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7.09.2004

Contempt for Democracy II

What really irked me about the LA Times piece from two days ago was one sentence:
Vice President Dick Cheney gives speeches that are so barren of any effort to charm or persuade that the delivery alone seems to reflect contempt for democracy.

This in comparison to Edwards, who could, we are told, "win a talking contest against his GOP rival with one tongue tied behind his back." (Would this make Edwards double-tongued? And are the editors sure this is a good thing?) Leaving aside that this is trading on a crass stereotype of the yarn-spinning southerner and the tight-mouthed westerner (whether you think Cheney hails from Texas or Wyoming), this proposition offends me deeply.

Edwards's charm will be an asset to the Democratic ticket, no question. And Cheney's delivery is that of the lecturer rather than the huckster. But contempt for democracy? There is, the Times editors assume, an appropriate style for addressing the demos, and that tone is histrionic.

Granted, there is a long tradition of dramatic speechmaking in the executive, a tradition that gained effectiveness with the advent of sound recording. Granted, Cheney is not a part of this tradition. But it seems to me that Cheney's speaking values substance over style, and thus the intellect of the demos over the emotion. How much more respectful of democracy can you be?

-Doug Brown
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