Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Setting the bar higher

Let me expand on my remarks yesterday. Besides the content of the speech, which was remarkable, there were two aspects of the "More Perfect Union" speech that really stand out.

1) Barack Obama said, in effect, black people, I speak for you. And then turned around and said white people, I speak for you too. In a credible way that left many people who hadn't thought much about him before audibly moved. This is something that really sets Obama apart from other politicians.

2) Barack Obama set his speech in nuanced and refined language that a cynic would assume would fly over the heads of the American people. On one of my favorite radio shows this morning, "Connect the Dots" the point was made that eloquence is a weapon very rarely deployed in American politics. We regularly assume that our leaders will talk down to us, speak to the lowest common denominator. Certainly Dubya and Bubba did that. I can only applaud this new approach. Lots of people have promised to raise the tone of political discourse in Washington. I think they forget that this requires both a will and a capability to do so that almost nobody has anymore. Barack Obama appears to have both.

Can it be that attacks like we saw on Gore and Kerry simply won't work on a subtle and eloquent speaker like Obama? He certainly seems to fend off every attack with a seemingly effortless grace. I'm sure that somewhere the people behind the "swiftboat veterans" are sharpening their knives, will Obama dissect their mindless arguments with logical clarity? I sure hope so. I sure hope so.

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