Gerald (Jerry) Zezas

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My personal Hillary post-mortem

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Many men, including me, were admonished for complaining about Hillary’s rhetorical style. Some said it was shrill and some said it was condescending. Personally, I hated it, and when I said so, it was strongly suggested that I was being sexist. I was told that when men speak that way, we call them strong and forceful, but when Hillary does, we call it “bitchy”.

Nah, that had nothing to do with it.

Many will question Trump’s rise to the Whitehouse, wondering how anyone so obviously unqualified can attain such a lofty position. I submit that it was not what he said, but how he said it. He dismissed convention and rejected the notion that moderation was an important component of a presidential candidacy. When he spoke, he started his sentences loudly, abruptly, and at times, disdainfully, and kept at it. Even when he lied, he was believable to those who were taken by his style.

Hillary, on the other hand, used a rhetorical style that should have been called out years ago. She started softly, moderately, reasonably, and then, invariably, would utter an applause line, and as the applause started, her speech pattern would change from conversational to a much deeper, basso profundo voice, which always sounded contrived and designed to convey historical truths, even when it didn’t. I noticed this in 2008 and wondered if I was the only one doing so.

I know that the nuances of rhetorical delivery should probably not be the deciding factor in a presidential race. But we know that it certainly helped Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. I also reject out-of-hand claims of a sexism. Barbara Jordan, Eleanor Roosevelt, Michelle Obama, Shirley Chislom and Coretta Scott King would each give one hell of a speech, without any contrived vocal fry or ersatz rhetorical affectations,

Hillary just didn’t have the personal chops to be president. She may have had the skill, drive and moral courage to do the right thing for the country, but you have to be elected first. She blew it, and she has no one but herself to blame. Among Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, Democrats have shown a tendency to put forth people who might have been excellent leaders, but were, in fact, horrible candidates.


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