March 19, 2008

When you make speeches the issue...

I don't generally talk about electoral politics in this blog, but yesterday's speech by Barack Obama strikes me as historic, whether or not Obama wins the Democratic party's nomination or the general election. Historians are often wrong in their predictions (we earn a rear-view mirror with that degree, not a crystal ball), but this is about a judgment involving historical perspective, and I'm reasonably comfortable in that.

Moreover, I think that anyone who thought that the Jeremiah Wright controversy would inevitably and permanently damage the Obama campaign missed the way it created an opportunity for the best orator on the American political stage. Put bluntly, here's how the conversation went, in meta-narrative style:

Look at what your pastor said!

He was wrong.

You haven't denounced him enough.

He's no longer connected with my campaign.

Explain why you haven't left your congregation!

Okay, if you really want me to talk some more...

If there's one thing that his rivals don't want to demand of Barack Obama, it's that he give a speech.

Listen to this article
Posted in History on March 19, 2008 9:11 AM |