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Ezra Klein: "Obama's finest speaches do not excite.They do not inform...They elevate"

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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-03-08 11:22 PM
Original message
Ezra Klein: "Obama's finest speaches do not excite.They do not inform...They elevate"
OBAMA'S GIFT.

I've been blessed to hear many great orations. I was in the audience when Howard Dean gave his famous address challenging the Democratic Party to rediscover courage and return to principle. I have heard Bill Clinton speak of a place called Hope, and listened to John Edwards bravely channel the populism that American politics so often suppresses. Some of those politicians mirrored my beliefs better than Obama does. Some of their speeches were more declarative and immediate in their passion. But none achieve quite what Obama, at his best, creates.

Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. His speeches are so big as to expose the smallness of the pretty prejudices and mundane considerations that might interrupt the march of his words, so big that they inspire his listeners to rise to meet their challenge. The other great leaders I've heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our best selves, to the place where America exists as a ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.

In the days to come, just as in the days that have passed, I'll talk much more about Obama's policies. About his health care policy, and his foreign policy, and his social policy, and his economic policy. But so much as I like to speak of white papers and scored proposals, politics is not generally experienced in terms of policies. It's more often experienced in terms of self-interest, and broken promises, and base fears, and half-truths. But, very rarely, it's experienced as a call to create something better, bigger, grander, and more just than the world we have. When that happens, as it did with Robert F. Kennedy, the inspired remember those moments for the rest of their lives.

The tens of thousands of new voters Obama brought to the polls tonight came because he wrapped them in that experience, because he let them touch politics as it could be, rather than merely as it is. And for that, he deserved to win. And he deserves our thanks. The politician who wins merits congratulations. But the politician who enlarges our politics and empowers more Americans to step forward into the public square deserves our gratitude.

http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?mo...

VIDEO HERE ---> http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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Colobo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-03-08 11:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. They elevate indeed. They are changing America.
Gobama!
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Colobo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-03-08 11:23 PM
Response to Original message
2. Dupe.
Edited on Thu Jan-03-08 11:24 PM by Katzenkavalier
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-03-08 11:30 PM
Response to Original message
3. Excellent analysis......
which made me cry, again.
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Jim Sagle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-03-08 11:37 PM
Response to Original message
4. In other words, he's an empty suit.
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mnhtnbb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-03-08 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Words without action are just that...words.
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Mojorabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-03-08 11:54 PM
Response to Reply #5
6.  I just watched the speech
and the article is right. He does inspire. His speech reminded me of JFK.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-03-08 11:56 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. The action was the supporters showing up
And the generation of activism he will inspire, just like JFK did. That's how we got Bill and Hil, you might recall, JFK's elevation of a generation.
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Anouka Donating Member (712 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. You're ultimately right.
Obama moved, and continues to move, people to act. And boy, did they act. They continue to act. They continue to be inspired to move and act.

That matters.

I hear Huckabee's speech was powerful as well, though. Has anyone heard both, side by side? Two great orators going at it? when's the last time that happened?
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 12:30 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Not like Obama's
It was a good populist feel-good speech, like a John Edwards speech without the corporate target. It was nowhere in the vicinity of Obama's.
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TheWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 05:57 AM
Response to Reply #5
20. But Americans love to feel good.
They love to feel good, feel powerful, and to be serenaded with words and speeches that tell them what they want to hear. They drink it like wine.

What is so disturbing is that even when there are no actions to back up the rhetoric, they will still defend those that told them what they want to hear, and fall for it over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.

I want Details, not Diatribe.

I want Substance, not Sweet Nothings.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 02:09 AM
Response to Reply #4
12. He's not running for reverend. He's running for president. /nt
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Caseman Donating Member (171 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 12:32 AM
Response to Original message
10. I enjoyed the part when he went into full detail all his views and plans for this nation...
Still waiting for it :hi:
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 02:05 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. barackobama.com
When John Kerry went into full detail about his views and plans for the nation - you said he put you to sleep, didn't you. Sure you did.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 02:10 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Edwards doesn't bore me. He also tells me specifics. /nt
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 02:29 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. What specifics
He's going to beat up corporations?
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 02:33 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. "I want specifics but I don't want to do homework"
Ole Hedge Fund John Edwards will show those darn corporations!

:sarcasm:
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Caseman Donating Member (171 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 03:19 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. I'm sorry, but after watching the Democratic debates,...
Edited on Fri Jan-04-08 03:21 AM by Caseman
...I soon learned that Obama was playing the 'change' card or the 'inspiration' card, not the 'knowledge' card on the concerning matters of the election. Biden told me his views, what we should do, and how he would do it. Obama, not so much. But I guess that's what people want in the end. A good story. A happy ending where for the first time an African-American becomes president, corruption disappears from Washington, and big business corporations release their hold on American politics. Grand, eh?

When I watch Obama speaks, he speaks from the heart, he speaks from his soul, and he does inspire me. However, I have no confidence he will or ever be a competent leader for our nation. No where in his few years of experience can I point and say, "That's the reason! That's the reason I will cast my vote for this election year for Barrack Hussein Obama!" No where. And I'm asking for anyone to even attempt to say their candidate was as qualified as Senator Joe Biden, because they weren't. Heck, Dodd put some to shame. But no one cares about that. They want 'experience'-no wait!-they want 'change'-hold that thought!-they want to 'battle the corporations!'

This whole debacle the mind-boggling. We have candidates spending millions for advertisements and no one says a thing, not even about where they are getting their funds. Hush, hush. What lobbyists? We have an Iowa caucus system that excludes individual ballots and has undemocratic group vote system, where people without numbers are forced to choose one of the media-endorse top tier candidates or remain undecided. Where's the anger? I thought this election was a change election? All I see is big politicians spending big money buying their campaign and election.

So will you please, tell me, politically speaking, why should vote for Obama. Show me a video where he actually gets deep in the issues. Give me the transcript of one of his speeches. Don't link me to his site. I don't know who wrote that. People seem to forget that politicians sometimes make empty promises. But no worries here I guess. We are going to have our troops out in no time and everything will be fine! Right? Right? No. We would leave a humanitarian crisis and further damage our already plagued reputation. We need free universal health care and that's easy to do! Right? Right? No... It would require a serious calculation and balancing in taxing and department cuts. I could go on, but I can only rant for so long before running out of steam. So please, why Obama? Why? I am not Clintonite and I'm no an Edwards fanboy. I have no candidate now.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 03:35 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Health care is the one thing that would not require program cuts or more taxes
Of course, not the way that Obama and the other corporado front two would do it. They plan to raise taxes to subsidize insurance companies to provide more insurance, not CARE. You can just about guarantee that any codicils forbidding cherrypicking or claims denial will get sliced out, just as happened in MA.

Given that we already pay twice as much as other industrialized countries, we just plain don't need more money. We need to take the money away from insurance companies and spend it on CARE. As Kucinich always says, "We are already paying for universal health care; we just aren't GETTING it."
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 05:36 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. Those debates were a joke.
I wouldn't make any serious judgments about the candidates based on them. You know what the best place for issues is if you don't want to read position papers, youtube newspaper editorial board endorsement interviews.

http://youtube.com/results?search_query=barack+obama+ed...

Which issue? I think it's easy to say where are the issues and demand a response, but it's really quite impossible to sway someone if they can't tell you what the top two issues they want to know where the candidate stands are, otherwise you just get an avalanche. It is far easier to accuse someone of lacking substance, than it is to try to find it. Hypocrisy is a whole other matter of course.

I think Barack Obama's single greatest legislative achievement is getting the state of Illinois to videotape interrogations in capital cases:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

Obama is not as inexpierenced as some people like to charge, and as Bill Clinton once said, there is the right expierence and the wrong expierence. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had a ton of expierence and look where that got us. Look how much expierence Kerry had, and it didn't really help him. Besides, Barack Obama has built a grass roots movement a la Howard Dean. Don't hate the money, hate the game.

I am casting my vote for Barack Obama for three reasons (1) He was against the Iraq war from the beginning (2) He has shown in his time in the Illinois Legislature and the Senate that he knows how to be effective in the legislative context (3) He is willing to move beyond the Culture Wars and that is important to me as a young voter because the failings of my parents generation are on full display.
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ThePhilosopher04 Donating Member (435 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 02:33 AM
Response to Original message
16. In other words...
He can sell shit on a stick. No matter how good it sounds, at the end of the day, it's still shit on a stick.
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Perry Logan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 05:59 AM
Response to Original message
21. Sounds like Ezra's had a few.
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JanErikM Donating Member (18 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 07:50 AM
Response to Original message
22. Many words, no content
I'm just not able to get into him -- he seems like an empty suit, like someone pointed out. No matter how many speeches he gives, he doesn't really tell me anything... there's no real content. :-/ Though I'd vote for him in the presidential election, I'll support Bill Richardson and John Edwards now that Biden and Dodd have withdrawn.
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MethuenProgressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-04-08 08:15 AM
Response to Original message
23. "They do not inform" Hey, that worked for Reagan.
No details, Obama! Stick with the fuzzy feel good evangelical testifying!
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