Prove It

In this crazy political season, we’ve got candidates trying to persuade us to vote for them now and again in November.  If we hear from a candidate today, that candidate is prone to attack his brother or sister in the party for how much of the party line they cannot tow.  But what makes good persuasion?

For the New York Times, Stanley Fish wrote on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and Fish creates an effective balance of the outrageous sport of Senator Clinton bashing.  By looking at the extremes, it’s easy to see how Senator Clinton is not necessarily viewed rationally.  Fish lists the litany of Senator Clinton’s offenses as piled up against her by the media and those who are morally opposed to her very existence, and far too infrequently is the criticism of her much deeper than the names we like to call her. 

And then there’s ethos and pathos.  Timothy Egan wrote on Barack Obama yesterday for the Times.  As a teacher and student of Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Julius Caesar who longs to portray Antony, and as a voter suspicious of sparkle over substance, I watch Senator Obama with hope and trepidation.  Egan makes it harder to doubt that Senator Obama is the real thing.  The way he bookends his piece with allusion to Idaho’s neo-Nazi past and President Eisenhower’s granddaughter’s endorsement lead me to believe that the ethos and pathos of the Obama campaign are far reaching across party lines, and his Blue State-Red State keynote speech from the ’04 Democratic Convention was more than just ethos and pathos.  There is a logic to it that is almost undeniable.       

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