Americká prezidentská krása

NEW YORK – Jaký je smysl prezidentské debaty? V kontextu amerických prezidentských voleb je „debata“ poněkud nepřípadný pojem. Když se bývalý francouzský prezident Nicolas Sarkozy utkal se svým socialistickým vyzývatelem Françoisem Hollandem, tak to byla debata – oba kandidáti řešili podstatná témata a jejich diskuse trvala více než dvě hodiny. Naproti tomu prezidentské debaty ve Spojených státech jsou spíše jevištními výstupy, před nimiž se odpovědi na všechny myslitelné otázky donekonečna nacvičují s týmy koučů a poradců.

Kandidáti v amerických debatách promlouvají k pečlivě vybraným novinářům, kteří zřídkakdy položí návaznou otázku. A výkony kandidátů se nehodnotí ani tak podle obsahu jejich argumentů, jako spíše podle jejich prezentace, řeči těla, tiků v obličeji, nestřežených povzdechů, úsměvů a ušklíbnutí či bezděčného obrácení očí v sloup. Projevil se kandidát jako snob, nebo jako přátelský chlapík, kterému lze věřit? Působí úsměvy opravdově, nebo vyumělkovaně?

Tato „optika“ může mít obrovskou důležitost. Koneckonců se tvrdí, že Richard Nixon prohrál v roce 1960 svůj souboj s Johnem Kennedym v televizi: Kennedy působil jako vyrovnaný a pohledný muž, zatímco Nixon se mračil do kamery a po jednodenním strništi mu stékal pot. Jimmy Carter zase v debatách s Ronaldem Reaganem v roce 1980 působil dojmem samolibého člověka bez špetky humoru, zatímco Reagan vrhal obraz kamarádského starého strejdy. Carter prohrál.

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