Obama’s Speech: Total Spectrum Reaction Round-up
I was too busy earlier to make a coherent post on my thoughts about the speech, and reading all the responses + giving Little Dork a bath + writing two reviews gave me even less time. So, here’s what a bunch of other folks thought.
First, an assortment of liberals and leftists. I didn’t include many because the supportive statements were pretty identical (cultish, even):
Maureen Dowd in the Grey Lady: suggests in the last week Obama has made himself less an object of worship and more of a real
Up until now, Obama and his worshipers have set it up so that he must be so admirable and ideal and perfect and everything we’ve ever wanted that any kind of blemish — even a parking ticket — was regarded as a major failing.
With the Clintons, we expect them to be cheesy on ethics, so no one is ever surprised when they are.
But Saint Obama played the politics of character to an absurd extent. For 14 months, his argument for leading the world has been himself — his exquisitely globalized self. He should be congratulated on the disappearance of the pedestal. Leaders don’t need to be messiahs.
Time collected responses from a gaggle of pol-sci professors and professionals, and nearly all seemed in awe.
Joel Connelly asks, in a clear reference to the role that gay marriage played in 04, will race be used to hijack the 2008 election?
The Conservative response was split along the divisions in the party, those old school moderate types who get misty eyed whenever Regan is mentioned and those hard line neo-cons who tend to enjoy the dulcet tones of Rush Limbaugh:
David Gergen, Obama lover.
From my perspective, watching alone from a hotel in Florida, I found it refreshing to have a political candidate who finally talks to us as mature adults and also appeals to what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”
As you scan the Internets, you will notice Lincoln mentioned A LOT.
Jonah Goldberg reduces the speech to mere politics and casts it as the old decrepit battle of Big government vs. small. Only a small mind could come away from the speech with only this:
The old baggage has been replaced with shinier suitcases, but the contents are the same as ever. Black America’s problems can be solved by spending more money on the same old Great Society programs. Any talk about black America’s problems that takes the eyes off that prize is a “distraction.” And, yet again, white Americans can prove their commitment to racial justice by going along with more big government. My hope for something better proved too audacious in the end.
Investor’s Business Daily
“Election ’08: Rather than break ties with his demagogic, anti-American pastor, Barack Obama used a speech on race to excuse his behavior and sweep the controversy under the rug. Passing the buck is not very presidential.”
This is the basic conservative talking point, one which you will see and hear again and again for the next week as the right rehashes this over and over, still desperate to keep Wright’s few statements on the front burner. I doubt that even if Obama had said “YASS SUH BOSS! I sho’ do reject what dat deh Reb’m Wright say, I sho’ do!” they would not have been satisfied. To agree with anything Obama said in his speech is to admit their whole social philosophy is bankrupt, and they would prefer a destructive discussion on race rather than a constructive discussion. As long as Wright is a villain, not only do they have their general election issue, but they can play the “victim,” mean old Obama is picking on the White man. As evidence:
Andrew Sullivan gushed over several posts and his right wing love for Obama is no secret. However, I think the note he recieved from a reader sheds light on the general conservative reaction.
“Then I left, got in my car, turned on the radio and already Laura Ingram was taking soundbites of Obama’s speech and mocking them, dismissing them out of hand while her listeners chimed in, supporting their queen of talk.”
I’ll end the conservative block with Sullivan himself: “What I do know is that it was the right speech, with the right nuance and brave. If America cannot embrace such complexity, then that says more about our current polity than it does about Obama.”
In other parts of the world, people were paying attention to the speech.
The Scotsman (go Celtic!) has an article on the speech listed under “Racism in America” and they don’t mean Wright.
Globe and Mail (Toronto) Adam Radwanski gushes
With Obama established as the frontrunner, that free ride has come to a jolting halt lately. And today, not only did he face a tough test – he aced it.
That makes it a great gamble, a move on to new terrain. If it works, it will be because he has now dared to be daring: going over the heads of focus groups and spin doctors with a heartfelt and bold appeal to American voters, on both sides of the racial divide, to rethink their positions. For that bravery, at least, he deserves much credit.
Colby Cosh, Canada’s National Post
“You can already tell by today’s news-cycle shift toward the ethical question of the Florida and Michigan delegates that the Clinton campaign has given up trying to lash Obama to the mast of the USS Jeremiah Wright. Obama has made that impossible.”
NDTV.com in India:
Obama sought to provide a healing touch by appealing to his countrymen to spurn racism and the anger and resentment it spawns.
Finally, a Kos diary on the experience of watching the speech in a crowd, somewhere Southern, I guess.
Locally . . . the center held. Conservatives towed the line, Obama’s Dem supporters were lovin’ it and the Clinton supporters, well, let’s say they still believe in fairy tales. This post from my Skeptical Brother mirrors a lot I heard from African Americans who called into the radio show.
Will add more as I find.
Look, I don’t care if Obama wins anymore, this speech was enough. To have somebody with his profile speak in detail about race on national television was outstanding. I don’t care about the people questioning his motives, or scoffing at his sincerity. I do not care. This speech was empowering, even if it’s the only thing that survives this cutthroat political process. This was a man asked to navigate a path so unique that failure seemed inevitable, yet he rose to the occasion and prospered. That makes me happy as a black man in America. It makes me very happy.
Here’s some chatter from Chattanooga. Been getting visits from here all day I see.