May 3, 2008


Grandma Got Over at the Press Club: Obama surrenders. (Mark Steyn, 5/03/08, National Review)

It was never a great speech. It was a simulacrum of a great speech written to flatter gullible pundits into hailing it as the real deal. It should be “required reading in classrooms,” said Bob Herbert in the New York Times; it was “extraordinary” and “rhetorical magic,” said Joe Klein in Time — which gets closer to the truth: As with most “magic,” it was merely a trick of redirection. Obama appeared to have made Jeremiah Wright vanish into thin air, but it turned out he was just under the heavily draped table waiting to pop up again. The speech was designed to take a very specific problem — the fact that Barack Obama, the Great Uniter, had sat in the pews of a neo-segregationist huckster for 20 years — and generalize it into some grand meditation on race in America. Senator Obama looked America in the face and said: Who ya gonna believe? My “rhetorical magic” or your lyin’ eyes?

That’s an easy choice for the swooning bobbysoxers of the media. With less impressionable types, such as voters, Senator Obama is having a tougher time.

Mr. Herbert is nearly right. It's the reaction to the speech that should be taught, to those trying to grasp the reason the punditocracy is so often wrong. While you could understand his supporters greeting the speech like it was the new Sermon on the Mount - after all, what other choice do they have? -- it was especially appalling to see the number of folks who aren't big fans --whether Left or Right--who started out their comments by saying something to the effect of, "It was a brilliant speech...but..." The reason he's still flailing around is because it was all but.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 3, 2008 12:09 PM

"the guy you sawed in half sticks himself together and starts rampaging around the stage"


Posted by: ic at May 3, 2008 3:06 PM

"It was a brilliant speech...but..."

Thanks to PCism, we should come to expect that "but..." more often. When a person wants to express an opinion that differs from the majority, especially when that opinion is unpopular or just obnoxious, it's the safe, cowardly way to say it without suffering any consequences. The Left does it all the time, so is no surprise that it's infected general society.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at May 3, 2008 5:28 PM

Can we all not by this time see the blasting, racist, condecension being practiced with respect to poor Effendi Obama. We marvel at him as we would at a dog walking on its hind legs: the thing is not done well, but we are impressed that it be done at all.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 3, 2008 6:50 PM