There They Go Again

Goldstein145a Nancy Goldstein in the Washington Post has some comments on the debate between the candidates for the Senate seat from Delaware. Let's hope this is not an accurate description of the state of politics:

So what do we get if we assess this morning's debate primarily in terms of tone and cadence, with substance following a distant third? He: Angry daddy. Impatient, know-it-all older brother. Responds with a veritable wall of verbiage delivered in a flat, tense, aren't-you-a-moron tone, even when expressing compassion (as Coons did when talking about the importance of lessening stigma against people with HIV/AIDS). She: Passionate black-sheep aunt. Unfairly treated younger sister. Can't answer half the questions, but her initial response is often simple and straightforward. Openly frustrated and befuddled with a system, and an opponent, that she doesn't like or understand.

My point isn't that O'Donnell's the winner when it comes to tone and Coons is the winner when it comes to content. It's that he's saying many of the right things, but in a way that makes you want to sit next to someone else at Thanksgiving. She, on the other hand, may be a mess, and the accusations she lobbed at Coons during the debate may or may not be true. But they hit a nerve with everyone who finds politicians like Coons hard to understand or privileged or aloof: That he's a rich kid who went to Yale and married into yet more money. That he interrupts her when he feels like it, but sics the moderator on her when the tables are turned. That he treats military funerals as a photo op. That he doesn't answer the questions.

Over time, it's not surprising that the Coonses of the world–the professional politicians, the guys who talk the talk and wear the suit and know all the stuff that confuses you, and went to a good school, are going unheard by Americans who constantly feel dismissed and disrespected by the system that rules them but rarely serves them.