Friday, February 22, 2008

Why Obama is Winning

Obama has integrated his masculine-feminine sides. In Clinton one dimension is usually behind the other, and the integrated person is seen only sporadically. We never ask who the real Obama is. We often do ask that question about Clinton.

Barack is the woman who doesn't cry. Hillary is the man who sometimes does.

Obama can be soft in speaking of uniting, working together, going beyond the old he-man politics, cooperating, overcoming the past and seeking transformative change without destruction -- all in a deep voice and preserving his manliness. He has it together in a unified package – an authentic person.

Most of the time Clinton presents herself as strong, invulnerable, experienced, smart, tough, a battle-scarred veteran who has been tested by Republican dirty tricks, i. e., the well-prepared man who is ready from day one to send the troops into battle if necessary. Moreover, too often she comes across as cool and controlled -- a persona she has worked hard to project in this man-dominated world. Even worse she frequently gives the appearance of being programmed and calculating, careful to seem on both sides of every issue, offering something for everybody in her zone of support and offending as few as possible.

Behind that John Wayne exterior is a soft, vulnerable, human being with feelings who is hurt by being disliked and who can cry. For a brief time in New Hampshire and in her closing remarks at the Austin debate last night, this side came through, and it was appealing and persuasive. In these moments she was empathetic, genuinely concerned about hurting people and ready to champion their cause.

Oh, I know about the demographics, the fund-raising, the contrast between Obama's purple poetry and Clinton's plodding prose, the organizations on the ground, Clinton fatigue, and all that other stuff the TV pundits peddle ad nauseam. All this is important, of course, but I think the decisive difference that may get him into the Oval Office and her back in her Senate office is his ability to project persistently a winsome, compelling, unified personality, whereas the face she presents most of the time is losing and the appealing face that could make her a winning candidate is seen only now and then and too late..

PS: Maureen Dowd has the same idea (NY Times, February 24) but probably didn't get it from me, though hers is cuter.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Word and Idea Stealing

Plagiarism is unacceptable. Therefore Clinton and McCain should give credit to each other when they make the same criticisms of Obama in almost the same words.