March 20, 2008
A More Perfect Soundbite
Barack Obama’s speech acquired a title nearly as soon as it was delivered. On both the campaign website and YouTube, where it has been seen more than two million times, it was identified as “A More Perfect Union.”The four words refer, of course, to the preamble to the Constitution, which was appropriate both as a gesture to Obama’s hosts (Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center, conveniently located in Pennsylvania) and as a reflection on our very imperfect society.
Cool We Can Believe In
Save for the odd occurrence of a black contestant managing to win more than fifteen cents on “Deal or No Deal,” I rarely feel any racial pride.
The Wright Rage
WASHINGTON--Let's ask the hard question about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright: Is he as far outside the African-American mainstream as many of us would like to think? Because Barack Obama's speech on race in America was so candid about both the legitimacy of black and white grievances--and the flaws in those grievances--it carries the risk of offending almost everyone. The man who, by parentage, is half black and half white took it upon himself to explain each side's story to the other.
Jeremiah Wright, the preacher who brought Barack Obama to Jesus, also brought him the week from hell. Anyone within reach of even the most primitive forms of media now knows that Wright, the retired pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ, has preached sermons that veered into the swamp of anti-Americanism and indulged in wild conspiracy theories. So, after being subject to a rumor campaign that pronounced him a stealth Muslim, Obama was now widely deemed to subscribe to a defective brand of Christianity. What other politician has been so plagued by matters involving God?
Remember John Kerry?
If only John Kerry would keep quiet. But he doesn't, and maybe he can't. In any case, in a characteristically soporific interview with the Bay State's SouthCoastToday, Kerry did some deep thinking about why Barack Obama appealed to him as a presidential candidate. This deep thinking was reported to the nation by ABC senior political correspondent Jake Tapper who could barely keep himself from laughing."It would be such an affirmation of who we say we are as a people," said Kerry, "if we could elect an African-American president, young leader, who is obviously visionary about the ability to i
Black Guy Needs White House
A riff on Obama and "change"--the best work I've seen from the Onion in many years. Key passage: Those who encountered the black man Tuesday said he engaged in erratic behavior, including pointing at random people in the crowd and desperately saying he needs their help, going up to complete strangers and hugging them, and angrily claiming that he is not looking for just a little bit of change, but rather a great deal of change, and that he wants it "right now." Avert your eyes, ye hard of heart. --Dayo Olopade
Beyond any salacious tidbits, what reporters and political watchers seem to be looking for most desperately in Hillary's newly released White House schedules is some sense of who she is.
March 19, 2008
Was It Effective? Pt. 1
David Kusnet, former speechwriter for Bill Clinton:Barack Obama isn't lucky. He makes the best of circumstances that could destroy less gifted leaders. For quite some time, he has been capable of moving beyond the usual banalities about race in America. But it took the kind of crisis that sinks some campaigns--the furor over his former pastor's inflammatory sermons--to create the occasion for the best speech about race in recent memory.Skillfully, Obama weaved a repudiation of the Reverend Wright into a much larger theme about American history.
Was It Effective? Pt. 2
Michael Crowley: Obama's Speech Was Brilliant, But Will The Complexity Of His Message Reach The People It Needs To?Today, Barack Obama gave a brilliant, inspiring, intellectually supple speech--but one that may have done little to solve his festering problem with working class white Americans. It's important to distinguish between these two dimensions of today's remarkable address. Those who actually heard or read Obama's entire speech will be reminded that he is a true intellectual--a talented writer and lyrical speaker.
The Golden Gus
Two years ago, in an airport bar in Phoenix, I watched UCLA and Gonzaga battle for the right to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. As the sound of the telecast filtered out into the concourse, passersby (most of whom, unlike me, presumably hadn't intentionally scheduled a three-hour layover) started gravitating toward the bar, intrigued by what they heard. "Who is this announcer?" three separate people asked me.