Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The heart of the Speech

The speech is here.

It's worth reading.

As usual, when Mr. Obama has time to prepare, his rhetoric is political rhetoric at a level that is higher than that to which we are accustomed. When he thinks, he really thinks, and he has a point of view that is significantly his own and not boilerplate partisan verbiage. He:

  • addresses the problem of his relationship with Rev. Wright,
  • accepts it as a problem,
  • addresses why in his view it is a problem, artfully blaming the critics and the press,
  • frankly discusses important negatives in the minister's ideology (which he appears to consider to be true negatives),
  • displays loyalty to his own past, which includes a personal relationship with the minister that he is not willing to sacrifice (--this is not a bad trait, in general--),
  • makes an effort to use that unique past to show how he understands the common American experience of racial discomfort,
  • and makes his case about how this "universal" experience can move the country forward on these issues and their economic consequences.

While it's apparent that many commentators will still carp at this relationship with the radical minister, he's made an attempt to go over their heads to speak to Americans heart-to-heart, and with a degree of intelligent common sense. If he ends up as the nominee for the Democrats, then the race in the fall will truly be formidable, because of the way he can perform when the chips are down.

None of the above is meant to be construed as an endorsement. One would still have to buy the collectivist program of his party--to paraphrase the movie: "he's a Democrat like any other, only more so." One would also have to overlook several very clever rhetorical moments that again show how so many contemporary progressives build their case on a deep moral-equivalence argument. This the Republicans will have to address and expose in the fall.

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