Listening to her speech, it occurred to me that there's a second, less thematic, way to separate the various candidate's speeches: Scope. Obama speaks at the level of narrative. Edwards speaks of individuals. Clinton speaks of governance. Because of that, her speeches are less grabbing than theirs, but convey a greater impression of competence. Listening to the three of them, I tend to buy Hillary's argument that, on a technical level, she'd be better at this governance thing. But being president is only partially about carrying out your daily duties and greeting foreign dignitaries. It's also about inspiring the populace, moving them forward, mobilizing the population to press for change that would be impossible within the current contours of the political landscape.As you may recall, one of George Bush's slogans was this exactly: "Moving America Forward".
- inspiring the populace - Well, Obama is never gonna get my vote if the main modality to do so is via inspiration. First, I do not find him inspiring; nor any of the candidates. Second, I work to not be inspired in politics. Instead, try reading various candidates' speeches. Or go and read the 2000/2004 presidential debates. Then decide who has substance. Third, too much Chomsky has convinced me that Americans place too much "hope" in their leaders and not enough in themselves. Part of Obama's rhetoric is on this topic exactly. At the top of his website right now is: I'm asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... I'm asking you to believe in yours. I suppose this is the inspiring part. Just does not inspire me. I want substance.
- moving them forward - What does this mean? I recall a discussion with a Bush supporter in 2004. I asked "Why Bush?" Answer: "He is moving us forward." Requests for further detail only elicited the same answer.
- mobilizing the population to press for change - It may be the case that he is the candidate most likely to "mobilize" people. But for many of the same reasons above, I will just not be one. Nor am I convinced he is terribly mobilizing anyway.