Because we live in the TV-video age, it can be instructive to look at our presidential candidates through the lens of the TV camera. The next time you watch a debate or a press conference on an interview show, try hitting the mute button and just look at the candidates for a few minutes.
You will soon begin to notice things:McCain’s anger is so apparent that it is actually accentuated with the mute button test. He looks tight, wrought up — even though he apparently has the GOP nomination in the bag. This was readily apparent during Mitt Romney’s endorsement of McCain; it looked like McCain had lost and was endorsing Romney, who smiled and was calm.
We have to wonder: Is McCain worried about some heretofore not-yet-public revelation that will devastate his campaign? Obama, by contrast, looks un-worried, smiling, happy; he conveys a youthful optimism that is, to many, refreshing after seven years of Bush’s constant negativity and incompetence and misleading statements. Obama does not seem in the mute button test, to have any attitude or hidden force propelling him.Hillary and Bill are each total plane wrecks. Bill Clinton looks bothered, exhausted, and also angry. It looks like he has no patience for average people daring to question him or his wife. Of course, as president he never had an average person ask him a hostile question. The few times he did — once at a state fair — he had those questioners arrested by the Secret Service on bizarre charges of threatening the president;
Hillary looks like a robot — like a Stepford Wife. Her latest stand-up stance — with the microphone in one hand and her other arm stretched out like a minister giving a blessing — is yet another phony stance.
Back in the early days of the Reagan administration, Mike Deaver figured out that what a person looks like on TV is more important than what that candidate says. TV is a window into someone’s soul. So Deaver had President Reagan walk out of the White House while Marine One’s rotors were churning, thus making it impossible for the president to hear Sam Donaldson yelling out his daily hostile question. Mr. Reagan just smiled and waved and walked to the chopper. The result? The visual worked; the nation fell in love with Ronald Reagan and grew to detest the badgering media.
Using this test, Obama is the happy warrior and Hillary and McCain are tired, old, been-around-too-long insiders.
Of course, there are other tests and other ways to judge candidates.
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