Last night I watched most of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka's one-hour appearance on C-SPAN with Steve Scully. As I mentioned in the preceding post, I am 100% behind the Green Party's presidential ticket, and not just because I find the other parties and candidates abhorrent. Stein's Power to the People Plan, and the Green Party's national platform, are the blueprints for the world I want for my extended family, friends, and descendants.
This does not mean that I refrain from criticizing my preferred candidates' performance in the rare media opportunities they receive. Jill does not do media as well as a presidential candidate ought to. She has improved with practice, but she's not where she needs to be. In the way she educates interviewers with hardball questions, she's literally awesome, as a recent video demonstrates. But she has some habits that are irritating to someone like me who watches her regularly and has a background in public speaking.
Steinian foibles on display in this session include:
Picky, picky, picky, I know. It's difficult to keep things brief and reduce your positions to sound bytes hen you have an all-encompassing view of how issues interconnect. Questions about issue A lead to discussions of your proposal's positive effect on related issues B and C. But conciseness is important for a TV or radio audience, the people who have the remote control at their fingertips and can find some programming more to their liking in seconds. Dr. Stein may be scintillating for Greens and Progressives, but the huge majority of the voting pool isn't as charmed, even when they do get to see her on TV.
If enough Americans were exposed to Stein's speaking style, she would be ripe for parody on Saturday Night Live. I can imagine Amy Poehler doing her incredible impression of Hillary in a sketch where she's confronted with her worst nightmare, one of the cast (pick one) showing up dressed and speaking like Jill, and 98% of the audience wondering who the fuck that woman is supposed to be.
As for Baraka, as accomplished as he is academically, he is certainly not the rabble-rouser that 2012 VP nominee Cheri Honkala was and is. He answers questions calmly and speaks his truth, but he seldom makes his salient points with much urgency. In the C-SPAN appearance, his dry, academic answer regarding the core meaning of "Black Lives Matter" vs. "All Lives Matter" doesn't convey a sense of why truly woke African Americans and their friends find the "All Lives" response distasteful.
If the Stein/Baraka campaign ever had room in its budget to hire a media coach, it certainly doesn't show. I hope the party will be able to nominate and promote a visionary like Stein, but with more polish, in 2020.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.