Thursday, December 29, 2011

Walker Performances Send Signals

We've been trained since the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon televised debates that in politics, the medium is a big part of the message.

In a 24/7 news cycle and cable-driven, Internet-frenetic world, sometimes the medium/media is the entire message.

We evaluate our leaders on their words - - of course - - but also on how these officials sound when they're speaking, as well as where they choose to be recorded.

Pres. George W. Bush's jet-aircraft landing on a ship at sea for "Mission Accomplished" conveyed a variety of message - - including some he never lived down.

Rick Perry's televised brain-lock during a recent GOP presidential primary debate is a more recent another. Even silence, if we can see it, can speak volumes, too.

And if there's a campaign underway - - every ad frame, sound-bite and comma can tell us something about the character and intentions of our candidates and incumbents.

So let's give a look and listen to Scott Walker, as the opportunities are building up.

Twice we've seen his strange little nods at key points in self-promotional videos he and his people have created.

The gestures are supposed to convey wisdom, and self-assurance, but they look hokey and calculated and inauthentic.

Then there's the image of dug-in chief executive, holed up in the East Wing with a baseball bat - - the guy who doesn't budge, compromise or cave as he told the fake David Koch during that infamous, taped call.

There isn't any video of the call, but the look, below, sums up the character Walker was playing when trying to make an impression.
There's also a recent videotaped interview that highlights something between a Walker frown and confessional grimace.

In that taped interview with Madison journalist Bill Lueders, and which is posted on the website of the Ashland Current newspaper, watch how Walker fidgets and minimizes and tosses out some word salad until he finally gets his footing and the talking points flow.

But until that happens, Walker looks and sounds like a high school kid with a 12-pack in his locker who has figured out that Vice-Principal Lueders knows its there and is trying to get out ahead of the problem and manage the consequences.

You look at that video, and you've got to say: "That's the Governor?"



Anonymous said...

i wish the cartoonist Herblock was still around. imagine what he'd do with walker.

James Rowen said...

You're right. My dad was a colleague and I met him several times. He was brilliant, and down-to-earth.

Paul Trotter said...

Watch how he sits waiting to join a conversation among governors. He's the only one looking very out of place.

Or in any interview. He's already got his answers rehearsed. Ready to respond before the interviewer finishes the question.

There's some anxiety going on there in how he breaths while speaking.

Something is lurking beneath that once cold calculated exterior.