A reader writes:
I think you're missing something, and snippily telling people to Google Obama on this or that is not an answer. Those of us who follow this stuff closely know that Obama has position papers on this or that. But Hillary is doing a better job of conveying substance, and that resonates with people for whom her policies will have an impact on their everyday lives. For the most part, these are people who don't spend their time on their laptops all day --- they're busying holding down one or two jobs, taking their kids to school, maybe trying to get a college degree at night ---- and they certainly don't have time to Google a bunch of white papers, or read blogs. They get their info from speeches, ads, magazines, debates, and the mass media generally.
What do they hear from Obama? Some of those most inspiring and uplifting rhetoric they've heard from any major politician in decades. They hear a way better sermon than they'll ever hear at church. What do they hear from Hillary? Admittedly more plodding speeches about how she will advance this or that policy on healthcare, education, etc. Most importantly, they see someone who, while somewhat plodding, just seems like she will work very hard on solving problems that matter to them.
Furthermore, when people read articles on Obama, including your very well-written one in The Atlantic, what type of info do they get? Soaring prose on how Obama's "face" will change the world, how inspiring he is, how he will "bring us together" in some vague, unquantifiable way. I've got to say --- his advocates aren't doing him any favors with lightweight defenses of him.
These are intangibles to some degree, Andrew, but Obama kind of comes off like a motivational speaker (at which he excels) while Hillary comes off as a nose-to-the-grindstone executive. Which one speaks to people where they live?
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