Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The last, best hope on Earth

Politics is not normally my bailiwick, but I've been, along with just about every other sentient being in the universe, captivated by the US primary season, which came to an end last night, at least in the sense of pledged delegates (though, true to form, that particular metric doesn't seem to be swaying the Clinton camp).

Mr Obama sure gives a good speech. True fact: I've read transcripts of his speeches and felt a sudden prickling of the tear-ducts. Transcripts! Posted below is the second half of his victory speech in Iowa last night. A powerful, gracious speech with a rousing peroration. Can this level of oratorical flair win him the election? I guess we're going to find out...

Andrew Sullivan on Obama's speech:

If I needed reassurance that this man is the most formidable force in American politics today, his speech tonight confirmed it. It was shrewd - with an artful positioning on Iraq. It was graceful - with respect for McCain's service and Clinton's tenacity. It was brutal - in turning around McCain's Iraq visit meme to domestic economic woes. It was patriotic - in its evocation of Gettysburg and the Second World War. It was outer-directed: not for Obama the recourse to self-satisfied identity politics of the kind used by the Clintons because they often have nothing else. It was moving. I thought I even saw some suggestions of tears as he remembered his grandmother. It was also rhetorically more powerful than McCain - not by a small amount but by a mile. Put McCain's speech against Obama's - and this was a wipe-out. Not a victory. A wipe-out. Rhetorically, they are simply not in the same league. And if the contrast tonight between McCain and Obama holds for the rest of the campaign, McCain is facing a defeat of historic proportions.

One more thing: with McCain's and Clinton's speeches, you could not forget the politics of it. With Obama, you forgot about that at times. You actually lifted your eyes a little and believed a little and hoped a little.

Yes, he can. And anyone who under-estimates that will regret it.

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