Question: What does “The Narrative” mean to you?
I’m asking, cause I’m not sure what it means, myself.
One of the things that stands out to me in this Presidential Campaign is the phrase, “The Narrative”.
“…the choice of Biden really changes the Narrative of the Obama campaign…”
“…McCain chose Palin to add her family’s Narrative to the campaign…”
“…Barack’s Narrative is growing up in a middle class black family. But history shows he grew up in a middle class white family…”
“…The Narrative in Iraq…”
“…The Narrative of this Convention…”
“…The Narrative of my Carbon Footprint…”
“…The Narrative of my views on your Narrative…”
From my limited perspective, it appears to be something that was synthesized by the reaction to the Obama campaign, copied by the McCain Campaign, and now expected by any public/political figure.
Peggy Noonan defines it as:
The story the campaign wishes to tell about itself, and communicate to others.
I’m already tired of the word. It is making less and less sense, the more I hear it.
What frustrates me is the idea of a “story”. To me, the story is preceding things like: Qualifications, Achievements, Character, Beliefs, or even Results. Sure a Story can include those things, but is it?
Noonan goes on to say:
I don’t like the idea of The Narrative. I think it is … a barnyard epithet. And, oddly enough, it is something that Republicans are not very good at, because it’s not where they live, it’s not what they’re about, it’s too fancy. To the extent the McCain campaign was thinking in these terms, I don’t like that either.
Granted, I hear the word a lot, because all the political commentators are using it, and I listen to a lot of political commentary.
It made sense with Obama, because his lack of any news worthy experience required something more than “Here are my political accomplishments, so elect me President.” His campaign is centered entirely on his presence as an Agent of Change, so his Narrative was required to give something for his supporters to cling to, to identify with, or to recognize and appreciate.
It is why he has two autobiographies. He needs to get his Narrative out there, because what else has he got to campaign on?
I’m not sure it is a valid element for other candidates. But we’ll see. I imagine that we’ve not seen the last of The Narrative in any campaign, but that might depend on how well Obama does in November.
Is anyone as confused as I am? Is the art of politics now all about Story Telling?