Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama is the J.K. Rowling of Politics?

You have to love the call-in portion after C-SPAN's coverage. A caller just linked Obama's brand of politics to the "in one ear and out the other" -- the caller's words, not mine, Rowling fans -- literature from the author of the Harry Potter series.

Seriously, though, thoughts on the speech? Assertive and directed right at McCain and the Republicans. The GOP will certainly have an answer next week, but Obama made it more difficult for them to some extent. But there were some openings for them as well. In the same way that the Democrats made the "McSame" argument all week, the convention in St. Paul next week will most likely attempt to paint Obama as the typical big government, tax-and-spend Democrat. What is the price tag on the hope Obama is selling?


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6 comments:

Jack said...

Obama did everything in this speech.

For those who wanted to know why they shouldn't vote for McCain, Obama made a clear case against him.

For those that wanted to see Obama's own values and thoughts, he spoke of that at some length. Comments such as the one that he made that programs aren't enough, but strong families and fathers are needed certainly speak to that.

For those that wanted a broad vision, inspiration JFK-style, there was plenty of that.

And for those who wanted policy detail, he got into quite a bit of that too. He mentioned some of the ways he'd free up money to spend on his programs, and he was as specific on the issues as one can get in such a speech.

Jack said...

Also, I didn't listen to much of the call-in portion. In what context was the blog title said?

Robert said...

The Democrats and their candidates did what they had to do and more. It will be hard for the Republicans to meet the challenge. Gustav will be a major player next week. Reaction to the VP choice will also be a storyline. It will be interesting to see if the media will not only talk about who is there like Bush and Cheyny but also who is not there like most of the elected Republicans running for office.

SarahLawrenceScott said...

Two comments on Obama's oratory:

As good as this speech was, it was perhaps the third best speech we've heard him give? Maybe even the fifth best? This guy is good, not the least in that he can change speeds from soaring rhetoric to nitty gritty policy.

My other comment is that Obama tends to make those around him better speakers. Yes, there were a lot of boring speakers at the Convention. But for many key speakers: Richardson is focused, Gore animated, Kerry resolute, and Hillary authentic. It's not just lending out speechwriters, either--it happens with opponents too (Clinton's speeches started to get much better during the primaries). Force of example, I guess. Still, notable.

Josh Putnam said...

I'm not one to make excuses, especially in an effort to explain crappy blogging, but this was an instance -- the lack of context -- where a long week of late nights and 8am classes caught up with me.

The caller was making the point that he had already forgotten the content of Obama's speech and that it was in one ear and out the other -- in other words, disposable. J.K. Rowling and her readers may disagree, but that was a comment and a comparison that struck me.

There's a lot to go through this morning. I'll get to it all.

...in time.

Josh Putnam said...

Force of example? Let's go with Bill Clinton's recycled line from Wednesday night; a very clever and timely one, I thought. Let's lead with the "power of our example and not the example of our power."

I agree with most of what has been said already. Obama "did what he had to do" but it certainly wasn't on the level of the 2004 keynote address. And I think that, to some extent, having to focus on policy specifics was a drag on that.

But this brings up an interesting point: expectations. They were high going into the speech and some people (mostly Democrats I'd assume) thought he exceeded expectations, while others felt, to quote David Brooks, "underwhelmed." This will be a HUGE factor in the debates later. And the Obama folks will have to work to lower expectations to a level that makes surpassing that bar an attainable goal.