Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Political Arrivistes

Daniel Larison:

Despite his fairly humble origins, Obama speaks the language of the elite and the highly educated (or at least the thoroughly schooled), which he uses as a marker of the status that he has acquired; despite their more privileged backgrounds, McCain and Clinton are more comfortable speaking in a lower register, or at least have accustomed themselves to speaking this way, because they have nothing to prove and no need to reinforce their right to belong to the elite. It may be relevant that some of the Democratic candidates over the years who have been derided as elitist, “out of touch” or lacking in some patriotic enthusiasm are the children or grandchildren of immigrants–Kerry, Dukakis and now Obama–so that the very signs of assimilation to the norms of the political class are taken as evidence of a lack of connection to other Americans, when, of course, the retention of visibly ethnic or foreign habits would be considered equally disqualifying in an election.

1 comment:

DDK23 said...

While McCain and Clinton speak in "a lower register"....I find them a little fake while doing it. I find myself wanting to listen to Obama. With McCain and Clinton I have to stop myself from tuning them out.