Since early in the primaries this blog has taken the
position that Obama’s strong element – the basis of his campaign – is Passion
(his ability rally people around a central motivating core concept) and that
McCain’s is the element we call the Antagonist (his ability to define the story as his struggle against whatever is between him and his goal).
No story element is better or worse than any other. You need
all five to tell a compelling story, and every storyteller has their own style and
preference. But it is fascinating that as we come into the home stretch that we have such a strong visual contrast between the two campaigns.
One the one hand you have Obama gathering enormous pep rally style crowds like the one he had in St. Louis where what he says is broad and inclusive. It is worth the click. This is “come on in the
water is fine” at its most public.
And on the other you have McCain and company saturating the
phone lines with highly targeted robocalls that define Obama as pretty much
whatever it is that the listener might find unappealing. Phone calls, even robotic ones, are by
nature private and personal.
Election day has both qualities. When you vote you get to feel that you are part of something much bigger than yourself – and you get to brag
about it by wearing you “I voted sticker.” And when you are actually casting your ballot you are totally alone with
your own deepest and most private thoughts and fears. It is a great story contrast – a suiting end to
a long and historic campaign.