I am at church camp and get to see the Olympics in the evening. As it is a Massachusetts station, I also get to see political ads for Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren.
I will cover the content in a bit. Suffice it to say at present that I have noted the content and am not responding to tone merely. They are related, but I am not responding, as folks* sometimes do, to her hairstyle, or accent, or choice of clothing, or timber of her voice or other irrelevancies. I am commenting on tone in the sense of shading, emotion, and expression.
Warren's tone is off-putting to me, but the style has been common to Democrats over the years, and I think it is enormously revealing about the political divide in this country. She is a hectoring schoolmarm - not the kindly but stern old-style female teachers of conservative mythology, but the stereotypical nagging, lecturing, and prim Miss Grundy's of the bad old days. Our young people have enormous debts for student loans, but they haven't spent it on candy or anything, they have spent it on (overpaying for the dubious services of people like Ms Warren, oh excuse me) education, and WASHINGTON hasn't been fixing that, they have been giving presents to X and Y instead. Elizabeth Warren is going to go there and give them a piece of her mind, let me tell you.
Arne Arneson in NH used to do much the same, explaining oh-so-patiently to all you stupid people what was good for you if you would only listen; Obama has a fair bit of it. Hillary Clinton would do it sometimes, not always, but Warren is just dripping with it. I have wondered how such an approach can possibly appeal to voters.
Easy. Her potential supporters don't think they are the one's being addressed. They think teacher is going after those other kids at the moment - the bullies and snobs and dweebs, not the cool kids like us - and are smirking in the back row. Democrats promise in every election to fight for you, because that is how they think the world works. You won't get anything good if they don't kick powerful people in the balls on your behalf. Republicans promise to work for you.
I could appeal to Democrats on the altruistic grounds that this is an evil, divisive approach to getting things done, forever pretending that it is Powerful People who are cutting in and getting all the prizes that you deserve, but I have given up on that. You want to believe her on that score too much. But I might still be able to get through to you on the grounds of self-interest: it's you she's lecturing, not some vague other people called "Washington." She is Washington. It's not you she's going to rescue, it's you she's going to make do things.
*Those "folks," I am claiming, are overwhelmingly Democrats, who haven't liked Sarah Palin's, Laura Bush's, or Ann Romney's life-choices, voice, hair, or background.