Presidential Voice

Way back when, in the final season of the West Wing there was an episode with the title “The Presidential Voice”. The premise was that Congressman Santos didn’t have the “Presidential Voice” and they were trying to teach it to him. Long story short…You don’t teach the “Presidential Voice”, it is something you either have or you don’t. It can be acquired, evidently due to the cumulative leadership experiences of a life, but not taught.

George W Bush never had the “Presidential Voice”. I didn’t think I would ever hear another politician with a oratorical style that was less “Presidential” than George W Bush…But…I’ve been listening to the campaign speeches that John McCain has been giving and truth to tell, I don’t hear the “Presidential Voice”. Now don’t get me wrong, he has a good command of the language needed to present the ideas and policies of his side, but something is missing. He isn’t the embarrassment we have now, thank god, but oratory and debate are the main tools of a politician and his are a little lackluster.

I don’t know, I just find it hard to envision the next four years listening to John McCain speaking from my TV on a regular basis as the voice of America in the twenty-first century. For some reason, the picture that keeps popping into my head is a rerun from The Andy Griffith Show. I don’t know why, but all I keep seeing is Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife

For another perspective there is this from earlier in the campaign…

Group News Blog: Selling Transformation, Not Platforms
From the music and rhythm of the black churches, which underlie his big speeches — so he’s getting through to the African-American community even as he’s not explicitly speaking to them — to the declarative language, which some people have referred to as “The Presidential Voice.” The West Wing aside, it is not true one must be the President in order to use The Presidential Voice. To make declarations, the language of a President (or leader), one simply has to have the permission of a community of listeners, as any rock star knows, and Obama in this moment is a rock star ascendant.

Just 2¢ worth of musings on a Monday morn…

2 thoughts on “Presidential Voice”

  1. I agree that Bush does not have the best public oratory skills, rather he has a much more down-home, casual style. This has never been a big deal for me as I always preferred substance and principles over glam, charisma and lip service.

    My wife and I used to watch the West Wing, and I concluded after the first episode that it was nothing more than an advertisement for the Democratic party. It tried to make the Republican competitor out as a nasty creature, the Democrat President always the intelligent problem-solver, and it advocated pseudo-intellectual arguments for unfair taxes, etc. But it was entertaining nonetheless.

  2. The only real trouble with your preference for substance and principles is that with Bush you have to bend over backwards and look behind yourself to find any…just my opinion I know…

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