The next president of the United States will be elected primarily on the power of his or her ability to communicate well.
This isn’t as it should be; it simply is as it is.
Regrettably, style often trumps substance. Recall some years ago when Dennis Miller famously ranted that V.P. candidate Stockdale committed the unforgivable sin in politics: looking bad on T.V. The man’s experience, character and ability were negated by sound bytes and imagery.
The goal of leaders should be to communicate important ideas well. It is frightening to realize that bad ideas well-communicated often upstage good ideas communicated poorly.
Any of the current candidates have ideas that range from brilliant to troubling. Typically our assessment of those ideas will be less on accuracy or soundness than delivery and sizzle. Thinking is hard work; listening–at least superficially–is quite easy in comparison.
I hope we call vote for whoever we truly believe the best candidate to be. I also hope we go beyond the rhetoric to the reality of what he or she stands for, and what he or she promises to do.
If we don’t, the next election will be won not by talent but by the tongue.