Sunday’s Washington Post front page had an article about Charlie Crist’s troubles in his GOP primary for the Senate race there. In it was a lesson for all candidates—or for that matter anyone in any arena who wants to be taken seriously.
But there were plenty of onlookers like Bob Gammon, who, as he sipped his beer, tried to put his frustration with Crist into words. "He’s like a lot of weak Republicans now," said Gammon. "He’s like the great compromiser: He doesn’t stand strong; he doesn’t talk with authority. . . . And then I hear good ol’ what’s-his-name, Rubio, and he has no uh-uh-uhs when he talks. He talks with authority. Rubio is going to win easy. Crist’s kind of Republican is over. Crist can’t even take a stand."
Not taking a stand in politics, though important, is not what I’m talking about. It’s the “he doesn’t talk with authority. . . . And then I hear good ol’ what’s-his-name, Rubio, and he has no uh-uh-uhs when he talks. He talks with authority.
People who talk with authority, who avoid “uh,” “you know” and the now ubiquitous “it’s like,” I think are more credible, especially in politics. Obama has a lot of ‘uhs” in his extemporaneous speaking. I think it’s one of the reasons some people don’t trust him. He sounds as if he’s trying to parse his words so carefully one wonders if he’s trying to pull something over on the listener.
Republicans are much better at such speaking. For the life of me I don’t know why, although I’m sure many GOP supporters would say it’s because they have confidence in what they’re saying. Why don’t Democrats? Maybe it’s because being liberals, they’re always afraid of offending someone. I’ve noticed this phenomenon on the cable talk shows. The next time I see such a segment I’ll post it. Take a listen yourself and tell me if you don’t hear what I’m talking about.
Meanwhile, I think Bob Gammon, a voter in Florida, hit on a universal truth. If you sound hesitant, you sound unsure of yourself. If you are using a lot of “uhs” people are less likely to believe you or be inspired by you.