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« Democrats can be proud | Main | John McCain gambles, picks Sarah Palin as running mate »

August 29, 2008


jj mollo

I saw Cornell West bellyaching about the speech. I thought it was a good level-headed speech. I thought he did all the things he had to do. I liked the fact that he had the courage to mention nuclear energy in any context. Natural gas, by the way, is actually supposed to be an improvement on oil because it produces less CO2 per BTU, but I don't know that for a fact.

Anyway, I think West wanted Obama to turn the speech into a triumphal oration on Black accomplishments. He was bitterly disappointed that Obama didn't mention MLK by name. Too bad. West does not understand the power of indirect reference. Obama is a much better speaker. He knows that everyone listening knew exactly who he was talking about, and withholding the name that was in everyone's mind actually intensified our recognition of the man who should have been there to see it happen. Furthermore, Obama is running for POTUS, not president of the NAACP. He is not Jesse Jackson. He is not asking that we give Black Americans a chance for a better life. He is asking that we give all Americans a chance. He is asking to represent all Americans as an American.

Frank Warner

True about natural gas. It burns much more cleanly. And to find it, you have to drill for oil. The natural gas usually happens to be in the same spot.


JJ, I agree on Obama's not naming Martin Luther King. But I think that, as long as he wasn't naming King, Obama should have quoted much more of that 1963 speech, and then delivered his own words for all Americans as an American. I was waiting for words that soared, but there was only a brief lift near the end, and then the idea landed much too abruptly.

Here I am, with a decent chance of voting for this guy, and I'm wondering, is this what this crowd will expect a President Obama to do? Repeatedly deliver the same speech each month in some packed football stadium as they cheer him? How does he ever top that night of adulation?

And as I said, I'm increasingly distressed that Democratic presidential candidates can't find anything good to say about freedom. In one sentence, "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I'm free at last," King referred to freedom more times than Obama did in that entire acceptance speech.

That bothers me. But that's me.

jj mollo

He said before the convention that this was going to be a businesslike speech, not an oration. It might be his only chance to talk to many Americans and he needed to clear up some misconceptions and get his basic message out. It would have been a wasted opportunity, no matter how gratifying, to dwell on the theme of racial progress. It would also be a bit presumptuous to try to outdo King on such an occasion.

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