD, and especially when compared to Obama.

His speaking style sucks, both in debates and in speeches. In debates, he tends to regurgitate vaguely related bits of his stump speech like a doddering idiot until he gets to set a firm jaw and bellow some truculent nonsense. In speeches, he reads as though he were not only new to a tele Prompter, but reading aloud for the first time.

The guy is pathetic. I bet even Hillary or Mike Bloomberg will beat him.

But this brings me to something this blog has to touch on: how Obama effects people. In watching C-Span coverage of rallies, the only Democrat I can recall where I've heard people spontaneously break out into chants of "USA! USA!" is Obama. It's happened when he's just talking about the greatness of the idea of America. It appears to be evoked by a real infusion of love of the concept of America, not by any specific image.

It's a real evocation of patriotism, of a good sort.

I watched C-Span when Romney was rallying the other day, and he did the typical trick to evoke patriotic feeling in his listeners: told a story about an old veteran and a flag. It was a patriotism that looked back. And the crowd cheered a little bit, but I heard the "we're supposed to cheer here about this old story" in the crowd's response.

McCain does more or less the same thing, as does Bush, and Huckabee. I've never heard Hillary try to evoke patriotism in any dedicated way, so I don't know about her. But the Republican rhetorical trick seems to be, implicitly "Remember when you previously had a patriotic feeling? Well, recall that previous feeling now." While Obama's incitement to patriotism is implicitly "Remember how great this country is? How strong and enduring are the concepts that underly the United States?" And hearts swell and eyes well up and people cheer out of feeling a new patriotism now.

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