The Old Warrior
The old Warrior still has some fight left in him. No one can doubt John McCain’s commitment to his country or his belief in his ideals. He speaks with conviction, a conviction fostered and formed throughout a life of service to his country and that was strengthened–even as his body weakened–in a dank cell in Hanoi. So we see the determination in his eye and the set of his jaw and we’re asked to trust his judgment. But is that enough? For some.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t wax as eloquently as some; his injuries contribute to his awkwardness at the podium; he smiles weirdly after delivering a line. In short, he isn’t a gifted presenter, which worries may people, especially in our style-over-substance era. Like it or not, many people need a president who is able to attractively convey his ideas and decisions to short-attention spanned Americans who will give short shrift to the ideas and policies of word bumblers and halted speakers and, in the Northeast especially, anyone with a southern accent. If they don’t like the presentation, they won’t take your ideas seriously. Change the channel, this is boring.
But it’s probably too late for McCain to get better at giving a speech. So now it’s all about the debates. The physical juxtaposition of an older, leaning white man and a younger, leaner black man will be obvious. So McCain will have to prove his mental agility and experience over a younger, more charismatic opponent. He’ll have to keep his temper, but show his passion. He’ll have to be tough but not condescending. The Old Warrior has a few more battles before he can take the Hill.