February 11, 2008
Adrenaline Addiction (Bob Franken)
@ 10:37 am
The fight between the two remaining Democrats has become a battle of personality. On the one hand we have Barack Obama, who lights up the screen and the auditorium and causes his audience to almost swoon with every rhetorical flourish.
On the other, we have Hillary Clinton, who doesn’t.
No, this is not some anti-Clinton, pro-Obama rant, so cool your jets, Hillary supporters. I suspect that Sen. Clinton would agree she has allowed herself to be cast as a methodical “yawn” opposite to flashy Obama’s “wow!!”
That’s not where a candidate wants to be. Humans want inspiration and when we seem to get it, we toss logic right out the window. A stirring voice can make platitudes seem profound.
Who can blame anybody these days for being fed up with the “same-old-same-old”? In too many cases the established ways are taking us down that long road to decline. No wonder today’s rallying cry is “change.”
Barack Obama has positioned himself to be the champion of change. To be honest, Hillary Clinton and her strategists are now running a “Me Too” campaign, constructed on an infrastructure that needs to be rebuilt. So Obama gets to be the charisma candidate, the one who makes the adrenaline flow.
We need to be very wary of charisma. History is full of politicians who were chosen by the adoring masses and then led them to disaster or at least failure.
I am not saying Barack Obama would do that. I am saying that he has to show us just what’s inside that suit he’s wearing, besides an open-collared shirt.
As for Hillary, she has to somehow figure out how to raise the public blood pressure herself. One would think the very fact we use the word “she” would go a long way. But it doesn’t get very far when the runner has a chip on her shoulder.
Frankly, the Clinton campaign spends too much time in a resentful defensive crouch, trying to exploit slights from wherever they seem to come. It has obscured the obvious point that Hillary Clinton has a story to tell that should be far too remarkable to be hidden by such intrigue and manipulation.
She has so much to say. What a shame it is when her ideas are so badly presented that her opponent doesn’t even need to discuss his. This has become a campaign that is distorted by emotion. The result is a public discussion dominated by sometimes careless, often inflammatory debate.
It’s great that so many are passionate about this year’s election. We must be careful that the passion doesn’t turn into a demagogic environment where we’re encouraged to make our choice based on mindless emotion