A Battle of “Looks”: McCain Vs. Obama

Written by   (author of Obvious Conclusions)

mcain obama overuse of the word lookAs I watched John McCain and Barack Obama on 60 minutes last night, I realized what my new commander-in-chief is going to command me to do most often:  “Look!

I went to Lake Tahoe for July 4th this year.  My friends and I were not quite sure when the fireworks were set to begin and we awaited the fireworks with a big crowd down near the lake.  Everybody was drinking, frolicking, and having a good time not knowing, nor paying much attention to the location where the fireworks show would commence.

And then, all of the sudden, somebody said:

“LOOK!”

You might be able to guess why they said that.  The fireworks had begun and, thus, they were imploring us to look, to shift our visual attention from its current target and LOOK! at the fireworks. 

And so, I became confused last night when John McCain was asked by CBS 60 minutes reporter Scott Pelley:  “But how do you cut the budget?”

John McCain initially responded “Oh, easy. Look.”

Was there something akin to fireworks nearby?  After he commanded me to “look”, I looked more intently.  I had been looking, after all I was watching 60 minutes, and, when you are watching, you are looking.  So, since he had my initial look, I thought when he emphasized the word again, “look”, I would see something more.  But I didn’t.

He continued again:

Look, if you were able to increase the budget and the size of government by 40 percent, don’t you think you could cut some of it?”

In the span of 10 seconds, I had received the command to LOOK twice from someone who may be my commander-in-chief.  So, of course, I look again, even more intently, and see that nothing had changed.  Why does he keep asking me to do this? 

I wanted to listen because I am interested in what both candidates have to say.  But I kept being diverted from this original intent of listening because McCain kept telling me to look.  I wonder…when he tells me to look, is he trying to distract me from listening. 

I know that McCain probably knows the meaning of the word look because I later heard him use it in the proper context.  He was asked by Scott Pelly about his selection of Sarah Palin for Vice-President:  “”Is it true you only met her a couple of times before you selected her?”

McCain responded:

I had watched her very carefully… I looked at her record…I looked at her. “

He looked at her.  Every American looked at her.  She was pretty good to look at.  I looked at his poll numbers skyrocket after the nation got a look at her.  Men thought she was hot and women identified with her.  We all looked at her. 

John McCain’s poll numbers decreased a bit after people stopped looking at Sarah Palin so much and started to listen.

I listened to Barack Obama on 60 minutes after John McCain.  He also commanded me to LOOK!  This must be a prerequisite for presidential readiness.  I missed the LOOK! presidential preparatory course in college and so I don’t think I’ll ever be president. 

John McCain mentioned in this interview that he “”graduated from the Naval Academy, but just barely.”  Apparently, he was fifth from the bottom in his Naval Academy class.  Given this, I will forgive John McCain his misuse of the command LOOK and I will not hold it against him.  Sometimes, the people who are less intellectual are better leaders.  Well, at least I thought this until George Bush was president. 

Barack Obama shall be given no such dispensation.  Barack attended Columbia University and later Harvard Law School where, based on his grades and a writing competition, he was selected as editor of the Harvard Law Review

Barack was interviewed by Steve Croft, who seemed to be quite a big fan of Barack.  As my LOOK! radar was on high alert after John McCain, I listened for a LOOK! from Barack Obama.  Would he also make this similar command?

Yes, but at first, I liked it.  LOOK first appeared in a folksy outfit, not in a military uniform, and without an exclamation point:  “Hey, look, there were a lot of factors involved.”  This was a conversational LOOK…much more appealing. 

But later, as I was treated to the following three statements, I realized that Barack sounded, not looked, a lot like John McCain.

Look, if the question is executive experience, then Senator McCain and I are on equal footing…

But look, I don’t make a claim that we are going to be able to eliminate our deficit within my first term…

Well, look there is a historic aspect to this candidacy…”

Barack did say look one more time.  But this time, it was used properly.  Referring to Sarah Palin, Barack said:

You know, look. She’s a skilled politician.”

When we refer to Sarah Palin, we always need to emphasize look.  She’s like fireworks…you not only want to hear them, you’ve got to see them. 

If Sarah Palin is not involved, I say to both of the candidates:  Look, stop telling me to look when what you really mean is to listen.  And for that matter, don’t tell me to listen either, because I’ve already tuned in; I’m listening.  Tell me this:  Why should I vote for you and not the other guy?  Because, look, if I don’t hear you mention this, I might just have to look for another alternative.

Is Ralph Nader running again this election?

Other Notes/Links on this topic:

You can read the text of the John McCain 60 minute interview and, likewise, the Barack Obama 60 minute interview.

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Richard Cummings

Richard Cummings is writer, traveler, and web content developer.

Get your copy of his latest book entitled Obvious Conclusions, stories of a Midwestern emigrant influenced and corrupted by many years living in San Francisco and abroad. It just received its first outstanding review "...reminiscent of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs" on Amazon UK.
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Richard CummingsA Battle of “Looks”: McCain Vs. Obama

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  1. Pingback: “Look”: Joe Biden on Meet the Press

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