The Speech

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

Here it is:

I thought it was amazing (although it reads better than his actual delivery — although, then again, his delivery was better than any other candidates’ could have been).

Obama managed to distance himself from the rhetoric of Wright (not a hard trick — in fact he’s been doing that for a couple of weeks now).  But then he was able to simultaneously embrace it, and the harsh and divisive rhetoric of others (both black and white), as being a fundamental problem that should be addressed.  When it comes to race issues, Obama was saying, attention must be paid, and this media-driven nonsense of wallowing in racial tension, rather than fixing it, does not help.

He avoided the obvious cheap political tricks that one would expect from a typical, and lesser, politician.  He spoke of lofty ideals and goals.  From a political campaign standpoint, it was brilliant, perhaps unintentionally, because it successfully cast Obama as the man to take on the racial divides of this country (Subtext: You hear that, uncommitted superdelegates?  Now if you choose against Obama, it’s almost like you are dismissing the goals he set out).

As one might expect, Obama fans are swooning, some even calling it one of the most important speeches on race relations in many decades.  Many conservatives, naturally, are being divisive and cynical, without any apparent irony that they are precisely the type of people of which Obama spoke.  The good news for Obama is that the media establishment — at least on television — seems to think it was a success.