Sunday, August 31, 2008
Barack Obama's Speech to the DNC
Obama brings the house down
In 2004, Barack Obama's political star inexorably rose with a fantastic speech at the Democratic National Convention.
In 2008, Obama, then a candidate for the Senate in Illinois and now candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America, once again rolled out a magnificent performance.
The extended standing ovation he recieved is certainly equal parts genuine enthusiasm and calculated partisan cheerleading. But very rarely has politics witnessed such a transparent effort to create a political mythology.
Obama wisely began by referencing back to his widely acclaimed speech to the 2004 DNC, hinting back to the long-developing fervour that has led him to his nomination for the Presidency.
His 2008 speech addressed the same themes as virtually every other speech at the 2008 DNC: the allegedly disappearing American dream, the honourable service record of John McCain and their views of the George W Bush presidency.
"America is better than these last eight years," Obama entoned as he recounted the numerous failings of the Bush government: its treatment of war veterans, its health care crisis and its failure in the face of Hurricane Katrina.
"Enough!" Obama cried as he pointed to November's election as an opportunity to drastically adjust course.
Obama boldly declared that the time for the "discredited Republican philosophy" of the "ownership society" to "own their failures" has definitely arrived.
One thing that is quickly emerging as observers watch the Obama candidacy proceed is what may be one of the most determined efforts to concoct a political mythology in recent political memory.
The 2008 DNC has proven to be a pivotal moment in the birthing of this mythology -- a "modern day Camelot" as many commentators have described it. Ted Kennedy's "last-minute" speech to the DNC -- clearly planned well in advance but one still has to applaud the ailing senator's performance, all things considered -- the glowing support support of the previously-intractible Clintons and the set change for Obama's big address to the convention have all been clearly calclulated to transform Obama from a run-of-the-mill politician -- even if a spectacularly charismatic one -- to a political keystone for a new generation.
They certainly imagine that bringing together the Kennedy and Clinton legacies together to support Obama will transform his candidacy into a powerhouse, if not an outright juggernaut.
And they just might be right.
With the Democratic National Convention concluded, many people will be looking forward to the Republican convention to see if, even as Hurricane Gustav bears down on the Gulf coast, the Republicans can manage to match a spectacular Democratic convention.
Their work will certainly be cut out for them. Obama's speech alone was everything Democrats were expecting of it -- a sheer masterpiece.