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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > So, is Mr. Obama really all that charismatic?

So, is Mr. Obama really all that charismatic?
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Feb 29, 2008, 11:22 AM
 
I still don't quite understand all the Obama-is-very-very-charismatic sentiment after continued viewings on his speeches and discussions on TV. He does make some nice speeches, but usually what I get out of them is that he's not saying much, but then says some encouraging words... but that's about it. Sure, he's doesn't seem anywhere as stiff as Clinton, but that's not saying much, as she's very, very dry.

Ie. It seems to me he's not channelling JFK or MLK. It's just that he's not channelling Hillary Clinton.

Or maybe it's just a you-had-to-be-there kind of thing that doesn't translate well to TV.
     
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Feb 29, 2008, 12:56 PM
 
Was JFK really that charismatic?
     
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Feb 29, 2008, 01:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Was JFK really that charismatic?
Well, at least the speech clips make him out to be. He seemed very, very quick on his feet, and managed to string together words that just seem to make inherent sense at least for the brief time you're listening to him.

That isn't quite the case for Obama. IMO he delivers prepared speeches extremely well, but doesn't seem to do as well when asked directed questions. Clinton does better than he does on that front IMO, probably because of (what I perceive to be) her wider knowledge base, but her problem is that she delivers it very dryly.
     
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Feb 29, 2008, 01:24 PM
 
Talking about charisma and who you'd rather have a beer with is inevitable and natural, but I fear Americans have learned nothing from the danger of electing someone based purely on those qualities. (Not that W has charisma, but he was "less stiff" then Gore and there was the who would you have a beer with nonsense.)

I might prefer Obama's personality over Clinton's, but that doesn't mean I think he's right or ready for the job. I'm not looking for someone to idolize, I'm looking for someone with teeth and the willingness to use them. Now that would be a new and novel trait for a Democrat, and I believe that describes Hillary. Like Tina Fey said, "Bitches get things done."
     
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Feb 29, 2008, 01:56 PM
 
Most of his speeches are just okay and have a normal amount of substance for a politician (i.e., little). He is after all giving the same speeches day after day, one can't expect too much. This whole "style but not substance" is just one of those memes that gets picked up by the media. Do you really think that his speeches have less substance than those of McCain? (Clinton does have a little more substance but usually her substance is unrealistic, just playing to unions, e.g., so I discount it.) Clinton and McCain are both very dry, and of course there is Bush. Still, some of his speeches have been very good.
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It will depart at 20 minutes to 5.
     
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Feb 29, 2008, 02:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by tie View Post
Most of his speeches are just okay and have a normal amount of substance for a politician (i.e., little). He is after all giving the same speeches day after day, one can't expect too much. This whole "style but not substance" is just one of those memes that gets picked up by the media. Do you really think that his speeches have less substance than those of McCain?
I dunno. I haven't been listening to McCain's speeches. It seems like whenever I turn on the TV to US news channels, it's always Clinton vs. Obama and not much else. Well, there's also stuff about Britney Spears and drugged up baseball players, etc.

(Clinton does have a little more substance but usually her substance is unrealistic, just playing to unions, e.g., so I discount it.)
OK, but I was just saying that Clinton seems to focus toward actual topics and she seems to have a fairly good grasp of the stuff she talks about. Whether or not people agree with her is a completely different issue.

To put it another way, even with little charisma, she comes across as knowledgeable. JFK came across as both quite charismatic and knowledgeable. Obama comes across as somewhat inexperienced, with more charisma than Clinton. However, as I said, Hillary Clinton should not be used as a charisma gauge here, because some might argue that even the stiff Gore has more charisma than she does. The difference though was that Gore was compared to Bill Clinton. I see Bill Clinton as a somewhat charismatic leader, and certainly more so than Obama. Despite this, some in the media are making Obama almost like the second coming of the Democrats or something, in terms of charismatic leaders. Maybe I should just ignore those media hypers though.
     
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Feb 29, 2008, 03:56 PM
 
A couple of thoughts:

1) Bill Clinton mastered, and maybe even originated, the style of giving laundry lists of policies. I suppose in 1992 it was what people wanted to hear, and I suppose it's important among many primary-voting Democrats today: What specific things is the government going to do for me? Hillary has learned from that and emulates it pretty well. Obama doesn't so much, and neither do most politicians. I don't particularly care for it, but it is what it is.

2) As a campaigner in general, Obama does a terrific job. It's tough work, and for such a relatively new politician, he's really, really good. Look at other politicians - they screw up a lot, they regularly handle questions poorly, they don't give very good speeches, etc. No, the skies don't open and angels don't sing, but he does a very good job. I imagine it's much harder than it looks.

3) He became known after his speech at the Democratic Convention in 2004. He's a very good orator. But then when he started campaigning for president 2-3 years later, his speeches were very dry and he was criticized for not living up to his hype. My guess is that it was intentional, that he and his advisors were aware that he might be criticized for not being substantive enough, given his relative newness to politics. So he tried to counter that with dry, substantive speeches. Then, as the campaign went on, he started changing his style back to the 2004 DNC speechy style. And, of course, now he's being criticized for not being substantive enough. But he's winning now, so I guess they know what they're doing.
     
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Mar 2, 2008, 06:51 PM
 
i'm really surprised by the vast bizarre adulation of this alleged charisma of Obama..I really don't get it..he is a empty suit that speaks broad meaningless dimestore greeting-card platitudes and the ignorant crowds sway and pass out in extacy..... just bizarre.
     
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Mar 2, 2008, 08:05 PM
 
I think it's mostly that he seems very charismatic compared to Hillary. I mean she's very dry, if she were any worse she'd need Astroglide just to talk.
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Mar 2, 2008, 09:06 PM
 
In the 92 campaign season, one of the charges that stuck was that candidates weren't talking about their actual positions. So Mr. Clinton talked up positions. He did it so much that Carville and Begala tried to get him to cut back on the promises.

At the same time, you had Steve Forbes, GHWB and Ross Perot all talking up their plans. It was a season full of plans.

This is an election season so far devoid of serious plans, with the exception of Mrs. Clinton so far. She's running as if she's in 92, rather than spreading hope about herself and fear about others.
     
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Mar 3, 2008, 09:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by vmarks View Post
In the 92 campaign season, one of the charges that stuck was that candidates weren't talking about their actual positions. So Mr. Clinton talked up positions. He did it so much that Carville and Begala tried to get him to cut back on the promises.

At the same time, you had Steve Forbes, GHWB and Ross Perot all talking up their plans. It was a season full of plans.

This is an election season so far devoid of serious plans, with the exception of Mrs. Clinton so far. She's running as if she's in 92, rather than spreading hope about herself and fear about others.
Hmmm... I guess people just aren't really all that interested in hearing about plans these days. It would seem that Obama has chosen the right path so far, judging by his results in the race. A calculated vagueness?
     
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Mar 3, 2008, 10:29 AM
 
Well, I don't know that any candidate has made the charge that Mr. Obama is devoid of specifics.

If they wish to turn this into a campaign season of issues, someone has to ask Mr. Obama and the other candidates what their plan is.

Mrs. Clinton is in a reasonably good position to pose this question. She can do precisely as Elizabeth Dole did to Erskine Bowles. She asked Bowles on a state-wide debate, "Mr. Bowles, where's your plan? You have no plan. But voters can see my plan at doleplan.com. Where is your plan?"

Should she do this, and have such a site ready, and hammer on the unpreparedness of her opponents, it could change the character of the campaign season.
     
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Mar 3, 2008, 11:52 PM
 
Why hasn't anyone ever brought up that Obama has a Muslim brother living in Kenya who supports extremists?
     
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Mar 4, 2008, 12:06 AM
 
Abongo!
     
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Mar 4, 2008, 03:12 AM
 
Bingo.
     
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Mar 4, 2008, 01:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atomic Rooster View Post
Why hasn't anyone ever brought up that Obama has a Muslim brother living in Kenya who supports extremists?
Because it doesn't matter? No one has asserted with any credibility that Mr. Obama supports extremists. He's got some very lousy foreign policy advisors, but his brother is not one of them.

Presidents have in recent history had unfortunate siblings.

Neil Bush
Roger Clinton
Billy Carter

Next!
     
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Mar 4, 2008, 01:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Well, at least the speech clips make him out to be. He seemed very, very quick on his feet, and managed to string together words that just seem to make inherent sense at least for the brief time you're listening to him.

That isn't quite the case for Obama. IMO he delivers prepared speeches extremely well, but doesn't seem to do as well when asked directed questions. Clinton does better than he does on that front IMO, probably because of (what I perceive to be) her wider knowledge base, but her problem is that she delivers it very dryly.
Ask Tough Questions? Yes, They Can!

It seems like when he comes down to earth and answers the questions of mortal men, he fumbles.

"That was the information that I had at the time. . . . Those charges are completely unrelated to me. . . . I have said that that was a mistake. . . . The fact pattern remains unchanged."

"Let me, let me, let me, let me just be absolutely clear what happened," Obama answered, explaining that the meeting was a "courtesy" and involved no "winks and nods."
     
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Mar 4, 2008, 01:58 PM
 
I definitely heard a clip from the debate where you could tell he was on his heels, rushing his answer.
     
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Mar 4, 2008, 02:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Kerrigan View Post
Ouch.

To be fair to Obama, that seemed like a very tough crowd, but nonetheless it does illustrate what I was talking about before.
     
   
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