Sunday, August 12, 2012

Playing to his strengths

At the end of most of his shows, Daily Show host Jon Stewart plays a brief video clip he calls "your moment of zen."  No commentary, just the clip.

I just got to Thursday's show this evening, and the moment of zen was a clip of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dancing.  My first thought was, it's such an easy target.  Very few people dance well enough to make them worth watching.  Of course, Hillary has to be diplomatic and sometimes participate in things that might make her uncomfortable.  Bush certainly had to.

But Mitt Romney didn't need to sing "America the Beautiful."  He could have just quoted from it.  And Barack Obama had no need to let loose his inner Al Green.  But here's the thing: Barack pulled it off.  Mitt sucked.  Tremendously.  He had to know it would be replayed many times and that he would be savagely mocked for it.  I suppose it's possible he did it on purpose, out of some misguided attempt to appear less robotic, but I think it's more likely a symbol of the bubble in which he lives.  Either no one had told him he is tone-deaf, or they have and he thinks they're wrong.  Or he doesn't think anyone's really paying attention.

Here's what's important in this seemingly trivial point about which candidate is the better vocalist.  It's not about being tone-deaf in a clinical sense, it's about being tone-deaf in terms of how you are perceived.  I want a president who knows what he does well, and what he doesn't and needs to look to others for assistance with.  A person's greatest strength can be knowing their greatest weakness.  It's clear Mitt is clueless about at least one of his.

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