Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama's Honesty

While there are many detractors and many supports of Obama's speech yesterday, there are some short term political things we can point to as accomplishments. Before I start the list...I am an unabashed fan of the speech. It was an eloquent, open and honest discussion both on a personal level and on a national one. The speech wasn't flawless, but as Mr. Obama said "it's a start." I would say a brilliant one. Now what he accomplished.

He saved his campaign-The Wright issue had the potential to derail Obama's campaign. He was thisclose to being tarred as the black candidate. The speech reset the nature of the campaign, and while Obama doesn't have his swagger back, he can get back to campaigning.

Hillary can't touch race-Whether her campaign or she wants to admit it, trolling out surrogate after surrogate to make thinly veiled racial comments on Obama week after week was a strategy of theirs, and if you look at Obama's numbers with white voters, I guess it was working. To do so again after Obama's speech would be a huge mistake with the chattering class and the super delegates.

He didn't lose the black community-One of the hallmarks of Obama's speech is that people on the left and right are mad about it. That marks any really good piece of thinking. But despite their reservations with Obama's address the black community as a whole should be proud Obama.

What did Obama lose?

He lost his Oprah quality. He's not completely nonthreatening anymore. He has revealed a portion of who he is, and in accepting Wright's flaws, he has born out some of his own. I think that is magnificent. But for many afraid of a black candidate, it will create a ceiling beyond which Obama cannot break.

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