Friday, January 4, 2008

No way will I even try to add pebbles to the mountain of blather, useful and otherwise, devoted in the last 18 hours to the Iowa caucuses. Suffice it to say, this non-affiliated blogger is relieved that the smartest, most articulate (in politics you can't assume one follows the other) Democrat won; and that the most articulate (but not smartest) Republican trounced a field of particularly loathsome androids. James Fallows wrote my favorite obit – Bill Clinton's:
...Who managed a wan smile but for seconds on end stood motionless, as if traumatized or stuffed. Better than anyone else in the country he must understand the situation. The young candidate with the sex appeal and the fun and the magic and the sense of the future and the opportunity to shed the old – Clinton knows the advantages that candidate has. And he knows full well how feeble the appeals to "experience" and "ready from day one" and "competence and responsibility" were when they were issued sixteen years ago by a candidate who really was superbly prepared and experienced: the incumbent president, eight-year vice president, victorious war commander, former ambassador and CIA director George H. W. Bush.
As for Huckabee and Obama's appeal to the Iowa electorate, credit the candidates' oratory. Sullivan:
One aspect of this race that has not been given enough notice so far: Obama and Huckabee and Edwards are easily the best public speakers in this race. They won last night in part because of their ability to connect with people in large settings. You hear in Obama and Huckabee the cadences of the churches they come from - "the holy places where the races meet" - but you also hear men who have honed their rhetorical skills over the years, and actually connect their own thoughts into words. Contrast these skills with Romney and Clinton, who are competent but programmed like a salesman and a focus group respectively.

In the television and internet age, old-style rhetoric is sometimes regarded as an anachronism. It isn't. Huckabee's brilliance in the debates gave him this opportunity. Obama's public speeches have been the best in a candidate since Reagan and Kennedy.
Both can implode. I have no use for an evolution denier and homo hater like Huckabee, and Obama must lay steel beneath the soaring buttresses of his rhetoric. But we'll see.

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