Words and music

Hillary can’t speak worth a damn. That’s a problem.

There are lots of good reasons to be enthusiastic about the Obama campaign, but I have to admit that I’m strongly biased in his favor by the simple fact that it’s fun to listen to him speak. Compare Obama’s Take Back America speech &#8212 basically his stump speech &#8212 with Hillary Clinton’s speech to the same group. There’s nothing wrong with what she says, but she seems utterly incapable of saying it as if she means it, and listening to it gets actively painful after about the first minute.

Listening to Hillary Clinton butcher more or less the same speeches Bill Clinton triumphed with reminds me of Mark Twain’s comment about his genteel wife, who, horrified by his foul language, tried repeating some of it back to him to show him how bad it sounded, but simply couldn’t pull it off: “She knew the words, but she didn’t know the music.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com