The Long-Form President

Oct 11 2012 @ 12:14pm

Richard Just thinks Obama’s experiences with book writing handicapped him during the debate:

Before he became a politician, Obama was a long-form writer. And during his political career, he has specialized in writing and delivering elegantly constructed, thoughtful speeches.

Not surprisingly, like many people who gravitate toward long-form writing, Obama’s strengths don’t translate very well to the world of debate, or at least the kind of debate that our new journalistic culture of instantaneous opinion values so highly. For one thing, when he speaks extemporaneously, he pauses frequently and often says “uh.” That sound drove journalists nuts during the debate last week; but where many of my colleagues heard lack of preparation, I heard the tic of a writer wanting to self-edit, trying to buy himself the time to carefully measure his words.