Saturday, August 30, 2008

What Avedon Said

This is about the next U.S. President, and what he said to us.

First, though:
Okay, I am totally out of sorts because Firefox has disappeared my drop-down menu, and I feel like something has been removed, like decapitated. So I am leaning on Avedon for my post today, and luckily I really like what she had to say about Obama's speech, so in case you didn't see it, here.


Video of Barack Obama's speech (MSNBC). Prepared text.

That was pretty much the speech I've been saying he should give, and I believe he made some sales with it. I'm willing to bet that a lot of people saw that speech who hadn't heard him sound like that before. Some of them will be people who just watch network TV and so far all they've heard have been pretty abstract-sounding things that seemed to create more distance rather than reach out to them. This was a different speech - good enough that while I was listening to it I (mostly) forgot all the things about him that piss me off. Obama needed to speak to Democrats and populists, and I think he finally did it.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President - when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job - an economy that honors the dignity of work.

That, I think, is the kind of talk that a lot of people were waiting to hear coming out of Obama's own mouth - people who didn't see it on their televisions before.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans - have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

It's nice to hear him stand up for his party rather than talk only about how good Republicans are.

I don't mean to imply that Obama didn't say some things that irritated me - I'm sick of hearing that preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is such a priority that it deserves so much focus (and, potentially, squandering whatever is to be gained from getting out of Iraq), and I'd like to hear that getting those contractors out of Iraq is important, too, since they now have a larger presence than our troops, and are considerably more expensive as well as destructive. But I also know that this seems to be required political language now, and I know Obama is no peacenick. I wonder if he knows that the "young preacher from Georgia" he evoked probably wouldn't have approved of it.

But what I mean to say is that that was the speech of a winner.

Now, don't get me wrong - I still think there are some people who will never vote for a black man (and some who will never vote for a woman, either), and I don't for a minute think race has nothing to do with why it's so easy for the talking heads to repeat stupid Republican memes. But I also think the talking heads would be repeating stupid Republican memes anyway, and the fact that they have all these "problems" with Obama has less to do with race than that he is, in the end, the Democrat. They're hammering racially divisive angles because it's a way to attack the Democrat, and they're giving McCain a pass because they've always liked McCain and, anyway, he's not the Democrat.

Last night, though, even the talking heads were Obama's. Greg Mitchell reports that outside of the GOP's Associated Press:

With rare exception, nearly all of the top commentators and reporters on the three cable news networks had hailed Obama's speech as something new and powerful, and filled with specifics, and predicted it would have a positive effect on his chances vs. John McCain. This hallelujah chorus included conservatives such as Bill Kristol and Pat Buchanan and the longtime Republican David Gergen, as well as Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams. Buchanan called it the best and most important political convention speech he had ever heard, going back 48 years.

Now: Just stop talking about PUMA - nothing you can say about them is likely to make them feel like supporting Obama, and mostly serves to alienate them further.

Let's make it about the issues that are important to all of us, and pry Overton's Window open for us as wide as we can, and work the issues, every day, not just until November, but every day after, as well. No matter what.

The trip to England was great, and Avedon was just wonderful to put up with me/put me up. Here's one of the great things I got to do because of her - and another figure that impresses, from the Parthenon sculptures in the British museum.

It's sad that so much of this artwork have been destroyed by time. Maybe with my time, I can help preserve something. The U.S. is a good place to start. Sen. Obama's campaign is a hopeful beginning.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The talking heads said that Quail speech was excellent. Obama's speech was OK. If you want a laundry list, you got it. Leaders keep laundry at home, in public they inspire, they bring forth a crystallized form of the whole picture. This was badly missing. To put it simply, Obama is not Bill Clinton and never will be.

I am worried for the country, because the president hat is way too big on him.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Avedon said...

Psst! If you're gonna remove my blockquotes, you need to put quotation marks so people can tell when you're quoting me and when you're quoting Obama.

(The easy way to do this is go to "View source" and just copy the whole section.)

10:34 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Hey, I'm quoting you quoting Obama, anyway. (ooops)

6:28 AM  

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