David Young and his campaign recently released an introductory video to youtube that runs about two and a half minutes. The video is here. I am sure I do not agree with Mr. Young on much and I have any number of critiques of his video. However, it is a good video. It does seem genuine; genuinely nerdy, but genuine.
The biggest thing that struck me is the emotional experience of going back to your hometown to tell the people who will always know you best that you are going to ask them for their vote. It is a combination of the beginning of a person’s biggest professional challenge in their lifetime with a “this is your life” trip bringing back personalities and memories from childhood. David Young does not strike me a person who wears his emotions on his sleeve, but from personal experience I guarantee that this was a powerful event for him.
Mr. Young is not yet comfortable in front of a camera or speaking about himself. He is still rather wooden. At 0:22, he uses the word “judicious.” He decided “to take his public service up to a higher level for Iowa.” Each sentence is a little bit of a struggle; you can almost see the wheels turning as he speaks. The “higher level” phrase comes out more quickly because when he starts it he remembers the phrase and latches on to a talking point he can deliver with confidence. Young comes back to the interview format at 1:17 with the same pattern. Little glances away from camera or at the ground (0:21) demonstrate a lack of complete comfort with this particular task of delivering a specific message. Again, “better prescription for Iowa” comes out more quickly because that is a line his head did not have to search for, he was just able to deliver it. His last direct to camera comments at 2:20 are his best; there is no hesitation and he is able to say what he wants to say smoothly.
There are a few other items that struck me: I am pretty sure the shirt he was wearing just came out of the package and had not yet been washed or cleaned. Look at the folds at 1:14 or 1:20. At 0:45 he tells a man he “woke up in Van Meter” and is home; he seems to elicit a reaction of disbelief as if the person has a hard time believing Young has actually come back to their hometown. At 0:57 we see a lack of a wedding ring; I don’t claim to know a lot about Republican primaries but do know people notice that sort of thing and would probably have preferred to see a wedding ring. He mentions his campaign name “Young for Iowa” at 1:10; naming a campaign “… for Iowa” or “…for America” has become a bipartisan trend. However, it should be noted that it was “Dean for America” imitating “Bartlet for America” from The West Wing that started this whole thing. Lastly, why wasn’t David Young in the parade?
Young seems like a serious, soft-spoken staffer with far more experience as a congressional aide than as a campaign aide. He was lacking in confidence and purpose but that will presumably improve over time. From this video we do not learn much about David Young or his positions on issues, but we do learn that he has a hometown with people who remember him fondly and are proud of him. And that is not a bad way to start a campaign.