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April 01, 2008


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One thing I wonder about here is a subtle issue of class and affect that comes through in a person's voice. I'm 40, and I've noticed that professional people my age and younger (having been saturated with media) tend to have that flat, accentless delivery that we all see the talking heads use. People a generation older, however, seem more often to betray in their voices where they come from regionally, regardless of their class status and level of education.

That's a long-winded prologue to my point, which is that Obama sounds like the former and Hillary the latter. We all get the caricature of Hillary as some kinda robot, but when you actually hear her talk the whole echt Midwest comes through loud and clear, and I think she either plays it up subtly or just feels comfortable with it. I hear Illinois in Obama a bit, but his delivery seems much more calculated to convey that "I'm a thoughtful professional, not a hick" vibe that a lot of us got indoctrinated with early on. Although both of them are Ivy League overachieving meritocratic elitists in a sense, I get much more of an "I've been to Harvard" feel from Obama's accent and delivery than I do from Hillary. Which may explain aside from simple racism why HRC often does better with down-scale voters than Obama. They may respond better to someone whose accent and affect reminds them of their neighbors ("just like us!") than to someone who's usually their boss or in some position of cultural authority. I admit this is kinda superficial, but I've learned over the years never to under-estimate how much voters need to feel "comfortable" with a candidate before voting for him or her. Just a thought.

I agree with you and Scott here - I think the issue of elitism has been overlooked tremendously in this campaign.

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