Monday, January 21, 2008

Obama Steps Up

Over the past couple of days, Barack Obama has emphatically answered any doubts about his ability to survive a general election. For anyone worried that his "new politics" style would be to happy-face to respond assertively to attacks, he has hopefully put that to rest.

First off, his masterful speech before Ebenezer Baptist Church yesterday on the eve of Martin Luther King Day counterpunched a number of times. The whole speech is worth a listen if you haven't already. If he doesn't ultimately win, it will be but a footnote. But if he does win, this speech will no doubt be studied for years as a turning point in the campaign:

Every line in the speech has a purpose, making a full review prohibitive. But two particular points bear noting. Early in the speech he references Dr. King just before the Montgomery bus boycott as black people weren't sure to believe in themselves. A clever response to those African Americans who may be reluctant to support Obama because they can't be confident he will succeed.

Then there was his exigesis on "hope." He specifically calls out Hillary Clinton for her "false hopes" accusation in the debate. It was a poor choice of words at the time and he serves those words up to her here. Hope, he says, is not simply sitting passively and "hoping" things will get better. Instead hope is why people struggle against impossible odds.

On top of that, Obama hit back at the man himself, fmr. President Bill Clinton, for his attacks on Obama. Bill has been serving as Hillary's Meanie Surrogate du jour, though one she cannot fire for once. Obama went after Bill for statements "that aren't supported by the facts." The full AP story does a nice job of running through each Clinton statement and comparing it to the Obama statements on the record. You make the call, but it certainly looks like Clinton is awfully fast with the truth. Of course, that depends on what your definition of "is" is.

Unfortunately, a number of outlets are posting a truncated version of the story that merely goes through a Bill says/Barack says cadence without any detail.


ohdave said...

I thought Obama's remarks on race at the debate were really poignant, but all three candidates were good on the issue.

Obama can fight back, but I'm still not convinced he has a clear and coherent agenda, and he's made some really curious statements throughout this campaign--like the Reagan thing, which he did a very poor job of defending in the debate.

But he's a world class orator, no doubt.