Wednesday, March 19, 2008

why I liked "A More Perfect Union" so much

Obama has staked his entire candidacy on the belief that the voting public can be trusted to comprehend an issue that neither provides its own obvious answer nor strokes the American ego with dubious hyper-patriotic dualism, in spite of a press and opposing party that have treated Americans like self-centered morons for the last 30 years. It's a pretty radical act of trust in 300 million strangers.

5 comments:

TioChuy said...

The reason I love "A more perfect union" is because it sounds like "A more better union." You know you miss Texas. ; )

Rene said...

I told this to a friend, but I should say it here as well.

1)This speech was a gamble, not only in the content that it ventured into, but in the format in which it was delivered. This speech will not survive being soundbit and punditized well.

2)point 1 is a sad fact brought forward by the 24-hr cable news cycle.

3)Therefore this speech is not a cable-news age speech: simplified, built to be dissected and discussed, built to be eaten in small digestible chunks. It is an internet age speech: designed to be taken in at the viewer's leisure on his iphone, while surfing the web, and designed to be digested slowly and thoughtfully. I only hope that it's not TOO far ahead of its time. Wolf Blitzer did his best to prove me wrong immediately afterward.

el ranchero said...

I agree, absolutely, but the silly thing about the format is that cable news has no dearth of time that needs filling. If they wanted to, they could spend as much time as necessary looking at the speech as a whole. Cable news (and news in most other forms, for that matter) have other endemic problems that cripple their ability to deal honestly and thoughtfully with a speech like this, from an overabundance of pundits with contrary ideological agendas (i.e., the famous "no liberals on the teevee" rule, combined with an undying love for St. John McCain, Patron Saint of Maverick Straight Talk) to an ingrained belief that Americans are incapable of holding their attention on a single topic for more than 5 minutes.

Interestingly, from what I've seen so far, NPR hasn't been much better than anyone else at discussing the speech.

grimsaburger said...

I nearly leapt through my speakers to strangle Richard Cohen (WaPo) on Tuesday talking to Lynn Neary on TOTN. He was all, "I like Barack Obama, but this speech didn't go far enough, it didn't do enough to make a difference." And then a lovely woman called in and corrected him, saying if he didn't get what he wanted from this speech, he wasn't going to get what he wanted from Obama. That's been the one shining moment of commentary I've heard on NPR about the speech, the one excruciatingly eloquent caller slamming the door shut on pundits invited to comment on his speech, and judging it like it were any other dog-and-pony-show campaign speech.
I recommend listening to it here if you didn't hear it Tuesday.

The Daily Exorcist said...

Well said, Derek. And that trust - isn't that what he's been doing time and time again in campaign? Putting the onus on the electorate to take the reigns? Placing the burden of progress, of meaningful change on those who are calling for it? In one sense, the speech was a radical aberration...for America. But not for Obama. For him, this speech was exactly what we've come to expect from him. And that's why his candidacy is changing the game. If he fails - if we fail to seize this opportunity - it will be precisely for the reasons Rene mentioned regarding the speech itself: he's too far ahead of his time.