Pack Mentality, Debate Style

John McCain’s body language was so clenched, so tightly wound, I was waiting (ok, almost hoping) for him to explode into one of his famous tantrums.

His forced soft-speak, reminiscent of Bush’s almost whispery speech when he was trying to win people over seemed strained, not natural. The muscles in his clenched jaw visibly flexed and twitched with tension.

Then there is the arm thing. Has anyone else noticed his arms seem to stick out at a 45 degree unnatural angle, binding just below the shoulders in an obvious ill fit from all the padding? Even his body under the suit looked padded, to make him look bigger.


He looks like a robot, with his stiff hands and jerky movements.

Obama however looked comfortable, loose, natural, even graceful. Dominant.

McCain, although not as aggressive as his she-bitch (and I use that in the alpha female of the pack aggressor way) has been lately, started the attacks almost immediately, and Obama showed the fortitude to counter his attacks with the famous liberal truthiness spin.

Were this a meeting of two wolf packs, Obama showed his dominance by standing firm in the face of a whining yet snarling intruder, who showed his obvious conflict at being the subordinate in the situation. A subordinate approaching will growl enough, but the give away is in his lack of direct eye contact, and the growls subsiding into an almost pleading tone that becomes a whine.

Note how the two wolves on the right, while growling, look away and down from the dominant wolf on the left.


Were this a meeting of two packs, Obama showed his alpha position by stepping up to growl back with full eye contact, then walking by the intruder with his head high, showing his dismissal of the threat and his lack of fear.

When raising them, any time a beta tried to test the alpha (usually as half-hearted and tensely as McCain) the alpha would put them in their place and then in the ultimate move of body language, dismiss them and move on to what they were doing prior. Trust me, wolves are the consummate actors when it comes to putting you on “irrelevant; ignore” mode.

Note the total ignore mode:


There could not have been more obvious body language about who is winning and who is losing in this debate.

The icing to my analogy? McCain not shaking Obama’s hand at the end. Then making a quick retreat, leaving the audience and his opponent quickly, tail between his legs.


Sure, the stuff that came out of their mouths mattered, but the real show was in wolf-language.


Skip to comment form

    • Diane G on October 8, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Run McCain, run…


    • Diane G on October 8, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    (its 10 my time..) be back around 3 to answer any comments.

    Have a great day, D

  1. stooping on his stool, he was the very picture of defeat.

    • RiaD on October 8, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    actions speak SOOOooo much louder than words.

    thank you!

    • Edger on October 8, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    like Peter Lorre throughout the debate.

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