Tuesday, March 18, 2008

WOW! Barack Obama Really IS a Great Speaker!

I know this is going to come across as heresy to some other Conservatives, but after listening to Barack Obama’s speech this morning (March 18, 2008) I was very impressed!

Without question, Barack Obama is a great speaker. He not only has a great deal of personal charisma, he is as good as anyone at making the case against freedom as Liberty (self-ownership/responsibility) and in favor of more government intervention in and control over our lives. Not an easy thing to do at all, just ask John Kerry or Al Gore.

But he DID make some very GOOD points about race in America, some that haven’t been made before, at least not in this context. He claimed that Jeremiah Wright’s actions belie the rhetoric he’s now famous for, and we all know people whose demeanors differ from the image they project. He compared Wright to his own white grandmother, who was prone to uttering various “racial stereotypes that would make (him) cringe.” He linked them by stating, “I’d no more renounce (Reverend Wright) than I would my white grandmother.” He then gave voice to both poor and workingclass black’s perspective and poor and workingclass white’s perspective on race in America, acknowledging that many workingclass whites have “had an immigrant’s experience,” and “have had few privileges through their race,” in that regard, attempting to find a common-ground on which to make the issue a shared experience.

It was a brilliant strategy and it was very well delivered.

The problem I have with Barack Obama is pretty much the same ones I have with Hillary Clinton and that’s their politics. BOTH encourage and play on divisions within America – CLASS divisions and that is toxic in and of itself.

Can we, should we always strive to be more fair and as inclusive as a merit-based system will allow?

Without question.

But neither Barack Obama, nor Hillary Clinton offer much in the way of specifics and the fear is that, once again, we’ll return to the highly divisive and racially exploitive “racial spoils system” of preferences and set-asides that most harms all those white workingclass and the rural poor whom Barack Obama acknowledged were least benefitted by their whiteness, in the first place.

In my own honest assessment, Barrack Obama delivered an excellent speech. The question is, “Is it too little, too late?”

I suppose the Pennsylvania (PA) Primary will tell.

He CAN afford to lose Pennsylvania, what he can’t afford is a rout. While Clinton being unable to win the Keystone State in the wake of this flap would be a serious blow to her contention, a huge defeat (10 points or more) would be a huge blow to the Obama camp.

If PA goes 52% - 46% for Clinton, the Democratic nominating process will continue heading toward what seems like a brokered Convention, if either Clinton LOSES, despite being bolstered by this flap, OR if Barack Obama is routed (by 10 points or more), it probably bodes poorly for him going forward.


Rachel said...

I'll admit bias, I did not hear the speech, just read parts of it. I was not impressed. To me, he was trying to get out of a situation of his own making with his shiny speech. I'm black, and I don't trust him as President.

And I've never been impressed by speechmakers anyway. Has anyone heard of the phrase "silver tongued devil?"

Seane-Anna said...

I've only read parts of his speech, but Obama is a great speaker; he's proven that throughout the campaign. The problem is that charisma and eloquence don't always add up to sound policies or a good character, just remember Jim Jones and Adolf Hitler.

And thank you, JMK, for your kind words about my blog. I'm glad you like it. I dig yours, too! :)

JMK said...

I did hear the speech Rachel and I'm glad I did, though I confess that I've known he was a great speaker beforehand, but I think it was best described as a "courageous speech," rather than a particularly effective one, in that it addressed the issue of race in a relatively new way, while opening up a host of new and troubling questions of its own.

As I said, I disagree with his political views, which are those shared by most of the more extreme Left-wing of the Democratic Party.

I tend to give points to those willing to make such arguments, as so few actually do so. Certainly Hillary has not been able to do that effectively, nor Gore, Kerry, etc., etc.

While some of the rhetoric soared, there were certainly parts of that speech that bothered me a great deal, comparing Reverend Wright's hate-filled and anti-American comments to his white grandmother's own personal foibles, for one. He didn't suggest that his grandmother ever exclaimed "God Damn America...." OR compared the U.S to al Qaeda, or even the Nazis, Soviets or Imperial Japanese, according to him, she merely expressed the same trepidation about walking the streets near young black men that Jesse Jackson himself expressed awhile back.

I didn't get that, was his point that his own white grandmother was a bigot, then, it would seem that Jesse Jackson would appear guilty of that same flaw...OR, is he lending credence to those trepidations expressed by both Jesse Jackson and his own grandmother?

How about THIS reality?

Isn't it normal for people of all backgrounds to worry about their safety in the presence of young blacks dressed in current "gangsta garb," or young white skinheads, or a group of petulent looking Bikers??? Aren't there certain visual cues that are not merely based in race, but dress and demeanor?

Isn't this line a lot like the charge of "racism" against NYC cab drivers for refusing to take black fares to various high crime inner city nabes? After all, well over 90% of NYC's cab drivers are NON-white!

Aside from that, there was his remark about how Ronald Reagan built a coalition based on white's fears of a rising crime rate, the unfairness of race/gender preferences run amok and "welfare Moms."

A subtle way of calling all those "Reagan Democrats" (of which I'm proudly one) "racists."

Reagan came to power amidst the gross ineffectiveness and inefficiencies of the failed Carter Administration. Violent crime rates, especially urban crime rates were rising, along with our welfare rolls padded by tens of thousands of "double dippers" (people who scammed welfare benefits from multiple sources) and yes, the horrifically divisive racial spoils system that puddled around the use of race/gender preferences.

ALL of those were and remain legitimate issues, not "canards rooted in some racial animus."

This seems an example of Obama's disjointed overview, on the one hand acknowledging that poor, rural and workingclass whites saw very little privilege from their "whiteness," but then dismisses their legitimate grieveances over a system of racial preferences that in effect, had poor and workingclass whites paying the tab for the abuses of the wealthy white scions of the families that DID benefit from earlier racial injustices, like slavery.

That eroded much of the believability of his claim to looking to "bridge the racial divide."

Yes, I realize it's strange to hear me laud a man who in a round about way called people like me bigots, as a "great speaker," but I must acknowledge his oratorical gifts for what they are.

Just because I don't agree with his views, doesn't make him a poor speaker, in fact, he's an excellent defender of the Left's viewpoint, which makes him one of the most dangerous people around, in my view.

Hillary won't convince or convert that many people, neither would dorks like Gore or Kerry, but Barack Obama has great personal charisma and an elegant style.

So does David Dukes.

The question is, "Is Barack Obama a modern day Abe Lincoln (another great speaker), or a David Dukes?"

JMK said...

"Obama is a great speaker; he's proven that throughout the campaign. The problem is that charisma and eloquence don't always add up to sound policies or a good character, just remember Jim Jones and Adolf Hitler." (Seane-Anna)

Absolutely correct Seane-Anna!

As I said, while I disagree with his views, I do acknowledge his elequence and style.

Without question, Barack Obama is not someone to be taken for granted. He's an effective candidate and one that has some distinct advantages over a John McCain, whom to date, has not exactly revved up his onw Party's base.

I've long worried that someone so eloquent and with such a short, shallow track record could be very dangerous because so few Americans know who he is, who his friends are and what he really stands for.

Yes, to date, over his short stint in the U.S. Senate he has a voting record more Liberal than John Edwards did, but that doesn't say as much as does his apparent affiliations with the likes of Jeremiah Wright, James Meeks and the New Black Panther Party - other controversial people who're close to Barack Obama.

Looking at the delegate count, and the fact that MI and FL won't likely get recounts, it would seem that Barack Obama is the odds on favorite to be the next Democratic candidate for President.

Rachel said...

"Is Barack Obama a modern day Abe Lincoln (another great speaker), or a David Dukes?"
Ooooo, even *I* thinks that's a bit harsh ;)

Great speaking is good but actions matter. And right now, O has a thin resume - and people are treating him like he's the Messiah.

I*hate* that. They did that to W (btwn 9/11 and March 2002) and they were doing that to Hillary. When you're popular you can't put a foot down wrong, but when you're not popular you cant put a foot down right. I wish we as a people remember that Presidents (and their wannabes) are people too.

Though they do ask to perform a superhuman job, we have to remember they are human.

This Obama-like message was brought to you by... (insert your favorite product) :)

JMK said...

Yeah Rachel, that didn't come out quite right. BUT, while I DON'T believe Barack Obama is a David Dukes-like character, I am troubled by his association with Jeremiah Wright, his failure to fully disavow that guy and his associations with people like James Meeks and The New Black panther Party - his website had a link to the NBP Party until very recently.


I agree with the view that the bar of expectations was raised high by Obama's personal charisma, BUT the Jeremiah Wright flap was more than a mere mis-step, wasn't it?

If it turned out that a Bill Clinton or G W Bush had called a David Dukes-like character his "uncle," "mentor" and "advisor," I'm certain that their political careers would've been suffocated in their cribs.

I think Obama benefits from the fact that neither Clinton nor McCain are all that attractive candidates. Neither of them have anything close to Obama's personal charisma, in my view.

Unfortunately for me, Obama's charisma is being used to advance positively (John) Edwardsian views.

Uncle Joe said...

I watched the entire speech. He is a good speaker and is very polished. I read somewhere that part of the reason he chose to join Rev. Wright's church back in 1988 was the fact that Rev. Wright was a dynamic speaker who could reach across all types of people "from GEDs to PhDs" as it was put in the article. Obama joined the church with the hope that he could learn Rev. Wright's public speaking techniques. He was a good student.

Rev. Wright uses much the same tactics as a lot of other preachers. The idea is to make sure that give the equation without the answer, so to speak. By that I mean, phrase your thoughts in ways that allows the listener to fill in the details. Your listener will feel that you are saying exactly what they are thinking.

Obama's "I am for change" and "There is hope" stuff is straight out of Rev. Wright's repertoire.

JMK said...

Interesting assessment Uncle Joe, though I see NONE of Obama's charisma in Jeremiah Wright.

What Wright has, is the same white-hot passion that every bigot from Hitler to Stalin to any old KKK or NOI leader who ever lived.

Yes, indeed THAT may have been a lure for the young and jaded Barack Obama. It might also explain his draw to other such creatures, like James Meeks and Weather Underground radical Bill Ayers.

Oh yes, there are many, many skeletons in the barack Obama closet.

American Ideas Click Here!