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Will 'showmanship' win over substance?

Columbia, South Carolina â€" I went to Barack Obama’s rally here, on Sunday night, with a Republican friend who had never seen the Illinois senator in action before. Watching the crowd of more than 3,000 fill up the convention center, watching the people send up waves of energy to Obama, and watching him play off that energy in a speech that was one of the best political performances anyone has seen this year, my Republican friend said, simply, “Oh, sâ€"t.â€? He recalled the scene from Jaws, in which the small seaside town’s sheriff realizes how big the shark he’s tracking truly is, and says, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.â€? What my friend didn’t have to say was that he was deeply worried that Republicans just don’t have a bigger boat.

Drawing 3,000-plus supporters is no big deal for Obama, although it would be a very big deal for a Republican candidate. What was different about the Columbia rally was that, unlike Obama rallies in Iowa or New Hampshire, this one drew large numbers of black voters, who are virtually nonexistent in the other states, but make up about half the Democratic electorate here. Months ago, polls showed blacks in South Carolina supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton. Today, the situation has changed dramatically, with blacks heavily supporting Obama; on Sunday night, the crowd was perhaps 75 or 80 percent black.

Something else changed from Obama’s performances in Iowa and New Hampshire: he has had to incorporate into his stump speech a response to attacks by Bill and Hillary Clinton. “The status quo in Washington is pushing back,â€? he told the crowd. “That’s what they do â€" not just the Republican status quo, but the Democratic status quo. They push back.â€? Now Obama is pushing back, too, but at the convention center he was able to devote significant time to doing so without appearing dragged down into a fight. Instead, he approached it as a comedian would â€" relentlessly mocking his rivals while making himself seem the only honest, sane, and reasonable person in the race.

“You notice that people who’ve been in Washington too long, they don’t talk like ordinary folks,� Obama began. “We had this debate in Las Vegas, and somebody asked me, ‘What are your weaknesses?’ So I said, ‘Well, you know, I don’t keep track of paper that well, I’m always losing paper, my desk is a mess.’ And then they asked the next two candidates. And one candidate says, ‘Well, my biggest weakness is I’m just so passionate about helping poor people.’ And then the other one says, ‘I’m just so impatient to help the American people solve their problems.’ So then I realize well, I wish I’d gone last and then I would have known.�

Pausing for a moment while the crowd burst into laughter and applause, he continued: “I’m stupid that way, I thought that when they asked what your biggest weakness was, they asked what your biggest weakness was. And now I know that my biggest weakness is I like to help old ladies across the street.�

As the cheering continued, Obama hit Hillary Clinton as someone just too steeped in Washington to be straight with anyone. “People don’t say what they mean when they’ve been in Washington too long,� he said, with a look of mock amazement. “You know, Senator Clinton, during that same debate, somebody asked her about the bankruptcy bill. She voted for a bankruptcy bill in 2001, that the credit cards and the banks had been pushing, that made it more difficult for folks who have been trapped in these unscrupulous loans, where you get zero interest and then suddenly it pops up to 30 percent. And the credit card companies, even though they are sending these things in the mail constantly every day they don’t want you to get out from under that debt. So Tim Russert or somebody asked Senator Clinton, ‘Why did you vote for that bill?’ And she said, ‘Well, I voted for it, but I hoped it didn’t pass.’ What does that mean?�

Again, the crowd cracked up. Obama didn’t have to say anything malicious about Clinton; making her seem ridiculous was good enough.

By: Byron York - National Review

Fred Thompson is out, Rudy probably will be soon and Huckabee is a non-contender so the question is if either McCain or Romney has the personality to work a crowd like the master mover Obama? Or will it all boil down to quick bites on TV and U-tube?
 

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Good old Ronnie was also a good crowd puller and he had them eating out of his hand. Obama must have taken lessons from him. ;)
 

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Good old Ronnie was also a good crowd puller and he had them eating out of his hand. Obama must have taken lessons from him. ;)
For once we are in complete agreement Sir John.

The same was true of Bill Clinton. When I watched the crowd cheer his moving acceptance speech in 1992 and weighed his presentation against the substance of his speech and his record I was appalled. I couldn't help but be reminded of the films of Hitler working the crowds in prewar Germany. That is when I first realized that the Democratic party had gone south.
 

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Hey Bonzo... I guess you could always listen to Rudy envoke 9/11 a couple of billion times within a 10 minute speech instead! clown: :D

Obama may not be much on substance... but considering the Republican alternatives... he don't hafta be! Tup: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
 

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Hell he's even kinda likeable for a socialist. However, I don't want to have to pay reparations for some labor I never utilized.
 

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Obama may not be much on substance... but considering the Republican alternatives... he don't hafta be!
Webo! You might consider that Obama has to get past the Clinton Machine before he gets a shot at the Right Side. But you missed the point. Substance means diddly squat these days compared to charisma... and Obama is overflowing with it. Bill and Adolf had plenty of that also and both wielded considerable power and popularity despite their shortcomings in character.

Now the problem with Hillary is that she has little of that magic quality and that is why she is so hated by Demwits who really wish she could walk in BJ's footsteps. I'm wondering if the unqualified upstart will actually win the nomination and get someone like Richardson for a VP backup. He might (and that is a big might) even have a chance against the right. I think he and Richardson would do much better than a Hill & Bill ticket.

Luckily for the Demwits, they 'don't hafta' compete with substance 'cause neither Hill nor Barry has any ammunition!

Skorzeny... Not to worry about reparations. Consider that only about 4% of the slaves exported to the new world by their brethren in Africa ended up in what was to become the USA and that the northern industrialists treated their factory workers much worse than most black or indentured white slaves. I'm thinking that the Irish are the ones that most deserve reparations.
 

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Lol, you do have a point Bonzo. However, If we start with the Irish, who's next? The Germans, then the Poles, and the Italians. Can't leave out the Armenian survivors of Kemal's genocide. It goes on and on. Unfortunately even 'we the people' cannot fix every sin of humanity, or inhumanity for that matter.
He is still a socialist, and that is scary enough for me.
 
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