Time Bite Analysis: The Republican Debate
The whole debate comes down to one picture, the one above between Giuliani and McCain. They're both deeply flawed bit players who are in on the joke and to whom the Party owes much. Pretty much wasted airtime. The Republicans don't need a candidate. They need a messiah, or failing that, a blockbuster. Romney is presidential and belongs to an unacceptable messianic religious cult, and Fred Thompson (more on him later) wasn't there, so let's focus on the simultaneous body language going down in the time-bite's frame above.
If I recall correctly, Giuliani is quite fittingly and simply using Il Duce's patented "Clarifying Stilleto of Threat" gesture of 1930. Whereas McCain is combining set-piece gestures, artfully twinning Hitler's "Teutonic Homeland" by moving it downward from the sternum into the more modern Sopranoesque stomach area, then crowning it with waspishly upraised thumbs. It's masterful, and appeals to a maximum demographic swathe.
This is a tough one. I like McCain's creativity here, which is inarguably top-drawer and improvisationally brilliant, and possibly betrays a hint of scholarship. If only I knew what he wanted me to feel. It's if he's trying to draw me in, cheer me on, and is threatening to bomb me, all at the same time.
Like an Armani suit, Giuliani's repertoire is elegant, hard-edged, and somewhat stifling, as anyone who has lived in his former dominion knows. Yet at least I understand what he means. I know he wants me to shut up and pay rapt attention to whatever palliatives emit from his visage before he sets his vengeful, 9-millimeter minions upon me. Or upon the journalist who is daring to interrupt him.
For the debate, I'm glad McCain was there to spice things up stylistically, and he's probably the only genuine adult in the whole murderer's row. Still, a debate is probably not the time for creativity. I'll have to give this one to Giuliani on technical points. The Clarifying Stiletto of Threat comes through, yet again.