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Stump Speeches and Empty Rhetoric

I’ve watched with some interest the debates over Barack Obama’s rhetoric. He has been charged with using empty rhetoric instead of presenting actual solutions.

I have a bit of a problem with this. Stump speeches generally are mostly fluff. They’re designed to encourage and excite the faithful. They’re supposed to be emotional. I haven’t seen all that much substance in anybody else’s stump speeches either. I looked around, but I can’t find any sort of analysis, and I’m not certain how it would be done.

I do think there’s about as much substance in this campaign as in any, and I believe with a number of tools on the internet that there it’s even easier this year to get at the candidates’ views and records, irrespective of stump speeches. It seems to me that all the complaints about Barack Obama’s words derive form the fact that he delivers low substance lines so much better than anyone else in the campaign.

As I’ve said before I’m not 100% satisfied with Barack Obama as a candidate. As an independent in a closed primary state I didn’t have anything to say in the Democratic nomination either. But I see no reason to reject a candidate because he delivers a stump speech very effectively. I think his opponents should find something else to talk about.

They could always try more substance themselves.

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2 Comments

  1. Earl says:

    Part of the legitimate criticism directed at him is entire due to his short list of public service. Even those who are his advocates can cite little if anything that he has done. He will continue to use this “smoke and mirrors” campaign style to avoid or at least delay speaking substantively about critical issues. In what few areas he has given specifics, his proposals have been as poorly developed as those of Clinton. Both offer the modern equivalent of ancient Rome’s bread and circuses.

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