R. Justin Shepherd | PART-TIME PUNDIT

A tamed tongue
7.June.2007, 8.32 am
Filed under: faith, politics

I’ve always hated the way politicians speak. Their voices, when they get in front of a microphone or camera, always take on a life of their own… louder, with more faux-nuance and lots of thumbs-up (because it’s not polite to point!) hand gesturing.

Which leads to my continuing fascination with Barack Obama. His blockbuster speech at the ’04 Dems’ convention made everyone say, “Why can’t we have a candidate like this?” And though I’m far from committed on a presidential candidate as of yet, I think this video gives everyone one good reason to vote for the guy: namely, he can speak as a normal person. No crazy inflection; no outlandish, cartoonish hand-jives; no “I’m gonna save this country!” rhetoric. Just talking.

NOTES: 1.) The actual substance of the debate or of the candidates’ positions is not my subject here. I make no endorsement of anyone, anywhere, anytime. 2.) Listen to the whole thing. It’s only five minutes! It’s important to listen to Obama speak in the context of Clinton and Edwards sounding like total gasbags, just like every other presidential candidate in the last 20 years. Save maybe Ralph Nader and Ross Perot.


7 Comments so far
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Good video. I was a big Nader fan myself. I believe Obama would be a lot less polarizing than the other candidates. We could use that in this country. I am becoming a decent fan of Ron Paul for the same reasons. We need candidates who are honest, collaborative, and who are willing to not live like celebrities. That really frustrates me.

Comment by Brandon Andrew Miles

Agreed, Justin. I thought Edwards really sounded like he was trying to remember the next cliche, the next appropriate thing that he was expected to say. Clinton sounded much more genuine, but Obama definitely sounded like the person who had it worked out from the bottom up.

I really like what I see from Obama so far. And, yes, it would be nice to have a president who could once again speak with some resemblance of cultural and intellectual and moral awareness.

Comment by kevinburt

Thanks for sharing that. I think Obama is well-liked because he doesn’t try to use programs to appeal to people, but simple human values. I mean it doesnt’ matter if you’re republican or democrat, who doesn’t want to be connected to others?

The problem is, however, that the guy talks well, but how does that translate into action? I mean it’s one thing to say that we need to be in it together, but how will he promote that? How will he take two sides so polorized that they might not even been in the same room, let alone the same page.

That for me will determine whether he has my vote. (Right now, I don’t know who to vote for really.)

Comment by Mai


Have you read Obama’s book? You might be able to find it through your local library. It fleshes out a bit the direction he wants to go, and how.


Comment by kevinburt

Clinton sounded like she had said that line by line before with the same hand motions and everything. Obama gave a well reasoned flow of thought. I didn’t think either opponent did that, they did however spot lines in an order to give the appearance of logic.

Comment by James


Good idea. I’ll add it to the six billion books I am reading right now. And I hope I can for a more fleshed out opinion again. I guess my concern is that almost 8 years ago, Bush made some of the same promises, but it never quite translated besides the whole No Left Child Behind thing, which ultimately was not the greatest thing..

But i’ll read the book and maybe I can have a more informed opinion.

Comment by missmaispace

I like that people like Jim Wallis are talking about this issue. Even if his blog is boring.

Comment by Derek

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