Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


A Speech So Stirring It Converted Pat Buchanan
August 28, 2008 9:46 PM   Subscribe

On the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Barack Obama accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party to be their Presidential candidate with a speech so well-crafted that Pat bloody Buchanan couldn't stop raving about it, and had to be cut off by his fellow broadcasters. It was an occasion so historic that McCain chose to release an ad congratulating his opponent.
posted by WCityMike (235 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Something is rotten in the state of denmark. Pretty damn scary.
posted by Avenger at 9:49 PM on August 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


My favorite part was when he said to the assembled delegates, "Can you dig it, suckas?!"
posted by codswallop at 9:50 PM on August 28, 2008 [10 favorites]


Transcript (at the bottom) and video when MSNBC's servers stop eating themselves
posted by mrzarquon at 9:51 PM on August 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


That was a surprisingly classy ad from McCain. It's too bad our collective appetite for partisan snark and mudslinging can't let the rest of the campaign season progress at that level permanently.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:53 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I saw Patty Patty Buc Buc on the McLaughlin Group once and he couldn't get anything right.

He got this one right.
posted by clearly at 9:53 PM on August 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


"...an ad congratulating his opponent. "

Smarm, it's hard to hide.
posted by 517 at 9:54 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


It was truly amazing. Goosebumps and tearing up throughout -- and I know I wasn't alone because I saw the eyes of the people in the crowd. I didn't cry until the Obamas and Bidens returned for a second wave after the speech and Michelle gave Barack a massive embrace -- it was genuine, heartfelt and I was truly overwhelmed by the feeling that we are in this together.
posted by VulcanMike at 9:54 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]



My favorite part was when he said to the assembled delegates, "Can you dig it, suckas?!"


"The Idaho delegation, sitting right next to the Jones Street Boys!"
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:54 PM on August 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


I hope McCain loses and loses big time, and were I American, I'd never vote for him in a million years. But that congratulatory message to Obama is classy. I approve of this message.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:55 PM on August 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ironically enough, the National Review Online has a complete transcript.
posted by WCityMike at 9:55 PM on August 28, 2008


Some people are commenting on the "No Middle Eastern oil in 10 years;" I'd wager that he's specifically referring to the < 20% of U.S. oil imports that come from the ME rather than all imported oil (W used the same phrasing a while ago; possibly State of the Union). It's still a huge goal, but not impossible.

The McCain ad worries me a bit- after this last month the McCain campaign will try to "elevate the discourse" (which will translate as decrying any criticism of McCain) and cast a negative light on Obama for perceived negative campaigning, while reaping the rewards of the negative ads they ran in August (but prima facie it is a nice ad.)
posted by theclaw at 9:59 PM on August 28, 2008


My favorite part was when he said to the assembled delegates, "Can you dig it, suckas?!"

Riffs, YEAH!
posted by Artw at 9:59 PM on August 28, 2008


how about linking to the speech in the FPP?

I think McCain's ad was crass, intended to draw attention away from McCain, to feed off the goodwill, etc, and as was mentioned elsewhere, to inoculate McCain from subsequent charges of dirty campaigning (which he more or less admits is what comes next when "tomorrow we get back at it"); now McCain can say "Dirty? Moi? I ran that ad....."

Which is then followed by "Noun. Verb. POW".

Cynical? Maybe. But let's face it: Karl Rove is running McCain's campaign and the shit has not yet begun to fly.
posted by Rumple at 10:00 PM on August 28, 2008 [10 favorites]


Lots of stuff about rolling back the last eight years, but not so much about moving forward. This acceptance speech seems like it was really meant for the centrists and righties and not so much for me. It smacked of gradualism and hyperbole when we need an about-face and the stark truth.

HURF DURF BARACKROLL'D

Here I should note that I only read the transcript and did not witness any oratory. On preview, Artw wins one Internet.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:01 PM on August 28, 2008


I'll say it: McCain looked liked he was reading from a prompter or cue cards. He couldn't deliver a brief message like that using straight talk? I guess it's the thought that counts.
posted by furtive at 10:02 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


but not so much about moving forward

Read it again. You clearly skipped around.
posted by ColdChef at 10:02 PM on August 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


That was a surprisingly classy ad from McCain. It's too bad our collective appetite for partisan snark and mudslinging can't let the rest of the campaign season progress at that level permanently.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:53 PM on August 28


It would have been classy had he not followed up with this bullshit:

Presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain issued a statement minutes after Obama wrapped his speech: "Tonight, Americans witnessed a misleading speech that was so fundamentally at odds with the meager record of Barack Obama."

I knew I was wrong to give McCain the benefit of the doubt.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:03 PM on August 28, 2008 [13 favorites]


Hey! He was a POW!
posted by Artw at 10:05 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm looking through sleep-fogged eyes, so I'm going to call it a night, but I did want to say that this guy makes me even prouder than normal to be a resident of Illinois and of Chicago. The city is known for many bad things, but much of the community spirit Obama demonstrated tonight as an essential maxim needed for America can be seen in the way Chicagoans oft (not always, but oft) treat each other and look out for each other.

It's odd, having Obama as a Presidential candidate this year. I liken it to spiritual whiplash of a sort. George W. Bush — literally, and without hyperbole — has taken the exact opposite position to everything I believe in and stand for these past eight years. To go from that not to a "normal" candidate but to a candidate who is a noble idealist right out of the political-idealism movies I have always pined over ("Dave", "American President", etc.) but dismissed as unable to ever be real ... one who instead of being opposite to everything I believe in instead embodies everything I believe in ... it feels too good to be true.

I'm going to be one deliriously happy son of a bitch if we're able to see President Barack Obama be sworn in on January 20, 2009. And, man, it's going to feel delightfully weird to be proud of my government again ...
posted by WCityMike at 10:05 PM on August 28, 2008 [45 favorites]


looked liked he was reading from a prompter or cue cards

But he welcomes us to McCainSpace so warmly!
posted by brownpau at 10:07 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Video is unavailable already. Is it available somewhere else? I was looking forward to seeing what the hubbub was about.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:07 PM on August 28, 2008


Since neither Obama nor McCain are natural-born citizens, this entire exercise is silly.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:08 PM on August 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


> Video is unavailable already. Is it available somewhere else? I was looking forward to seeing what the hubbub was about.

Supposedly this MSNBC link will do it, but it's not showing anything for me at the moment.
posted by WCityMike at 10:09 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I miss the deleted thread.
posted by Artw at 10:09 PM on August 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


I watched that Pat Buchanan piece thinking that I had been transported to an alternate Earth... it made me question whether or not the sky was actually blue. I just don't know anymore...
posted by Ron Thanagar at 10:09 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


> how about linking to the speech in the FPP?

You missed some fun Accidently Asterly in the process.

There is no reliable streaming video of Obama's speech online yet. Check this HuffPost link or the National Review one for the transcripts (huffpost's embedded msnbc link should work eventually).
posted by mrzarquon at 10:09 PM on August 28, 2008


It would have been classy had he not followed up with this bullshit:

See, when he said "Tomorrow," he meant midnight, Atlantic Daylight Time.
posted by theclaw at 10:09 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


the msnbc link works for me now but I had to prime it by clicking one of their other videos for a few seconds.
posted by Rumple at 10:11 PM on August 28, 2008


I'm enjoying the painful and awkward struggle of the the folks on Fox News in their attempt to put a negative spin on this.
posted by tula at 10:14 PM on August 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


I miss the deleted thread.

Me too. I didn't get there in time to post, but it was truly amazing to read.
posted by Caduceus at 10:15 PM on August 28, 2008


Pat Buchanan went off the rails a long time ago. Have you heard about his most recent book, in which he says that WWII didn't really need to be fought? I think even Chomsky would roll his eyes at that one.

No one on the right side of the fence takes him seriously any more.
posted by Class Goat at 10:15 PM on August 28, 2008


YouTube's got the whole thing, it appears.
posted by WCityMike at 10:17 PM on August 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


And the introductory bio video, too, which was great.
posted by WCityMike at 10:18 PM on August 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


This from Rollcall:

If security sweeps are the giveaway, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may be on the brink of being selected as Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) vice presidential running mate.

According to sources with strong Michigan ties, the Secret Service has conducted a security sweep of the home of Romney’s sister. Romney was raised in Michigan, where his father served as governor.
posted by netbros at 10:20 PM on August 28, 2008


This is the second great vindication for me in my support of Barack Obama.

The first was towards the end of my winter vacation in his home state, Hawaii. It was January 3rd, the beginning of the primary season, and even surrounded by beaches and sunshine I could not keep my eyes off the television or the newspaper or the screen of my laptop. I'd been rooting for Barack since I first heard his keynote speech at the DNC months before, but was afeared he'd be crushed by the Clinton juggernaut in Iowa. I was so focused on the contest that I had to phone home while walking barefoot in the waves of Kauai's coast. The results, at the time, weren't good. He was tied with Edwards and behind Sen. Clinton by a good amount.

So you can imagine the shock it was to walk into the hotel that evening, turn on the television, and see Sen. Obama saying "thank you, thank you" to an ecstatic victory crowd in Des Moines. I was floored. It was the first time I realized that he -- and we -- could actually pull this off.

I got that same sense tonight. Even though we've known he'd be the nominee since June, actually seeing him accept the role in front of a stadium of 70,000 kind of drives the point home, you know?

But the third moment is yet to come. You can guess what it is. You can guess how much I want to see it come to pass.

Please don't blow this, America.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:21 PM on August 28, 2008 [7 favorites]


One word really opened my eyes and gave the conservative in me goosebumps:

ENOUGH!!!

And the other statement I thought was great: Obama stated that McCain would follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell when he has not even followed Bin Laden to his own cave.

All that considered, I think even after a short one week of being together, Joe Biden (and that mischievous smile) is getting to our friend Barack... ;)
posted by JoeXIII007 at 10:22 PM on August 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


The deleted thread being mentioned, to which the proper response is probably HOLY FUCK WHAT THE?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:22 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama: "And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons."

This was the pinnacle of the speech for me. For a second he became a father and not a candidate. 45 years later, expressing the same sentiment because he has the obligation not as a politician, but as a parent to make this place better for the next generation.

King Jr.: "I have a Dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
posted by clearly at 10:23 PM on August 28, 2008


Additions:

I have to second tula's enjoyment of FOX trying to put a negative spin on the Obama speech. They can't frame it, and couldn't, even if they tried...

Later in my viewing of it they started the summoning of the suspense of McCain's VP pick.

Question is, will this news be released at 1:30 am EST...?
posted by JoeXIII007 at 10:25 PM on August 28, 2008


Yeah, I really liked the "ENOUGH!" part of the speech. I imagine that has a great deal of resonance to African-Americans, no?
posted by Ron Thanagar at 10:26 PM on August 28, 2008


...Since neither Obama nor McCain are natural-born citizens, this entire exercise is silly..."

The fact that this whole convention was staged months ago in a hanger in New Mexico... (yup, same place they faked the moon landing)... is what has my short pants in a boil.

John Titor '22
posted by shockingbluamp at 10:27 PM on August 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Lots of stuff about rolling back the last eight years, but not so much about moving forward.

Dude. Have you not been paying attention? Rolling back the last eight years--even if he does not one thing more--would be an enormous step forward for your country.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:28 PM on August 28, 2008 [13 favorites]


Please don't blow this, America.

This isn't an opportunity to blow, it is an opportunity that must be seized.

Blowing it would be to expect things to change overnight without putting forth the personal and collective effort needed to bring about the changes we want to happen in our country and in our lives.
posted by clearly at 10:28 PM on August 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


When the temple comes down

I see McCain is still slipping the little Obama = Antichrist dogwhistles in there. Stay classy, McCain.
posted by ook at 10:32 PM on August 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


beyond the gushing, i liked publius' take :P

cheers!
posted by kliuless at 10:32 PM on August 28, 2008


Since neither Obama nor McCain are natural-born citizens Diebold is counting the votes, this entire exercise is silly.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:33 PM on August 28, 2008 [7 favorites]


Rolling back the last eight years--even if he does not one thing more--would be an enormous step forward for your country.

Exactly. A step backwards is a step in the right direction if you are standing on the edge of a cliff.

please please please Americans don't blow this
posted by Rumple at 10:33 PM on August 28, 2008 [14 favorites]


dnab, been paying attention, but I don't think America needs another eight years of authoritarian centrism like with the Clintons.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:34 PM on August 28, 2008


Fox News' coverage ... they can't spin much, but they're really, really, really trying:
Addressing a massive crowd of more than 85,000 cheering supporters at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, the first-term Illinois senator ...

Obama, who has been cast as aloof and elitist by McCain,

The McCain campaign quickly responded to the address by saying Obama had distorted the country about his own record.

“When the temple comes down, the fireworks end and the words are over, the facts remain: Senator Obama still has no record of bipartisanship, still opposes offshore drilling, still voted to raise taxes on those making just $42,000 per year, and still voted against funds for American troops in harm’s way. The fact remains: Barack Obama is still not ready to be president,” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.

Obama also lashed out ...

Often accused of being too vague and lofty in his rhetoric ...

The Republican war room monitoring the convention offered up several barbs to make fun of the production ...

The convention was marked by some tensions between his campaign and supporters of vanquished rival Hillary Clinton ...
Okay, now I really am going to bed ...
posted by WCityMike at 10:35 PM on August 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


as a side note the Republicans are now talking about delaying their convention, seriously, ostensibly because of Hugo... but perhaps so that have time to clean their pants out.
posted by edgeways at 10:36 PM on August 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


Oh, and I watched both the Clintons' speeches, and Kerry's, Biden's and Obama's, all today. I am a poster boy for cynical Canuck politician-hating, anti-American, kneejerk retro-angerhippy anticorporatists, and despite the fact that I still think Bill and Hillary are tired, cynical hacks, I misted up at least once during the speeches delivered by Biden and Obama, and even, almost, embarrassing as it is me, even a bit while Kerry was doing his ponderous podium lurch.

Damn you, America, you're going to make me start to like you after all these decades, aren't you? Just don't pull the fucking rug out from under me again.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:36 PM on August 28, 2008 [17 favorites]


oh, and the AP posted their "analysis" before the speech was finished...

oops

busted.
posted by edgeways at 10:37 PM on August 28, 2008


another thing... the patty Buc commentary that is so shocking?

I understand it was signed Barack Obama. It was a genuinely outstanding speech. It was magnificent. It is the finest ... I saw Cuomo's speech. I saw Kennedy in 80. I even saw Douglas MacArthur. I even saw Martin Luther King. This is the greatest convention speech. Probably the most important because unlike Cuomo and the others, this is an acceptance speech. This came out of the heart of American and he went right at the heart of America. This wasn't a liberal speech at all. This is a deeply, deeply centrist speech. It had wit. It had humor. And when he used the needle on McCain, he stuck it into McCain, and it was funny as with Kennedy's speech in 80. I laughed with Kennedy when he was needling Ronald Reagan. It was so good. Let me read you the passage, though, because this man is a professional orator and he's a writer of his own speeches.

But let me read it because this is where you get into the roll and the cadence and how a speaker can really pound a point home.

I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America -- they have served the United States of America.

That is how you bring people off their feet, by pulling at their heart and guts. It was beautiful.
posted by edgeways at 10:39 PM on August 28, 2008


It is starting to seem like YouTube is just blocked, but Google doesn't have anything about India doing that since the pole-dancing-Gandhi thing.

Bugger.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:40 PM on August 28, 2008


The homepage of the National Review is amazing at the moment. In case you don't want to click over there (and really, why would you?), it features, not surprisingly, a couple of dozen brand-new articles screaming about how ineffectual Obama's speech was.

This is fantastic news. For years, folks on the right have substituted noise for signal, elbowing each other out of the way to bray about how wrong liberals were, about how our ideas of what constitute a better America were naive at best and treasonous at worst... and when someone finally flips the script on them, all they can do is more of the same. Nothing substantive, just generic talking points repeated in ever more shrill, scared tones.

This is all they have.

Same thing in other fora. McCain's rebuttal speech was generic boilerplate that could have been written three weeks ago, and probably was. And this is while conservatives like Alex Castellanos and Pat Buchanan are effusive in their praise for the speech.

This is all they have.

For the moment, anyway. October will be a different story. But goddamn, it feels good to support a Democratic presidential candidate and feel like a winner.

And so tonight, I--a Green Party member who abandoned the Democrats in the 90s, and whose only political contribution to date was $200 for Nader in 2000--donated money to Obama, and plan on donating more once my back-to-school paychecks start rolling in.
posted by the_bone at 10:40 PM on August 28, 2008 [12 favorites]


It was an amazing thing..

I am at work, going about my normal business. A very busy sports night at a bar that puts the Huey Lewis into Sports, with games on nearly every television.. Only one television, stuck in a corner with no volume, was the Democratic National Convention airing, unfiltered footage from C-SPAN. There was a couple people looking at it, no one really paying much attention.. But when Obama came to the stage, a few people started reading the Closed Captioning..

Eventually, someone asked for the volume to be raised, we did so. More people crowded around the television until it became apparent more people were watching the little, non HD TV showing political coverage then any of the high definition sports at the sports bar. Seeing this, I flip the video projector tuner to C-SPAN, putting the speech on the 15 foot screen at the front of the room and pump the speech into the main speakers.. The bar that just minutes previous was shouting with sports enthusiasm was completely quiet watching Obama speak. I saw a few roll their eyes and go play video poker, but I saw more becoming emotional and teary eyed at his speech. A speech given from Denver, CO got a standing ovation from a crowd of cynical aging white people in Portland, OR, many of whom were visibly tearing up.

Afterwards, I am pouring a beer for someone and I hear behind me, "I didn't know what I wanted for the country before now, but now I realize that Barack Obama is the only person who can bring pride back to America."
posted by mediocre at 10:40 PM on August 28, 2008 [108 favorites]


i liked publius' take

Obama is getting Pink Floyd back together?
posted by cortex at 10:41 PM on August 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Great speech, and he took it to McCain, at least just a bit. Bill's speech was still the best of the week though, not that this is any real surprise or dig at any other speech.

While we were watching Bill the other night I could not help thinking about how interesting a presidential race it would be to see Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan facing off against each other this year. I'm such a geek sometimes.

Anyway, the convention started out pretty slow, but ended with fire. Nice job Obama (and crew).
posted by caddis at 10:41 PM on August 28, 2008


Patty Patty Buc Buc

WRONG!
posted by clearly at 10:50 PM on August 28, 2008


Weirdly, I found myself tearing up when I heard this part:

"And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things. "


I guess it was just hearing somebody say something so honest and true and do it so beautifully with simple, perfect language.
posted by lattiboy at 10:50 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


[sappiness] I love The American President and The West Wing because they're fantasies of a smart, educated, courageous, strong, liberal president. I freely admit I preferred to believe The West Wing was real and the Bush administration was a nutty TV show. There were moments in this speech, when Obama took Bush to the woodshed and directly challenged John McCain, that made me feel the same way, in real life this time. This is the America of my dreams. This is the America I want to live in. This is who I want as my president. [/sappiness]
posted by kirkaracha at 10:51 PM on August 28, 2008 [19 favorites]


I like Obama, but that was a pretty average, unremarkable speech. I wasn't very impressed. (My vote doesn't matter much regardless.)

It was inspiring, but not abstract.

I didn't get that at all. I heard a lot of generalities, but no specifics. To be honest, I don't care. Roberts + Alito + Scalia + Thomas needs a Democrat (or other "progressive") for the next 30 years.

Both Clintons had the best speeches. If Obama is smart, he'll run that clip of Sr. Clinton praising him over and over and over and over and over ...

/meh
posted by mrgrimm at 10:52 PM on August 28, 2008


Also, yeah, the post is sorta weak.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:54 PM on August 28, 2008


While we were watching Bill the other night I could not help thinking about how interesting a presidential race it would be to see Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan facing off against each other this year.

I strongly suspect that Bill Clinton would beat a corpse for the presidency.

dnab, been paying attention, but I don't think America needs another eight years of authoritarian centrism like with the Clintons.

Eight years of authoritarian centrism would be head and shoulders better than the eight years of super-authoritarian rightist radicalism we're finishing up right now.
posted by Caduceus at 10:54 PM on August 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


...okay, now that I've finished reading the transcript?

I have chills. And when I read:
I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.
..my eyes leaked a bit.

I truly hope that Obama is elected to your presidency. He will go down in history alongside JFK as one of the things that America got unbelievably, staggeringly right.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:57 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


he's a writer of his own speeches.

Damn. That is worth saying again.
America really deserves a smart president.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:57 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama is getting Pink Floyd back together?

i had to look that up; high hopes?
posted by kliuless at 10:58 PM on August 28, 2008


Well, I'm not trying to invest too many hopes and dreams in any one man, because men are fallible and politics are treacherous. He gives a hell of a good speech, though, and that's a good thing, because he'll be giving them for eight years.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:58 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heh, it's replaying on MSNBC right now as I'm reading various blogs and reactions.

It was a great speech, I don't know if it was really his best, because I do enjoy his more 'hifalutin' more abstract speeches. But it was great to see him really hit McCain, not by going after him personally but attacking his policies and explaining that he holds those policies because not because he's a bad guy but because he's out of touch.

McCain, as much as he's being bashed in the liberal blogsphere has built up a reputation -- fair or not -- as an honorable guy. There are lots of things to criticize there but it's just not going to have the resonance it would against someone like Mitt Romney. The "Noun, Verb, POW" meme going around isn't helpful. He really was a P.O.W, you know, and that does mean something.

It's not like Rudy Guiliani's noun, verb, 9/11 because all he was doing was exploiting other people's tragedy because he happened to be nearby.

It also answered very effectively the personality slights that McCain has been pushing against Obama. I loved the "I don't know how John McCain thinks Celeberties' lives are like, but that's my life" after going over his own biography. It was a great point.

I don't know if it's just because I'm watching MSNBC, which has sort of gained a reputation as the liberal version of fox news, but the coverage was really good. The commenter on that network were really whining about the lack of attacks earlier in the convention. Chuck Todd even said that the McCain Campaign was almost speechless.

Olberman actually said the republicans might postpone their convention until the week after next because the hurricane comming.

The republican convention won't be as big as the democratic one, but it still seems like a logical impossibility to move a convention a week like that. On the other hand, if they don't move it right now that hurricane is actually scheduled to hit New Orleans right when McCain accepts his party's nomination. If he does push it back a week, he'll have to accept on 9/11.

But we'll see what happens. Certanly most democrats are pretty happy right now, we'll see what happens. Rove's Protégés are good at what they do too.
posted by delmoi at 10:59 PM on August 28, 2008


kirkaracha, yeah -- when the orchestra kicked in after his speech I was totally thrown off when it turned out to not be the West Wing theme.
posted by ook at 11:00 PM on August 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama's repeated "now is the time" was a direct and deliberate reference to MLK's "I have a dream" speech.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:00 PM on August 28, 2008


Also ... wtf was that country song after the speech? Seriously.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:03 PM on August 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


The Republicans are also going to have a hell of a time at their convention kissing Bush and Cheney ass at the same time as trying to pretend they don't know'em.

delmoi: yes he was a POW. 9/11 also happened. The point is, are they relevant to whatever the current topic is? Usually not - being a POW does not qualify you or disqualify to be President any more than being black does. Or should.
posted by Rumple at 11:04 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't forget (many may not know) that Pitchfork Pat, before running for President himself and many other roles, mostly as commentator, began his career as a speechwriter for Nixon (and Agnew -- he was responsible for "pusillanimous pussy-footers"), along with William Safire (who came up with "nattering nabobs of negativism").[TIME] The man was obviously in professional awe.

Yes, absolutely, this was a speech designed to move his CHANGE message from the primary sandbox to the general election gridiron. [HA! Location joke!] He already has the nomination. The Democrats already know him and love him. The point of an acceptance speech, in the television age, anyway, is to appeal to the average voter.

I think it was a[nother] fantastic speech. With memories still surprisingly fresh of Kerry's mawking "reporting for duty!", not to mention Gore's weird endlesslove embrace with Tipper, there wasn't any obvious misstep or overcalculated move. The man seemed supremely confident in everything he said. I think it might even take some people by surprise. The rhetoric that Buchanan noted is cleverly stolen from the right's how-to garage. Democrats have tried to steal that car before but never seem to know how to drive it. The weaving is a tip-off. Obama knows how to drive.

There was some blog discussion of rumors that the Obama camp was nervous about messing with their "brand" for the general. I sppose they were nervous, but the risk is more -- dependent, of course, on a win -- on the part of the Obama brand redefining Democrats for a generation. It's a little scary to realize that we have officially entered the era of the "Obama Democrats".

Technical notes: Was I the only one with so much trouble getting a quality netcast? The DNC's adoption of Microsoft Silverlight should have come with an improved experience, but mine was more juddery than an unmaintained gravel road. Had to turn on the radio, which was a minute off.
posted by dhartung at 11:06 PM on August 28, 2008 [12 favorites]


dnab, been paying attention, but I don't think America needs another eight years of authoritarian centrism like with the Clintons

You're right, four more years of Bushism would be better for the USA. Yes indeedy!

Ignore the Obama hagiography, fine. The lesser of two evils is still less evil. And you only have two to choose from.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:07 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama's repeated "now is the time" was a direct and deliberate reference to MLK's "I have a dream" speech.

There were more than a few of those...

This is his moment, and I'll consider it a small act of grace if he wins. We could really use someone like him after the last eight years.
posted by spiderwire at 11:07 PM on August 28, 2008


Pat bloody Buchanan couldn't stop raving about it

Beautiful. I also loved the look on Rachael Madow's face as Buchanan was praising Obama.
posted by homunculus at 11:09 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Technical notes: Was I the only one with so much trouble getting a quality netcast? The DNC's adoption of Microsoft Silverlight should have come with an improved experience, but mine was more juddery than an unmaintained gravel road. Had to turn on the radio, which was a minute off."

For me, the netcast worked great. Crystal clear and the audio matched up with the video.
posted by clearly at 11:10 PM on August 28, 2008


being a POW does not qualify you or disqualify to be President any more than being black does. Or should.

Of course not, but in a nation where most people pick their candidate of choice based on instinctive gut reactions and blind patriotism regardless of consequence or reason is still depressingly common, it's still something that will matter to a whole lot of people. And since it's a whole lot of people, who can be swayed by soundbites and negative spin by talking heads on news stations, who ultimately decide who gets to be president (as opposed to some board of impartial judges who look at the matter solely based on how qualified the candidate is, which would be impossible), it still does mean something.

See this comment in the last Political thread.
posted by Caduceus at 11:13 PM on August 28, 2008


Also ... wtf was that country song after the speech? Seriously.

He was just trying to pick up some of the NASCAR votes.
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:14 PM on August 28, 2008


but it still seems like a logical impossibility to move a convention a week like that.

It really is. Once at my former job we briefly had to consider moving a convention of 3K people by a few days (thankfully didn't have to). It was a logistical nightmare. The party conventions in the USA are orders of magnitude of orders of magnitude more complex. It can't be done without seriously insane coin. I mean, tens and tens and tens of millions of dollars worth of money. A hundred thousand hotel rooms unbooked and rebooked--there's attrition penalties for that. Paying double for the stadium rental, plus an enormous premium for relocating whoever is booked in the next week. Caterers, tech people, drivers, runners, ushers. A hundred lobbyist parties at a hundred venues, displaced by a week and displacing other bookings... it would be an amount of money that is so unbelievably high I shudder to think that, horrifyingly, they could probably afford to do it.

On the other hand, if they don't move it right now that hurricane is actually scheduled to hit New Orleans right when McCain accepts his party's nomination. If he does push it back a week, he'll have to accept on 9/11.

'Have' to? That would be amazing for them. "On this day, on this infamous day when so many Americans lost their lives, America has asked me to contend for the Presidency. America has asked me to remember the thousands of innocent men and women who died at the hands of Islamic terrorists. America has asked me to..." etc ad nauseam. Honestly, McCain accepting on 9/11 would be a godsend for them.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:16 PM on August 28, 2008


Didn't we just have an Obama thread yesterday? Is there really a need for another one?
posted by gyc at 11:16 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is all they have.

Not so! Those noble ratfuckers patriots are on the case, sounding the clarion call to America: Beware! Beware the hubris of elitist set design!

of course, I totally missed the Looming Greek Columns of Treachery and Arugula during the speech itself, since I was too busy trying not to burst into tears during that magnificent speech. Lesson learned!
posted by scody at 11:16 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


> Also ... wtf was that country song after the speech? Seriously.

Only in America by Brooks and Dunn props to the vikings yo
posted by mrzarquon at 11:20 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice touch having Edward R. Murrow narrate the biographical video.
posted by Iridic at 11:21 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hoo! Looks like the arguing's started. I'm just stoked to see video links upthread. I caught the first half, but then a coworker called and asked me to explain puns to him. I heard the cheering while we were going over it one more time.

It'll probably change after I watch the speech, but so far the most interesting thing I've seen during this convention has been Bill Clinton stepping on Richardson's time slot yesterday. There still some bad blood there? I don't know the bump was intentional or not, but the program director who expected Clinton to keep his speech to ten minutes was more optimistic than ten Obamas.

Okay, watching the fucking video now. WTFV, I suppose.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:28 PM on August 28, 2008


I kept waiting for the zinger in that McCain ad, like a chyron in the lower third reading "Barack Obama: still just a meddling negro" or something. But it never happened, which in a way is even creepier than the ad as it ran.

Oh, and @gyc: Yes.
posted by littlerobothead at 11:28 PM on August 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


> Technical notes: Was I the only one with so much trouble getting a quality netcast? The DNC's adoption of Microsoft Silverlight should have come with an improved experience, but mine was more juddery than an unmaintained gravel road. Had to turn on the radio, which was a minute off.

This has probably be the single largest deployment and test of Silverlight + moveplayer or whatever the fuck that java applet they were using called for. Heaven forbid they actually use an already established RTSP solution that anyone with itunes or likes movie trailers has.

Yes, my only gripe with the entire fucking speech is that i finally installed silverlight in an attempt to see it, only to realize that once msnbc's servers stopped puking on themselves I could watch it in flash. What can I say, this is what I do for a living(not a professionally griper, but my colleagues may disagree, but professional 'how can we really do this best'-er).
posted by mrzarquon at 11:29 PM on August 28, 2008


Everyone remembers the "I have a dream" cadence, but it's worth recalling the beautiful words with which Dr. King closed his speech. It's the hope behind these words that Barack Obama drew upon so deeply tonight:
And if America is to be a great nation this must come true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California.

But not only that--let freedom ring from Stone Mountain in Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

"Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
The reason why Obama will win the presidency is not because America is ready for a black man to lead her. It's not because we have somehow overcome, or are ready to declare that we have overcome our sordid racist past. It is because Dr. King recognized that the fundamental equality of all men and women was woven into the fabric of our nation and that the struggles of black folks were the test of that fabric's integrity. Today, that test is different. It's more profound and more complex. It's economic and it's religious. It has to do with the power this generation wields over the next and the power this nation holds over other peoples. Obama realizes Dr. King's promise when he gestures beyond race at that harder and more basic hope.

The day before he died, Dr. King invoked Moses to describe himself. He recognized that he would not see the fruition of his labor in his lifetime and that, like Moses, he would die on the mountainside staring into the promised land. If we take that gut-wrenching prescience seriously, then it is no exaggeration to say that Barack Obama is for us like Joshua ben Nun, commissioned by Moses to do the hard work of realizing what was promised to Moses. And it's a hard thing to recognize that, if that is true, then the American people are the recalcitrant Israelites who struggled to trust in the truth of that promise.

I have never been so proud of, and so afraid for my country as I am tonight.
posted by felix betachat at 11:29 PM on August 28, 2008 [47 favorites]


I'm an expatriate - and as much as I love living abroad...I kind of want to come back now.
posted by mdonley at 11:32 PM on August 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


scody: "Beware! Beware the hubris of elitist set design!"

MOAR LIKE SATANIC SET DESIGN, AMIRITE
posted by Rhaomi at 11:36 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


@felix betachat: Every time I think I've concocted some truly glorious snark, someone writes a truly thoughtful comment like that and makes me feel like a total dork.

I was very moved by so much of what was said, and I'm hoping as hard as I can. I've been with this guy since a friend of mine was lucky enough to vote for him in Chicago and tell me all about him. I dearly hope he's going to take this message (our message) all the way to DC.
posted by littlerobothead at 11:36 PM on August 28, 2008


I look forward to McCain's acceptance speech, just to see what the strategy-makers in the GOP will have him try to do. Do they rebut specific points from Obama's speech tonight? Do they stay with the "Don't be taken in by this glib bimbo with a dangerous lack of experience" line?

Of course the cynical murmuring campaign about Obama's being this or that kind of wolf in sheep's clothing will proceed right through election day, and we can expect whatever, yes, ratfucking they think they can get away with (push-polling, disinformation aimed at voters in democratic strongholds, etc.)

But I just can't picture McCain deliviring a speech in the same league as what the country witnessed tonight.
posted by longsleeves at 11:41 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


ok, alright, if obama wins I'll come back and apply for citizenship
posted by infini at 11:51 PM on August 28, 2008


The speech was masterful except for the "8 is enough" line. Too cute. I teared up and I am generally without emotion.
posted by vrakatar at 11:53 PM on August 28, 2008


I get images of the Kennedy/Nixon debates in my mind when I try to imagine Obama and McCain debating.

Technically, just on words and speech alone, Nixon and Kennedy were toe to toe in regards to actually debate. But Kennedy came out the winner because of his stage presence. And to be fair, I don't imagine McCain as being comparable to Nixon in terms of his public speaking or debating abilities.

For some reason, and it may be the gin, I am seeing these conflicts, debates, attacks against Obama, as small slights, and I am see Obama handle them like Akido O'Sensei would, redirecting and diminishing their attacks.

Obama spoke in very simple words, and said very little that could be lifted as sound bites or out of context quotes to use for attack ads. And any ads that ran with such things could just have a response running the very next sentence.

He has in fact raised the level of debate, and kept the message clear enough that it leaves very little to actually contest (however, I personally have issue with the "clean" nuclear power bit, but that is because I have seen the US fail quite successfully at that promise).
posted by mrzarquon at 11:55 PM on August 28, 2008


Speaking of McCain and Nixon .... Nixon's campaign slogan in the 1960 campaign against Kennedy: "Experience Counts"*. Coincidence?
posted by Rumple at 12:05 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Did he really say "Eight is Enough"? I'd be too embarrassed by the possible accidental (?) association with a lame television series.

"Yes, we all know the last eight years have been no love boat, no fantasy island. It has been a time of gunsmoke, not green acres, and left Americans wondering what's happenin. But now is the time to show the world love, American style."
posted by pracowity at 12:05 AM on August 29, 2008 [30 favorites]


Go Obama! Exciting times we live in. Very exciting. Optimistic.
posted by MythMaker at 12:05 AM on August 29, 2008


He didn't mention race, and made only reference at the end to King's speech, because he didn't have to. It's like 'don't think of an elephant' - seeing this man give this speech on this day says more for the successes of the civil rights movement than any words could. And, indeed, throughout the speech my mind kept wandering back to the piles of books I've read on that earlier movement. I took a class a few years ago on it - 72 pages a night, seven nights a week - and learning about the Mississippi Freedom Summer and the SNCC made me wish I had lived in those times, to put my actions behind so excellent a cause.

Listening tonight I thought, here's a movement I can work for.

And the best part is that this isn't worth working for because it is the fulfillment of those long distant promises. Rather, this is an amazing candidate, addressing the actual problems of our country, and providing a real alternative to an establishment content to play golf while sending people to die in unnecessary wars.

I kept thinking of Kennedy's 'think not what your country can do for you,' and the massive ground campaign that Obama is running. A campaign run primarily through the mouth of the television has no choice but to be politics as usual - talking at people instead of to them.

Certainly a stirring speech; I think I'm going to start phone banking this weekend. I would go knock on doors, but in this liberal island of California there's almost no point. So I'll have to be content putting in phone calls to Missouri. I hope some of you will join me in this. If you really believe in this candidate, and want to see him succeed, remember that we have to put in the work to make sure that we don't 'blow this.'
posted by kaibutsu at 12:09 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Non-USians, of course, excepted.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:10 AM on August 29, 2008


Did he really say "Eight is Enough"?

He did. I thought it odd as well.

Someone should try and compile a list of all the references in that speech. There were many, I think. My favorite was to Langston Hughes.
posted by dobbs at 12:24 AM on August 29, 2008


One last thing. Someone on the McCain team has already anticipated the connection between Moses/Joshua and King/Obama. It's what was driving that weird ad from last month. People recognized the creepy messianic overtones and rightly saw it as a dogwhistle to the evangelical right. The use of Charlton Heston as Moses crossing the Red Sea was meant to inoculate evangelicals against recognizing in Obama the realization of Dr. King's legacy. Irresponsibly, the McCain campaign raised the imagery of apocalypse and anti-Christ to blunt Obama's ability to draw upon scriptural language and its particularly American transformations.

That's why it's astonishing for me to realize, just now, that Obama ended his speech with a dogwhistle so beautiful and so profound as to make a mockery of Michael Gerson's most sublte efforts. The final words of his speech were: "Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess." This is a quote from Hebrews 10, one that would (I think...a MeFite more pious than me can correct me if I'm wrong) have considerable resonance for evangelicals, since it precedes a very dramatic expression of God's absolute sovereignty and the essential role of a Christian's complete trust in God's will.

The actual quote from Hebrews 10:23 is: "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful". In a speech whose theme is "promise" and which invokes King's legacy of transforming the "promised land" into an American pastoral of freedom and equality, this quote does something quite profound. Obama speaks the first half of the quote, "the hope that we confess", seeming to be burnishing his Christian credentials. But the second half of the verse "for he who promised is faithful" emphasizes in a very powerful way Obama's message that his success is not about him. Those of us who are secular see him as an eloquent spokesman for our collective aspirations. But an evangelical could see him as the agent of divine providence. By ending his speech in this way, he challenges religious people either to deny the validity of his hope and his promise (something they cannot do without also denying the providential power of King's legacy and his death), or to deny the faithfulness of the God who promises (something that would undo their own confession).

To an audience that is used to having its scripture invoked with a nudge and a wink, this beautiful citation is a kind of a puzzle, challenging them to meditate on the relationship between their faith and their citizenship, Barack Obama's success and their idea of God's will realized on the landscape of American politics. They may not wind up agreeing with him, of course. But they will still have been challenged to think in ways far more profound than ham-fisted apocalypticism and B-movie portrayals.

The Hebrews quote continues: "and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. " This is as devastating a rejection of irresponsible invocations of the apocalypse as you could hope for.

And remember folks, our next president wrote this speech himself.
posted by felix betachat at 12:27 AM on August 29, 2008 [106 favorites]


Great speech, would drink again!!1!
posted by dhammond at 12:27 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


That was fucking awesome. I loved the bit about how McCain won't follow Bin Laden to the cave that he lives in. Off to donate now.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:28 AM on August 29, 2008


Why does everyone keep calling Obama a black man when he's actually as much white as he is black? It's a weird American race dynamic that nobody seems to talk about. If you're totally 100% 'white', then you're white, but if any part of you isn't white, then you're something else. Obama is 1/2 black, 1/2 white, genetically anyway. It seems to me that given his message that's even more relevant than being 'black'.

Also, everybody take a chill pill!!! Sure Obama's a million percent better than Bush, but then who wouldn't be? He seems like a decent guy but he aint going to change the world. Sorry to rain on your parade but that's how it is. Hopefully he'll make things somewhat better, but the president of the USA doesn't determine the nature of worldwide reality. If he wins he's going to get compromised, it's inevitable. I'm not saying the effort is pointless, far from it. Huge crowds cheering just give me the creeps.

I think it's safe to say that anyone who was REALLY going to change things, in an elemental way, by definition would not be nominated by the Democratic party.
posted by crazylegs at 12:44 AM on August 29, 2008


I think it's safe to say that anyone who was REALLY going to change things, in an elemental way, by definition would not be nominated by the Democratic party.

FDR. Easy button.
posted by clearly at 12:48 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Did he really say "Eight is Enough"?

With six you get eggroll.
posted by Wolof at 12:49 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sure Obama's a million percent better than Bush, but then who wouldn't be?

I had a dog once, bit children every chance he got, not sure but I think he just might've been a worse President than Bush.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:50 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


better. child-biting dog better president than bush.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:52 AM on August 29, 2008 [3 favorites]



Why does everyone keep calling Obama a black man when he's actually as much white as he is black?


I can't believe I have to point this out but Because he looks black? And because to some racist folks that is all that matters? And because he might have trouble hailing a taxi at 2.00 in the morning in downtown Chicago? And because there are centuries of history of black folks being put into two groups: those that can, and those that can't "pass" as white? Because a single drop of blood can make you black, or Jewish, or any other group that might be the subject of hate? Or maybe you just think everyone should stick their fingers in their ears and go lalalalalalala he is half white so let's call him white lalalalala?
posted by Rumple at 12:57 AM on August 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


I have never been so proud of, and so afraid for my country as I am tonight.

...Never seen it shine so bright.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:57 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't know, crazylegs, it feels different this time. In my opinion, Gore and Kerry were a million percent better than Bush but I know I didn't feel this way in those elections.

Also, you are right that it is a weird race dynamic to call him black but the truth in this country is that if your skin is brown and you have kinky hair you are not considered white, with all that imlies. So his calling himself black or anyone else calling hime black is just reality.

I was out tonight and am about to watch Obama's speech, but I would say that Kerry's speech has been the best I've seen yet. Kennedy, both Clintons, Biden and Gore were good...
posted by Pax at 1:02 AM on August 29, 2008


It seems like some early rallying by the right at the moment is gathering around Charles Krauthammer's "The Perfect Stranger" response - basically suggesting a dearth of personal testimonials for Obama on show at this DNC.

Political historians, what are your thoughts in terms of past conventions, Dem and GOP, in terms of this "personal vouching"? This article suggests "such personal testimonials are the norm" and calls them "eerily missing". Do you think there is any "there" there, objectively. (I do understand that this is essentially a "grasping at straws" sort of charge for lack of more substantive criticisms at this point, but I'm just curious about this charge in a ... I don't know ... statistical? normative? sense.)
posted by taz at 1:04 AM on August 29, 2008


Rumple: relax... breathe... I'm not going to hurt you...
posted by crazylegs at 1:07 AM on August 29, 2008


There was a really sweet moment after he finished and his family joined him on-stage. Michelle and he had their arms around each other and she looked up into the sky, pointed and you could clearly see her say "nice moon," and Barack turned around and said "yep." Those two are crazy for each other.
posted by one_bean at 1:12 AM on August 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


what are your thoughts in terms of past conventions, Dem and GOP, in terms of this "personal vouching"?

After Tommy Lee Jones in 2000, I'm just as happy not to see celebrities going week-kneed in front of an audience of political geeks. God he was awful. So weird to see an actor unable to connect with an audience like he did.
posted by one_bean at 1:14 AM on August 29, 2008


I dunno, taz - because Obama hasn't been hanging out/ sucking up to the the Democratic leadership all his life? One of his primary points against McCain is that McCain has been caught in the Washington echo chamber for thirty years; Krauthammer's just making an asinine attempt to undercut Obama because he, you know, didn't spend the last quarter-century cutting deals for lobbyists.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:17 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, he is quite literally an African American. Or, as the Daily Show's fake biopic put it, "His father came from darkest Africa, while his mother hailed from whitest Wichita."

one_bean: "There was a really sweet moment after he finished and his family joined him on-stage. Michelle and he had their arms around each other and she looked up into the sky, pointed and you could clearly see her say "nice moon," and Barack turned around and said "yep." Those two are crazy for each other."

You sure? I looked it up and the moon should be barely visible this time of the month. Though it would be pretty cool if true.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:20 AM on August 29, 2008


American Dream - check
Lower taxes - check
Family - check
Moral homilies - check
Evil corporations - check
Change - check
God Bless America - check
posted by A189Nut at 1:51 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, the entire speech, including the three solid minutes of cheering at the start and the families coming on stage at the end, is now cached in High Def at the Dem's convention website.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:30 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Where can I see video of this "nice moon" stuff?
posted by pracowity at 2:36 AM on August 29, 2008


felix betachat Great post. This is why we all come to Metafilter.
posted by vac2003 at 2:56 AM on August 29, 2008


Where can I see video of this "nice moon" stuff?

It's at 52.02 in the video I linked above.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:10 AM on August 29, 2008


I stayed up to watch it (and accidentally set my phone clock rather than my alarm so when I woke up I thought I was 4 hours late for work).

While good, and certainly encouraging to the faithful, I wish he had spent more time going over why, specifically, the alternative was so mind bogglingly awful. The republican record needed to be brought to task and I don't think he really did that. A rhetorical call to avoid "more of the same" with the occaisional oblique reference is not as satisfying (nor, I fear, as immediately identifiable for the persuadable) as a short list of the multitude of crimes and misdemeanours perpetrated by the current regime.

I can see why he didn't want to go negative, and I can't vote so my opinion counts for a cup of coffee minus the cup (and the coffee), but I really wanted to see him get medieval on their asses and was a bit miffed when he didn't.
posted by Sparx at 3:11 AM on August 29, 2008


Mediocre, that's an excellent (non-mediocre!) story. In some ways, it's as good to hear about the effects of the speech on the non-invested as it is to hear the actual speech.

Pat Buchanan is a xenophobe, but unlike most conservatives these days, he's willing to admit when his "opponents" are on point. I hated him as a kid, but somehow, after seeing him softened up by the shock of the neocons, he seems so much less threatening, and I just don't feel angry about him anymore. It's weird.

Cornel West was on Tavis Smiley saying that Obama should have made it all about MLK, or at least substantially moreso. I think that doing exactly what he did honored Dr. King far more than constant explicit mention of his name.
posted by ignignokt at 3:24 AM on August 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Joe Scarborough has been gushing like Chris Matthews.
posted by Poolio at 3:28 AM on August 29, 2008


Thanks, Happy Dave.

It looks like she could be saying something like "Oh, look at the moon." But there is an almost new moon now, so it can't be... it's the Republican Death Star!

I really wanted to see him get medieval on their asses and was a bit miffed when he didn't.

It's a game of winning hearts (not minds) right now, a pageant, a ceremony, an annointing, not a debate. He can't be too negative about Republicans now without people feeling like he's being negative in general and specifically being negative about the half of the people in the US who voted that way. That would leave McCain an easy way to come across as Mr Positive. Also, Obama can't risk being seen by timid conservatives as a scary young negro who will berate old white men the first chance he gets. It has to be smiles and hugs and hope now. Let him win first.
posted by pracowity at 3:55 AM on August 29, 2008


The DNCC video website is very confused. It kicks me out with an incompatible browser error which lists my setup (Tiger/Safari) as an acceptable one. Grrr.
posted by Skorgu at 3:55 AM on August 29, 2008


Good morning, America! You're looking better than you have in a very long time.
and good morning to you, too, metafilter. i love you too.
posted by malaprohibita at 3:57 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sparx The republican record needed to be brought to task and I don't think he really did that. A rhetorical call to avoid "more of the same" with the occaisional oblique reference is not as satisfying (nor, I fear, as immediately identifiable for the persuadable) as a short list of the multitude of crimes and misdemeanours perpetrated by the current regime.

The campaign is not yet over. In some ways, it can be said to have only just begun.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:00 AM on August 29, 2008


Anybody know where I can get just the audio? Maybe the audio for a bunch of Obama speeches?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:14 AM on August 29, 2008


Anybody know where I can get just the audio? Maybe the audio for a bunch of Obama speeches?

American Rhetoric has a bunch. Click through to each one for WMV videos and downloadable mp3s.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:33 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Perfect. Thanks!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:49 AM on August 29, 2008


When I saw him speak in 2004, I said "That guy is going to be the president." No one believed me.

I love being right about things... especially something like this. I really think he's the only guy who can turn "grab the branch" and keep us from going over the waterfall. Even if all he does is grab it and hold on for a few years, that'll be better than McCain triumphantly shouting GERONIMO! and take the entire world into the abyss with him.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:54 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


turn
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:57 AM on August 29, 2008


Didn't we just have an Obama thread yesterday? Is there really a need for another one?

gyc, brother, we're just getting started. I'm just happy that there isn't the usual non sequitur hand grenade tossed in Hillary Clinton's general direction. Yet.
posted by Kwine at 5:03 AM on August 29, 2008


Rumple: I can't believe I have to point this out but Because he looks black? [...] Or maybe you just think everyone should stick their fingers in their ears and go lalalalalalala he is half white so let's call him white lalalalala?

Disagreement, befuddlement, wankery from myriad corners: Debra Dickerson, Stanley Crouch, Time Magazine, and the Internet.

Obama isn't black. "Black," in our political and social reality, means those descended from West African slaves. Voluntary immigrants of African descent (even those descended from West Indian slaves) are just that, voluntary immigrants of African descent with markedly different outlooks on the role of race in their lives and in politics. [Salon]

when black Americans refer to Obama as "one of us," I do not know what they are talking about. In his new book, "The Audacity of Hope," Obama makes it clear that, while he has experienced some light versions of typical racial stereotypes, he cannot claim those problems as his own - nor has he lived the life of a black American. [Free Republic, NY Post reprint]

posted by kid ichorous at 5:07 AM on August 29, 2008


chuckdarwin, you and I had identical experiences in 2004, and we share the same hopes now. I'm greedier, though—I want more.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:14 AM on August 29, 2008


I miss the deleted thread.
Coincidentally, "What the Barack?" is McCain's new campaign slogan.
posted by lukemeister at 5:29 AM on August 29, 2008


I jumped into this thread un-logged-in this morning and was briefly thrown by the ad that the auto-ad-adder added. More of the same...
posted by mmahaffie at 6:00 AM on August 29, 2008


This country has exactly one chance to get it right, I can't imagine how we'll every recover if we fail to make the right decision this time around.

It felt to me that Obama said the words that needed to be said last night. He needed to fire up his supporters, he needed to draw in to work for him those that might vote for him but aren't out there pounding the streets, he needed bring over some of those that are on the fence. I think he did these things. And, yes, it's a long road from here to the election.

This speech was so refreshing after 8 years of watching and listening to the misinformed, hateful, ignorant asshole we have in office now. It was akin to ice water after 8 years in the desert.

I wish this man well, I admire his bravery, and I pray (even as an atheist) for his safety!
posted by HuronBob at 6:00 AM on August 29, 2008


I cried for two hours. I'm crying now. I am so full of joy and hope because of this. I did not ever really believe that this country would nominate a black man for president in my lifetime. And that the runner up was a woman just made it that much sweeter-- historic no matter which amazing candidate won. God bless America indeed. I have never said that before.
posted by nax at 6:14 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also ... wtf was that country song after the speech? Seriously.
According to David Gregory on MSNBC, it was the same song that George W. Bush used to close all of his election rallies.

I don't know the actual title of it, but it might as well have been "We're America Too, and Don't You Forget It".
posted by Flunkie at 6:17 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


As an outsider, I see this election as the party that offers hope vs. the party that offers shelter from fear. And our fears are realized more often than our hopes. This was a nice speech, a good speech, but November is a long way off, and the Republicans have barely even started their campaigning. Since FDR, the USA has been a virtual playground for Republican presidential candidates, and I'm not ready to believe they're done winning yet.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:17 AM on August 29, 2008


Countries, US states and words mentioned in Sen. Obama's speech
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:24 AM on August 29, 2008


But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

One doesn't often have the chance to elect a man with common sense president. What he'll manage to accomplish is another story, but I don't see how someone would prefer "Iraqi Liberator" McCain to him.
posted by ersatz at 6:29 AM on August 29, 2008


The problem with Obama going really, really negative is the unspoken but widespread discomfort when Blacks speak truth to power in America. Martin Luther King, for instance, has been "whitewashed" to the extent to where all people are taught is his "I have a dream" speech, but King's many speeches and rallies on behalf of social justice issues like workers' rights have been completely flushed down the mainstream memory hole. Had Obama issued any substantive challenges or personal attacks beyond the usual centrist-Democratic themes in his speech, he would've instantly became marginalized as Just Another Black Candidate, another Jesse Jackson. I'm reminded of the scene in Ellison's Invisible Man when the narrator accidentally said "social equality" instead of "social responsibility" during his speech, and the whites in charge completely stopped the speech until he corrected that terrible faux pas. Blacks in the public spotlight have to be very, very careful about what they say. This is why when Obama name-checked Katrina in his speech, he immediately justified doing so as an example of Bush's cronyism and incompetence -- lest he be mistaken for alluding to racially-tinged Katrina issues like how first-responders and other government relief disproportionately assisted the whiter wards of New Orleans. That interpretation would've been "Angry Black Man" material. Black politicians just can't talk about issues like that without falling out of the political mainstream. It's no accident that even the words "Martin Luther King, Jr." and "I have a dream" were omitted, and this well-publicized anniversary was only alluded to elliptically and brought up at the very end. (Look at how naturally it would've otherwise fit in elsewhere in the speech -- for example, while discussing the heroes that made him who he is.) Obama could not play the race card during the primaries and will not play it during the general election campaign, because even appearing to do under any reasonable interpretation becomes pure political poison. (And die-hard supporters of his opponents will always accuse him of doing so regardless; this is one of the taxonomological distinctions between a fervent Clinton supporter and a PUMA.)

In fact, Obama flirted perilously close to an "Angry Black Man" moment with his throaty "Enough!", which undoubtedly made many jump in their seats. But in context, it reinforces the notion that he "gets it" and McCain doesn't when it comes to how frustrated the electorate has been with the past 8 years, rather than being misconstrued as somehow being mad at Whitey for mistreating the negros. It's political natural selection: Obama wouldn't have gotten this far without having studied the pitfalls along the road for previous Black candidates. In my mind, Obama's political persona has been developed out of pure necessity; I believe that we are witnessing the evolution of what will become the archetypal Inoffensive Black Candidate that will be the only way any Black candidate has a chance at winning a nation-wide election for the foreseeable future. Truth be told, in my way of thinking Obama's political persona is a sad indictment of race in America. When will mainstream Black politicians finally be allowed the full range of humanity without falling out of the mainstream?

Now, the media has been painting Obama's selection of Biden as proof that Obama is unable to throw his own punches (he was already being labeled a "sissy" and a "wimp" for allowing Clinton's name to be put into nomination) or deal with national security issues on his own, which is why Obama was almost forced to address this supposed "weakness" by attacking McCain in his speech, especially on foreign policy grounds. But look at how delicately he made his case: for instance, while discussing economics, he explicitly goes on to explain that "It's not because John McCain doesn't care; it's because John McCain doesn't get it" to avoid familiar race-based charges like the brouhaha over "Bush doesn't care about Black people." Now, at no point during the campaign had McCain's empathy been questioned; bringing this up was pure defense because Obama was a Black man making economic-based attacks against an established White politician, and needed to inoculate himself from certain knee-jerk reactions from certain quarters. (Contrast this against how Jesse Jackson discussed economic issues during his presidential run, for instance.) Likewise, McCain attacks Obama as being "elitist" but Obama counterattacks McCain with "doesn't get it" and "out of touch." Can you imagine what would happen if Obama attacked McCain using a potentially racially-loaded word like "elitist"? There's a lot of rhetorical territory that's out-of-bounds for a Black politician like Obama, and that's one reason he has to be so careful and deliberate when attacking McCain -- and why he does it so sparingly.

But he attacked astoundingly deftly in this speech, leaving not a drop of blood on his hands. There are laundry lists of what McCain got wrong versus what Obama claims to have gotten right; there are policy contrasts and counterproposals for the nuts-and-bolts wonks to dissect and discuss; and there are memorable soundbites to distill things to the heart of the matter for the peanut gallery, as evidenced by the crowd immediately chanting "Eight is enough!" as soon as Obama uttered those words. (Obama's huge smile when that happened confirmed that this was the desired effect of that line.) He was working things from many different angles, at many different levels; felix betachat's excellent comment elucidates how even apparently throwaway Biblical references have to be absolutely 100% spot-on to parry any charges that he's somehow faking his religion, thanks to the old secret Muslim smear. The best single example that comes to mind is the accusation that Obama is a risky and unready candidate (going as far back as even before President Clinton's "roll of the dice" comment), and Obama brilliantly countering that charge by framing McCain's 90%+ Pro-Bush voting record in the Senate as "taking a 10% chance on change." Wholly unexpected, and very concisely and neatly done. Whether you agree with him or not, this was a masterful stroke of rhetoric and nobody in recent memory pulls off these counterpunches like Obama has. And look at how he seized McCain's "celebrity" charge as an opportunity to hammer home his humble single-mother roots again. Any student of rhetoric will be studying Obama's speeches for decades to come.

Overall, this Obama speech adheres extremely well to the old political rule of "first, do no harm"; Republicans will have to really work and strain to attack it. That Obama managed to hit virtually every item in the huge checklist of things he needed to address while avoiding the many, many pitfalls along the way is a remarkable sign of sheer political competence. But do to so while firing up a huge crowd, stirring and inspiring the millions among those watching on TV, and providing so little fodder to be used against him despite this massive scrutiny? Okay, now that's simply an unreal performance. After a convention with a number of great and very diverse speeches (Michelle Obama, Sen. Clinton, Kerry, Schweitzer), some may have wondered how it would all be topped, but Obama has really put the exclamation point on the proceedings. If it weren't for Obama's party and policies, I'm sure most Republicans would love to see this man speak for and represent their idea of America, too. (And who knows: the word "Obamacan" may be fully entering the national lexicon in the years to come.) As it is, many of them are surely seething with envy at the Democrats right now -- especially McCain's speechwriters. I don't envy their task of producing their follow-up for next week.
posted by DaShiv at 6:35 AM on August 29, 2008 [71 favorites]


I received a text message last night from my girlfriend who was a big Hillary supporter and never really liked Obama; or most likely didn't like the hype around Obama. I believe she never really gave him a chance. So last night I got a message asking me , "Are you watching the speech?"

"I am," I replied

"It's pretty good," she said. From that I could hear a chink form in her armor and it convinced me that if he could get her to admit that, it was powerful indeed.
posted by yeti at 6:38 AM on August 29, 2008


He nailed it. 10.0. Andrew Sullivan's very insightful here:

It was a deeply substantive speech, full of policy detail, full of people other than the candidate, centered overwhelmingly on domestic economic anxiety. It was a liberal speech, more unabashedly, unashamedly liberal than any Democratic acceptance speech since the great era of American liberalism. But it made the case for that liberalism - in the context of the decline of the American dream, and the rise of cynicism and the collapse of cultural unity. His ability to portray that liberalism as a patriotic, unifying, ennobling tradition makes him the most lethal and remarkable Democratic figure since John F Kennedy.

What he didn't do was give an airy, abstract, dreamy confection of rhetoric. The McCain campaign set Obama up as a celebrity airhead, a Paris Hilton of wealth and elitism. And he let them portray him that way, and let them over-reach, and let them punch him again and again ... and then he turned around and destroyed them. If the Rove Republicans thought they were playing with a patsy, they just got a reality check.

He took every assault on him and turned them around. He showed not just that he understood the experience of many middle class Americans, but that he understood how the Republicans have succeeded in smearing him. And he didn't shrink from the personal charges; he rebutted them. Whoever else this was, it was not Adlai Stevenson. It was not Jimmy Carter. And it was less afraid and less calculating than Bill Clinton.


We haven't heard a presidential candidate articulate liberal ideas that proudly and confidently and eloquently since, well, Josiah Bartlet. It blows me away that he's here and he's real.

That scratching sound you hear? That's pens signing on the line which is dotted.
posted by EarBucket at 6:38 AM on August 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Rachel Maddow looks like she is trying to figure out who has taken over Pat Buchanan's brain.
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:38 AM on August 29, 2008


Oh and look... it's DaShiv. Talk about a tough act to follow.
posted by yeti at 6:39 AM on August 29, 2008


Countries, US states and words mentioned in Sen. Obama's speech

Neat. He forgot Poland.
posted by cortex at 6:53 AM on August 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


I actually found DaShiv's take a little annoying this time. Oooh Obama can't be the "Scary black man". Whatever. Even a white candidate would have problems if they really went after all the problems in the bush administration. People just don't want to hear that their country has been run by criminals for the past 8 years, no matter who says it. And furthermore Obama went much farther in defending liberalism then most Democratic candidates. Look at how he framed the importance of the responsibility we have for eachother. You wouldn't hear Bill Clinton do that (or at least I don't recall him doing that, it's been a long time. I was 12 when he was elected).

Anyway, just look at how Howard Dean, who is white, was pilloried for what he said, even though his criticisms didn't come close to measuring up to the Bush administration's level of mendacity (mostly because we didn't know all that much in 2003, we didn't know about systematic torture, about wiretapping, Katrina hadn't happened, the full impact of the economic problems hadn't been born out, the war was just getting into it's first and second year, etc.)

If you really tried to tell people what has actually been going on, in full detail, you'd be seen as crazy by most Americans, no matter what color your skin was.
posted by delmoi at 6:53 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thanks to Ask Metafilter, I am tickled to mention that the closing instrumental music (after the country music has passed) is from Remember The Titans, "the true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit." Almost too good, innit.
posted by so_necessary at 6:57 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I said "That guy is going to be the president." No one believed me.

I said the same thing, chuckdarwin. Nobody believed me either. But I'm less lonely now that there's the two of us.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:57 AM on August 29, 2008


Charles Babington. Find new work.
posted by culpable at 7:00 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of people thought he'd be president someday. Not many thought it'd be in four years, though, I'd bet.
posted by EarBucket at 7:01 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not American; but I find myself unguardedly admiring Obama as an American, not simply as an admirable man living in America. I think it's the first time in my life I have had this feeling.

Also, this isn't deep, but to hear a politican pronounce words (like "Taliban") differently from me, it's refreshing to think "Huh. I guess that's how it's pronounced" rather than "Huh. This guy's a fucking moron."

Damn you, America, you're going to make me start to like you after all these decades, aren't you? Just don't pull the fucking rug out from under me again.

Seconded. Pretty please.

posted by ~ at 7:01 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Barack Obama is president of my heart.

Seriously, though, how brilliant that speech was. And how brilliant to have it preceded by those speeches from actual real-life "regular" people -- his appearing after that seemed like the logical cumulation of the country's collective voice. This idea was elaborated upon quite powerfully, too, when he said, towards the end, "This election has never been about me -- it has been about you."
posted by mothershock at 7:13 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I actually found DaShiv's take a little annoying this time.
Well, he *is* part of the Metafilter elite.
posted by lukemeister at 7:15 AM on August 29, 2008


I said "That guy is going to be the president." No one believed me.

I don't want to rain on your vindication parade, but speculation about Obama running for President was pretty easy to find following that speech, such as this Knight-Ridder piece.

taz: The basic truth about Krauthammer is that he is not a commentator. He is an attack dog. There may once have been a day when he could claim to be an analyst, but he has been a strictly partisan animal for at least this entire decade. The only thing that trumps Republican ideology, for him, is rabid Zionism (in the sense of American as guarantor of Israel's security). In short, there is nothing about Krauthammer that can be taken at face value, certainly not his incoherent political convention "expertise". Like the flap about the Greek columns, it isn't a matter of them noticing something and forming a reaction to it, but of them needing a reaction and grasping at a rationale.
posted by dhartung at 7:20 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I said the same thing, chuckdarwin. Nobody believed me either.

I still don't believe you. Which is a pretty sad thing.
posted by dobbs at 7:27 AM on August 29, 2008


I heard a lot of generalities, but no specifics.

Not enough specifics? What the hell do you want? Pie charts and PowerPoint?
posted by jonp72 at 7:32 AM on August 29, 2008


I've told this story in a prior thread somewhere, but it's short and to the point.

On the morning after the Iowa caucuses, I was in a deli in Harlem, very early (like 5AM). The only other people in the deli were a Yemeni kid behind the counter and an elderly African American man who looked like he knew what hard times meant.

The old man was holding a copy of the New York Post up high, squinting at it and showing it to the kid behind the counter. It featured a big photo of Barack Obama with a headline like "Obama Wins Iowa!" or something like that.

And the old man said, three or so times in a row, and in a low and suspicious voice, "I can't believe they let the brother win this time."

That was the day I made my first contribution to the Obama campaign, though I remember thinking during the 2004 convention speech that I was sure he would be president some day.

And I'm just hearing it's confirmed Sarah Palin is McCain's Veep pick. Wow. A weird, outside pick. She's good -- I know Alaska well. Strong, interesting response. But not enough.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:40 AM on August 29, 2008


I said "That guy is going to be the president." No one believed me.

It's going to be a long ugly two months until November 4. There are many rats to be fucked before this this is all over. I already saw ads during the Steelers game last night calling Obama a terrorist who's going to blow up the capital. The more that they feel cornered, the dirtier they will fight.
posted by octothorpe at 7:41 AM on August 29, 2008


The more that they feel cornered, the dirtier they will fight.

The difference is that this time we picked a couple of guys who know how to fight back.
posted by felix betachat at 7:43 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I actually found DaShiv's take a little annoying this time. Oooh Obama can't be the "Scary black man". Whatever. Even a white candidate would have problems if they really went after all the problems in the bush administration.

Yeah, but you have to recognize that "the angry young black man" is a major archetype in our culture. Even MTV, which is not exactly a bastion of cultural conservatism, seems to have an Angry Young Black Man in every single season of the Real World. Obama would not have gotten as far as he has, if he wasn't remarkably more well-adjusted and un-angry than most blacks or whties.
posted by jonp72 at 7:45 AM on August 29, 2008


Yeah, but you can't hit a girl. Fuck, the media is not going to shut up about Palin for the rest of the campaign.
posted by maudlin at 7:46 AM on August 29, 2008


Palin's a Hail Mary pass, but it's the right play. She's got some pretty serious negatives, though. She'd seem to negate McCain's experience argument--on that front, she makes Obama look like Henry Kissinger. And I seriously thought that the current investigation into whether she got her sister's estranged husband fired from his state trooper job would take her out of play. I guess not.
posted by EarBucket at 7:52 AM on August 29, 2008


To complement Dashiv's extensive comment, there's something I don't remember having ever seen in a speech:
I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.
In which he explains succintly what the part of the Reps game has been at least since 2001, which is fearmongering. In a parallel, Mr Berlusconi took inspiration by Joseph Raymond McCarthy , depicting the "commuist threat" as cause of most of Italian problems and he is still going on, relentless, with the same tired lines with minor variations, providing a target outlet for any kind outrage to vent on, stopping short of rounding all the "communist".
You make a big election about small things.

And you know what - it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.
Which explains audience what's going on and stops short of making people feel like fools, while suggesting that they have been exploited. And the change starts from Obama telling them what the music has been in past and will be in the future, more of the same.
posted by elpapacito at 7:54 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


The trooper story is a mess, but from what I've read, he was a pretty bad actor: threatened her family, tasered a kid, etc. I have no idea how true those allegations are, nor am I justifying her actions, but I think her own personal Troopergate is spinnable.

The only things I can think of right now that would work against her overall electability is that she is so new, and that she's deeply conservative. But then again, she may actually be able to sell herself as a compassionate conservative, too.

She's a lightweight, but I've been worried about her as the most dangerous VP choice for months.
posted by maudlin at 7:56 AM on August 29, 2008


Yeah, I'm feeling uneasy about the Palin pick. She's like a Republican Obama: a young, attractive, "maverick" outsider with a claim on reform. Still the same shitty policies, of course, but this will more likely than not give a boost to McCain at a time when he needs to take a popularity hit. Not to mention the way Palin seems targeted to scoop up disaffected Clinton voters, as stupidly sexist it would be for them to switch allegiances because of the veep's gender.

And I'm having a hard time picturing how Biden will deal with her during their debate. He's one "OMG SEXIST" gaffe away from repulsing a significant part of the Democratic women Obama needs to win this thing.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:56 AM on August 29, 2008


EarBucket: "Palin's a Hail Mary pass, but it's the right play. She's got some pretty serious negatives, though. She'd seem to negate McCain's experience argument"

maudlin: "The only things I can think of right now that would work against her overall electability is that she is so new"

But how can Obama's people capitalize on that without sounding like hypocrites?

Also, I find it funny how much opposites have attracted in this campaign: a long-serving, experienced member of the Washington establishment paired with a new, young, fresh faced "novelty" candidate with ideas of reform. How each party placed them in terms of President/VP says a lot, I think.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:01 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think Palin could potentially alienate some evangelicals, too. She's moderate on gay rights, and some conservative Christians are going to be uncomfortable, whether they're willing to say so or not, with the idea of a woman a heartbeat away from the presidency.
posted by EarBucket at 8:03 AM on August 29, 2008


Delmoi : Obama can't be the "Scary black man". Whatever.

I find it baffling to think that there are still Americans who deny Obama's skin colour is going to have enormous impact on this election.

There is a massive section of both the red and blue parts of the American population who is terrified of black men. If he is to get them to vote for him he has to be as non-threatening as he can possibly be. When it comes to the secrecy of the polling booth then people will hold their valuables remember their upbringing and vote with fear.

Maudlin : Yeah, but you can't hit a girl.

Watch closely, sometime before November a couple of news cycles will be taken up with some mid-ranking old-guard republican making a chiffarobe joke. They are going to be that blatant about it.
posted by fullerine at 8:05 AM on August 29, 2008


But how can Obama's people capitalize on that without sounding like hypocrites?

Easy. "John McCain thinks experience is so important, he's chosen someone with two whole years of it to step into his shoes if something happens. Barack Obama has twelve years in elected office, four of them serving in the United States Senate."
posted by EarBucket at 8:07 AM on August 29, 2008


Headline: McCain Said to Choose Alaska’s Palin
Location? Right under NYT's section title "2008 Democratic Convention". So the top story under the Democratic banner is the Republican's VP choice.

Let's see what the Democrats can come up with during the Republican Convention. I doubt it'll be anything near as good.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:07 AM on August 29, 2008


DaShiv - Thank you for that spin on the speech - it makes a lot of sense to me, and I haven't heard it anywhere else.

Obama really is truly brilliant.
posted by lunit at 8:11 AM on August 29, 2008


This is a quote from Hebrews 10, one that would (I think...a MeFite more pious than me can correct me if I'm wrong) have considerable resonance for evangelicals, since it precedes a very dramatic expression of God's absolute sovereignty and the essential role of a Christian's complete trust in God's will.

Not exactly. What it is is a conclusion to a long section of Hebrews explaining how a) The old worship system was based on shedding animal blood at the hands of priests, but b) the blood of Christ shed on the cross substitutes for all those animal sacrifices, and thus c) belief in Jesus and forgiveness of sins through his blood is enough. Hebrews 10.23 is part of the charge that follows -- because you have confidence through his Blood, hang on to that faith, stop sinning, and love and do good works.

But the crucial thing here is "hope" and "promise" here, which are translated that way in most Bibles. Obama is trying to connect the "hope" of the campaign with the "promise" of his election. It's a nice overlay, and it's going to appeal greatly to moderate and liberal Christians (as well as evangelicals in the tank for Obama already), but conservatives? They hear it, but they may not see it. In fact, I've already seen a couple saying that Obama was blasphemous for even attempting that, that he was trying to equate himself with Jesus. (And that's really nutty, honestly. We've had years of Republican political speeches filled with biblical allusions -- why didn't anyone criticize them?)

The one thing no one has picked up on, though, is that he quoted Hebrews. Hebrews is a New Testament book (really, an epistle). The common motif of African-American speeches is to quote the OLD Testament. The Old Testament, especially the book of Exodus, spoke to a people who were in slavery. The Exile after the destruction of the First Temple fit with the "exile" from Africa and their African roots. And you don't know how many black preachers I've heard quote from Nehemiah, which centers around rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem post-Exile, to frame their community improvement plans.

So for Obama to go to the New Testament, and an epistle at that, is a surprise. But it fits. He appeals to a white audience that spends more time in the New Testament than the Old. He breaks with the tradition of African-American oration. At the same time, though, he still connects to it, via Jesse Jackson's "Keep Hope Alive" speech, which was an obtuse reference to the same Bible passage.

It fit the moment. And with his preacher cadence running, it just even more emphasized the two themes he was after: I am change, and I am nothing to fear.
posted by dw at 8:16 AM on August 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


GhostintheMachine: "Let's see what the Democrats can come up with during the Republican Convention. I doubt it'll be anything near as good."

The Democrats don't need to do anything, mother nature has her own plans.
posted by octothorpe at 8:19 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sarah Palin has been governor for two years, and is supposed to be the person who can step into the shoes of an ailing President at any time and run the country. The repubs can't really use the "inexperienced" charge against Obama any more can they? I happen to think Palin is a choice that ultimately weakens the ticket. It seems damn shortsighted, at any rate- more about "woo! A woman!" than boosting the ticket. I can't wait for her to go up against Biden.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:20 AM on August 29, 2008


delmoi: I think you're right in that I'm possibly overreaching into plate-of-beans territory here, and your example of Dean is particularly salient. But consider this thought experiment: if it were Obama rather than McCain who had the nasty temper problem, the election narrative would be different. Very different. For starters, we'd be discussing Sen. Clinton's acceptance speech last night.

Hot-headed anger in McCain is interpreted by the MSM as a symptom of his maverickness; the same in Obama would've been a character defect that would've caused him to be weeded out during the political natural selection process. Little things matter enormously when it comes to the intersection of race and American politics.

By the way, according to ABC Palin's spokesperson says it's not her. McCain reassured his fellow senators last week that he'd go with a "traditional" pick; I'm guessing it means he'd be leaning toward someone more like Cantor perhaps. In any case I think all the speculation about a huge game-changing VP will turn out to be just idle speculation and wishful thinking.

lukemeister, your comment almost made me do a spit-take. See this MeTa comment for a rebuttal. I'm thinking maybe "meetup whore" is a more accurate description.
posted by DaShiv at 8:25 AM on August 29, 2008


BTW, Palin is a creationist.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:25 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just to add my lame, lame $0.02: that was a fucking badass speech.
posted by zardoz at 8:36 AM on August 29, 2008


I'm a little jealous. There's no one as good as Obama running in the next Canadian election.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:37 AM on August 29, 2008


My partner started crying when he said he accepted the nomination, and she didn't stop until the speech was over. I think a lot of people have underestimated just how big an impact this has on black Americans. She voted for Clinton in the Texas primary and while she never really had anything against Obama, she had much of anything for him either. Last night that changed.

Obama's speech was spot on, I think he did better than most of the other speakers, and came damn close to matching Bill Clinton's performance. Considering that Bill Clinton may well be the best American speaker alive today, that's a genuine accomplishment.

And, delmoi, I must disagree with your assessment, I think DaShiv is spot on. Obama must be quite careful to avoid being the Angry Black Man, and the McCain camp will be desperate to paint him as such (without, of course, ever coming right out and doing so).

While you are, of course, correct that even a white candidate couldn't have spent their entire speech bashing Bush, I do think that a white candidate (or a less thoughtful and careful black candidate) would have. Bush is a fantastic target, and many of us on the left would give a lot to see our candidate really tear into him, but it would have been a mistake. There's already a depressingly large segment of America that, while they like him and may well vote for him, are uncomfortable because he's black, if they start thinking of him as the Angry Black Man they'll never vote for him. They might not vote McCain, but they won't vote for the Angry Black Man.

Biden is Obama's attack dog, and by his reputation he'll do quite well in that respect. But Obama, not only because he's black but also because of his image as a being above the partisan fray, will be letting Biden do most of the negative work. Its really a brilliant strategy, if he can pull it off. By responding graciously, reasonably, and without undue attacks to the vicious stuff coming from McCain he's obviously hoping to play on McCain's infamous temper and paint him as a crotchety old man. Obama can't afford Kerry's mistake, but neither can he go too far in denouncing his opponent and his attacks, its a balancing act. Biden will be doing the attacking.

And I can't wait to see the debates. You know that the Obama team is working overtime on ways to attempt to goad McCain into a tantrum without looking like they are. I'm hoping they'll succeed, the public got into a tizzy about Dean's non-scream just wait until they see McCain explode on national television...
posted by sotonohito at 8:39 AM on August 29, 2008


McCain's site is trumpeting the Palin pick, so I'm pretty sure it's true.
posted by shiu mai baby at 8:41 AM on August 29, 2008


Palin dissed veep job
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:44 AM on August 29, 2008


I find it hard to believe that Obama professes the the positions that he does because he's afraid to show whitey that he's angry, or that people accept him because he's a darkie that's non-threatening.

I think it's much more likely that the reason that people like a message that lacks the venom that fill politics recently. I believe that people are tired of "Democrats hate America" and they are accepting a candidate that acknowledges that this tactic is divisive, empty, and should end.

I think people see the effects of this type of politics in their families, friends, work places. Where expressing differing opinions leads to name calling and hostility, and are tired of it. I know I am.
posted by betaray at 9:00 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Won't Palin further alienate McCain from some key constituencies? Sure, they may not have anywhere else to go, but there lack of enthusiasm may be all it takes to put Obama over the top.

It always seemed to me that the big tactical advantage of choosing Obama over Clinton was that it is harder for their opponents to be publicly racist than misogynist. The opposition was all geared up to destroy Clinton; it was a massive disappointment for them to have Obama whose one obvious liability can't be directly mentioned, or even alluded to.

Now, McCain risks having some of that thwarted misogyny directed his way.
posted by No Robots at 9:01 AM on August 29, 2008


Palin is a very crafty choice, and exactly why I didn't think Biden was the man for the VP slot.

In any case, I thought Obama's speech was wonderful. A truly incredible moment.
posted by cell divide at 9:10 AM on August 29, 2008


The only line I disliked was the "my daughters...your sons" line. I agree with the sentiment, but his daughters will probably already have more opportunities than my sons. I wish he'd said "our daughters...our sons" since that's what I think he meant. I know he didn't really mean his daughters, so I wish he hadn't said it that way.

Otherwise, great speech.
posted by jermsplan at 9:19 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is interesting. The video was linked because it's Palin kind of scoffing at the VP office, but her defense for firing her public safety commissioner is identical to the Bush Administration's defense in the US Attorney firing scandal--she cites executive privilege, saying everything but "they serve at the governor's pleasure." I think there's room to tie her ideologically to Bush here.
posted by EarBucket at 9:23 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Didn't Biden criticise the VP post too?
posted by longbaugh at 9:41 AM on August 29, 2008


Oh my god. On the C-Span feed right now, they've got a giant "COUNTRY FIRST" banner hanging up as a backdrop behind the audience. But someone's standing up and blocking the letter O.
posted by EarBucket at 9:42 AM on August 29, 2008


OBAMA: HIS KIDS IS LERNIN'

OBAMA: HE PUTS THE FOOD ON HIS FAMILY

OBAMA: HIS GYNECOLOGISTS ARE PRACTICING THEIR LOVE
posted by quonsar at 9:50 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The choice of Palin would really irk me if I were actually in any way considering voting for McCain. It's like he thought to himself, "Shoot, what can I do to get HRC's voters? ...Someone go find me a woman!" And hence Palin. Even if that's not why he chose someone with only two years of experience and very little name recognition... That's what it appears like.

Oh, and don't get too bent out of shape at Obama's "eight is enough" line. Almost every attack he made was humorous in some way, even if only by being a silly pun, and that's a good thing. It made him seem like an affable guy (because you're laughing at his jokes) and it made McCain seem even dopier (because we can not only attack him but laugh at him), all the while still getting out the main message that McCain is bad for America. The humor allowed Obama to jab at McCain relentlessly without ever looking mean.
posted by Ms. Saint at 10:12 AM on August 29, 2008


Oh my god. On the C-Span feed right now, they've got a giant "COUNTRY FIRST" banner hanging up as a backdrop behind the audience. But someone's standing up and blocking the letter O.

Heee. Reminds me of a t-shirt that one of my friends made:
"PUT THE O BACK IN C UNTRY."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:13 AM on August 29, 2008


regardless of what you think about the speech or Sarah Palin, can someone add a link to the Obama speech in the main post?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:14 AM on August 29, 2008


[There's a new post about Sarah Palin.]
posted by lunit at 10:21 AM on August 29, 2008


I find it baffling to think that there are still Americans who deny Obama's skin colour is going to have enormous impact on this election.

There is a massive section of both the red and blue parts of the American population who is terrified of black men.


I never said that, what I said was I don't think its going it's going to make Obama somehow "more" scary to those people if he hits the Bush administration hard. There are so many people who think Obama needs to be John Kerry circa 2004 on prozac if he wants to get elected, and I think that idea is ridiculous.

Obama can't somehow pretend he's not black in order to soothe those people.
posted by delmoi at 10:23 AM on August 29, 2008


Why does everyone keep calling Obama a black man when he's actually as much white as he is black? It's a weird American race dynamic that nobody seems to talk about. If you're totally 100% 'white', then you're white, but if any part of you isn't white, then you're something else. Obama is 1/2 black, 1/2 white, genetically anyway. It seems to me that given his message that's even more relevant than being 'black'.

I think Obama himself said it best:

"If I was arrested for armed robbery and my mug shot was on the television screen, people wouldn't be debating if I was African-American or not. I'd be a black man going to jail. Now if that's true when bad things are happening, there's no reason why I shouldn't be proud of being a black man when good things are happening, too."

New York Times
July 26, 2004

(quote found by way of this post by LairBob)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:29 AM on August 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


The Obama Tax Cut Calculator.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:36 AM on August 29, 2008


From goodnewsfortheinsane's link above:
U.S. Senator John McCain today announced that he has selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate and to serve as his vice president.

Governor Palin is a tough executive who has demonstrated during her time in office that she is ready to be president. She has brought Republicans and Democrats together within her Administration and has a record of delivering on the change and reform that we need in Washington.


Typo or intentional? Did they really mean to say that someone with just 2 years' experience in office is ready to be president? If so, they've just shot themselves in the foot over all the accusations of Obama's insufficient experience.
posted by notashroom at 1:19 PM on August 29, 2008


Hey, if no one else has put a link to the video of Obama's speech up yet, here it is on Youtube.
posted by MythMaker at 2:27 PM on August 29, 2008


The DNC website has videos of all the speeches in delicious HD.
posted by puddleglum at 3:15 PM on August 29, 2008


I'm a little jealous. There's no one as good as Obama running in the next Canadian election.

Word, FFF. I wish I were American right now, rather than having to hold my nose while deciding between two odious alternatives.

Well, not really, but you know what I mean. I wish I could be inspired by a Trudeau (PET, that is). On the other hand, our situation is nowhere near as dire as that of our southern neighbours. But, once again, Canadians seem to be mired in mediocrity. (Enough derail on this wonderfully inspiring occasion.)
posted by Turtles all the way down at 3:15 PM on August 29, 2008


There are now 210 posts on this 18-hour-old Metafilter thread about Obama's historic nomination acceptance speech. Another thread, 8 hours old, discussing McCain's VP choice of a little-known person with a thin resume, has 650 posts and rising. Palin's name and face are all over the front of every major news site, while coverage of the DNC has pretty much disappeared. Well played, McCain. I am worried.
posted by FrauMaschine at 4:10 PM on August 29, 2008


38 million Americans saw Obama's speech. Attention on Palin is 50% or more freak show appeal. Don't worry, it's cool.
posted by msalt at 5:12 PM on August 29, 2008


I was still hoping for 'My fellow Americans, pardon me while I whip it out!'

You're a party pooper, Barack.
posted by jonmc at 5:51 PM on August 29, 2008


And it's labor day weekend, with a monster storm coming in from the south and a bit of politics fatigue. Palin is a 2 day buzz. Replaced by the storm and the listing GOP convention next week. All McCain is hoping to do is take some air out of Obama and halt his momentum. The fundamentals shifted with Obama's speech, and unless McCain himself can deliver a monster speech, he's slipping off the edge of the cliff without a wild flail like this.

Palin's not a bad pol, but she has a shelf life of about 10 days in this campaign environment dealing with issues she's never even considered before.

I'm happy about it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:29 PM on August 29, 2008


Part of the disconnect I have with the experience question that the McCainiacs raise is how Palin's executive experience running the company store called Alaska somehow translates to an ability to lead, to negotiate, to understand and guide policy. No offense to the Last Frontier staters, but a community organizer on the south side of Chicago has to marshal scarce resources and convince people to work for the common polity; these are skills that translate to the steps that Obama followed to increase his responsibility and effectiveness at every level. State senator followed by the United States Senate are quantifiable metrics of experience; of course so are mayorship of Wasilla (pop. 5469) and governor of Alaska (pop 600K), and I find them completely unconvincing for the 2nd highest position in the federal government.

What I saw in Obama's speech was a leader--not someone who may be ready to lead, but someone who already is a leader by word, by deed, by example. What I saw from Palin in the much publicized comments she made where she clearly had no idea why the V.P. is an important position is an opportunist, and from her other much publicized comments, an idealogue. The leadership she is fit for is Buchanan's pitchfork brigades, of which she was an enthusiastic supporter during Mad Pat's presidential bid. This is not a direction toward which I will be willingly led.

Obama said it best: Enough!
posted by beelzbubba at 10:35 PM on August 29, 2008


There are now 210 posts on this 18-hour-old Metafilter thread about Obama's historic nomination acceptance speech. Another thread, 8 hours old, discussing McCain's VP choice of a little-known person with a thin resume, has 650 posts and rising. Palin's name and face are all over the front of every major news site, while coverage of the DNC has pretty much disappeared. Well played, McCain. I am worried.

People are discussing Palin because they are seriously confused.
posted by delmoi at 10:38 PM on August 29, 2008


Also, Obama just ran an 18 month highly complex, highly successful primary campaign.
posted by Rumple at 10:46 PM on August 29, 2008


Barack Obama Answers Science Debate 2008
posted by homunculus at 5:14 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama nomination front pages
posted by homunculus at 7:38 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama nomination front pages

WTF Rocky Mountain News?
posted by mazola at 9:54 PM on August 30, 2008


I don't know which is funnier, ODRAMA, or "It's Obama's Party" with his back to a few thousand of his closest friends.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:44 PM on August 30, 2008


The Guardian on the republican 'attack dogs'

Now that same machine is backing McCain. This week in St Paul it will be gearing itself up to try to repeat its five wins in the past seven elections. Yet, amid the smears and muck-raking, perhaps there is something even greater at stake than the White House. Just months before he died, ravaged by a terrible cancer and barely able to move, Atwater wrote an article for Life magazine. In it he appealed for future political leaders to correct the power-hungry style of politics he himself had perfected.

'They must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumour of the soul,' he wrote. But, as the McCain camp prepares for the final leg of the election, most Republican operatives will be thinking only of Atwater's many victories. Few will be considering what they cost and his deathbed plea for change.

posted by infini at 9:03 AM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama Outwits the Bloviators
posted by homunculus at 11:37 AM on August 31, 2008


meta

The Obama campaign has long been on board those digital locomotives. Its ability to tell its story under the radar of the mainstream press in part accounts for why the Obama surge has been so often underestimated. Even now we’re uncertain of its size. The extraordinary TV viewership for Obama on Thursday night, larger than the Olympics opening ceremony, this year’s Oscars or any “American Idol” finale, may only be a count of the horses. The Obama campaign’s full reach online — for viewers as well as fund-raising and organizational networking — remains unknown.
posted by infini at 12:23 PM on August 31, 2008


Obama: The Price of Being Black
posted by homunculus at 2:41 PM on August 31, 2008


Obama's Acceptance, Annotated
posted by homunculus at 4:03 PM on August 31, 2008


FBI Wanted Obama Plotters Charged, But A Rove Appointee Said No
posted by homunculus at 5:54 PM on September 3, 2008


McCain is no maverick, he is the king of flip flops
posted by caddis at 12:41 PM on September 4, 2008


Westmoreland calls Obama 'uppity'
posted by homunculus at 2:30 PM on September 4, 2008


Oh dear.
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on September 4, 2008


Westmoreland meant to say "up with he! Up with he! Gobama!"
posted by cortex at 3:25 PM on September 4, 2008


I like the way the journalist gave him a get out, and he just ploughed right in. This guy is pretty confident of re-election, right?
posted by Artw at 3:46 PM on September 4, 2008


Hillary To Campaign For Obama In Florida
posted by homunculus at 4:34 PM on September 4, 2008


Obama Camp Has Now Raised More Than $10 Million Since Palin Speech
posted by homunculus at 9:05 PM on September 4, 2008


from homunculus's uppity link: In August, Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) told reporters, “When I hear the word ‘elitist’ linked with Barack Obama, to me, that is a code word for 'uppity.' I find it extremely offensive and John McCain should know better.”

Political consultant David Gergen, who has worked in both Republican and Democratic White Houses, said on ABC’s "This Week" that “As a native of the south, I can tell you, when you see this Charlton Heston ad, 'The One,' that's code for, 'He's uppity, he ought to stay in his place.' Everybody gets that who is from a Southern background.”


Let's take this attack off the table by letting everyone know just how racially charged it is.
posted by caddis at 7:00 AM on September 5, 2008


Obama on the Trail: He's delivering the same message Democrats always rely on. So why does it sound like a clarion call this time around?
posted by homunculus at 11:49 PM on September 6, 2008


I ask a woman named Melanie Threatt why she thinks her life would improve under an Obama presidency. "It just will," she says. When I press her for specifics, she says, "I just think doors are going to open." You hear stuff like this a lot on Planet Obama, and it makes you wonder just what it is you're encountering.
My wild-assed guess: because people are understanding that they have a role to play in making America great. It's that community organizing thing: when everyone pulls together in the same direction, great things happen.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:42 AM on September 7, 2008


« Older Mythbusters and the Mona Lisa in Overdrive....   |   If you were asked to design th... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments