The blog titled Days of Yore elicited this comment from reader, DS, about Senator Ron Paul: "He's a vicious, ideologue wolf in populist sheep's clothing."
My point was that Senator Paul’s policies, if enacted, would destroy the U.S. Yet I feel Paul believes what he says, unlike demagogue, Rick Perry, who believes in nothing but himself, or Mitt Romney, who believes in nothing at all.
“The style is the man himself,” said George-Louis LeClerc. I can like a person while disagreeing with what he says. It’s left to each of us to separate substance from style.
A public figure whose mild manner could not conceal viciousness, was Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush’s Secretary of Defense. Soft spoken, with contempt for his critics, he came across as bored and impatient, whether talking about downsizing the army or water-boarding prisoners of war. Listening to him felt like being in the fourth grade with a substitute teacher.
This morning, on the radio, Rep. Leonard Lance, (R) New Jersey, calmly said that the “overwhelming motivation of those in the Tea Party is fiscal responsibility,” delivered as if stating that the earth is round. If Lance really believes it is responsible to reduce services to the middle class while not touching a dollar of the millions being passed to billionaires, he should join up with Ron Paul.
Another style is the hellfire-and-brimstone thundering of Rick Perry, the echo-chamber howling of Michele Bachmann, the thuggish army-latrine profanity-laced bellyaching of Donald Trump. Although each has individual bumps, it’s one style: strident, raucous, substance pre-agreed, audiences there to be fired up, like professional wrestling, which ex-wrestler, Governor Jesse Ventura, called “an art form.” in both, the audience comes for the madcap buffoonery, performers and audience pandering to each other in a serio-comic dialogue, almost a game.
Americans, it is said, are more swayed by emotion, which worries Obama backers. Capable of a stirring speech, Barack Obama is firmly planted in sweet reason. The Radical Right is ready willing and able to topple the U.S. from the world’s moral high ground. The Loopy Left, also ready and willing, is able only to cripple the coalition that elected Obama in 2008. From legitimate Left to sensible Center to reasonable Right, the choice is clear.