Debate Videos

Here's Hillary Clinton's argument about the inadequacy of merely talking about change:



But here, Barack Obama argues that effective rhetoric and inspiration are, in fact, crucial to producing change:



Ultimately, the idea of running on a record of change or talking about how you've been producing change for thirty-five years (which sounds like an overestimate -- how much change was she really bringing about at the age of 25?) seems destined to wind up having you offer a lot of paradoxical-sounding phrases. Just because polls show people want change doesn't mean you ought to just start inserting "change" constantly into your talk even if it winds up making you say funny-sounding things. Clinton's brand is experience and competence and those are good brands.

As I side note, I think her team is possibly reading the lines of causation wrong -- voters in Iowa knew that "change" was Obama's message, and so people who showed up to vote for Obama also told pollsters they were primarily interested in change. Clinton voters, by contrast, are trained to talk about "experience." This kind of thing is, I think, a major failing of conventional polling methods which tends to fairly naively assume that respondents' reported candidate preferences are built out of their reported character trait and issue preferences. It's likely, however, to be the other way around -- people who like Candidate X come to embrace key parts of Candidate X's argument.