What do Marco Rubio and Larry Hall have in common? They made the mistake of giving their party’s response to the State of the Union and State of the State speeches, respectively.
Inevitably, this ends up looking like a hostage tape or the speech given by the leader of space aliens who just invaded our planet: “PEOPLE OF EARTH, we come in peace….”
Both Senator Rubio and Rep. Hall did as well as they could under the circumstances. Their messages were perfectly fine and well-written.
It’s just that they were doing something that nobody – repeat, nobody – can do: Stare into a camera for 10 or 15 minutes (it seems longer) and keep the audience’s interest.
Listen to me again: Nobody does that. Do you watch television? Do you see anybody ever doing that? Not even the most polished entertainer would try it.
Plus, you’re in that artificial setting right after the audience watched the President or Governor performing in a live arena, surrounded by people who are clapping, frowning and otherwise acting like human beings.
Worse, like Rubio, you end up being remembered only for wiping away sweat and awkwardly reaching for water while fixedly staring at the camera.
(When Governor McCrory reached over for a stack of papers Monday night, somebody tweeted: “I thought he was going for water.”)
Politicians, of course, have an ego that convinces them that the people of earth – or at least America or North Carolina – are eager to hear what they say. No. People change the channel, except for the people who either love you or hate you. You’re not going to win over the people who hate you, and you’re only going to embarrass the people who love you.
If you feel compelled to respond, sit down with an interviewer, answer their questions and look and sound like an actual human being.
And stop staring at me through the camera. You’re making me uncomfortable.