One of the things that is hitting me today after last night’s McCain/Obama Civil Discourse at Saddleback with Rick Warren is that there is such a chasm between people of like tastes, of like minds. Just looking at the style of the two candidates, there’s so much subjectivity and opinion that goes into our like or dislike of them and their policies.
McCain appeared to answer his questions more directly, more succinctly, more forthrightly. And that played well to alot of my friends as I read on their blogs and had a couple of passing conversations his morning at church. They liked that he appeared to not beat around the bush, said what he meant and meant what he said. Obama, on the other hand, spoke slower, thought about his responses, gave some nuanced answers that seemed to come more from his head than his heart. To many, he seemed to be fumbling, looking more for the right words than just coming out with what he felt.
And honestly, I felt the exact same opposite way. Obama’s thoughtful responses actually resonated more with me, along with the fact that he treated this as a conversation with Warren more than as a stump speech. I liked the way his answers ended up, especially when asked about evil in the world. And even the one that’s brought up asking about abortion, I appreciated his candor in the middle of evangelical country to head in a more “whole life” (Warren’s phrase) than just being pro-choice. McCain’s quick-draw answers and anecdotes, to me, felt too canned. And I didn’t like, in my own subjective and opinionated bias, the way he baited the audience with “my friends” all the time. I wanted him to look at Warren, answer his questions at least conversationally, more than he did. That said, I think he played well to his constituency, a plus for him.
I think the kicker for me is that McCain seemed to say what he thought everyone wanted to hear, a little too quickly and a little too canned, while Obama seemed to me to be actually more honest and forthright, even in his rambling, to say what he really felt. In a forum where he, too, could’ve said what folks wanted to hear, he didn’t do that so much – but I think that played well to many who, like me, are too jaded to vote for party over all comers.
There was a point where Obama seemed to say that he had his ideas and passions and McCain had his ideas and passions, and they would leave them out there for the American public to decide, that he trusted people to vote the way they felt lead. I appreciate that more in a candidate than any of their actual stances. Humility doesn’t get enough of a weight in most of our political happenings these days.