This morning, Hillary Clinton officially announced her presidential ambitions. My impression is that Hillary Clinton a really smart person, who is definitely up the difficult task of being president of the United States. The other candidate competing for my vote, Barack Obama, also seems like a smart, capable person who may also be up for that challenge. (I’m sorry, John Edwards, you’re not up to the challenge when competing against these two.)
But who will win the Democratic primary race, Clinton or Obama? For many years, a candidate’s on-camera persona has held sway with voters than the substance of their message. The JFK Nixon debates are an easy example of this. Radio listens thought Nixon won the debate, TV viewers though JFK did. In the upcoming YouTubified election, I believe this effect will be magnified more than ever. Perception trumps reality. Minus any scandal, the candidate who speaks best, regardless of content, will win the election.
Let me suggest what is reality and what is perception between them. The reality is that Hillary Clinton is a tougher, smarter politician, better suited for the presidential seat. She’s got the experience and the savvy to get people on her side behind the scenes to get her goals accomplished. Barack Obama has also got some of these qualities—he’s intelligent and has some political experience, but if this were a written test, he would definitely come in second to Clinton. But reality is not the only factor here that determines who people cast their vote for. The perception war between these two favors Obama. His on-camera persona is one who feels the voter’s fears and personal struggles, understands his or her lot in life. He’s here to fix things for “me” and has the best chance of doing it because he “gets me”. Ms. Clinton, try as she might, can’t “feel” more than Mr. Obama.
Clinton’s web site promises a conversation happening between each voter and her, facilitated by the web. This is where I think the reality of her political savvy could potentially win. If she’s here, in my living room, listening to me more than Obama is, maybe she can get enough of those “perception” points in her column to pull this out.
I’m definitely ready for a different attitude of the person who occupies the office of the president. Luckily, I think either choice between Clinton and Obama is a much better situation that we are now in.
All I can hope is that the best candidate (but by which criteria) wins.
Now for some video.
Barack Obama on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton on The View
Update: I may be completely wrong about this race. See this story on ABCNEWS called Clinton Leads ‘08 Dems; No Bounce for Obama. Go Hill!