Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The most overrated speech ever

There. I just matched MSNBC's Chris Matthews in hyperbole. He was calling Barack Obama's speech today one of the most important of our time and comparing Obama to Abraham Lincoln. Well, to put it charitably, Matthews is so fixated on race that he wants whatever the bi-racial Obama says to be historic because it fits into a template that Matthew embraces.

The speech wasn't even close to being historic. It was well-written. However, it had very little poetic bounce and was flatly read and delivered. It also was not much different than what Obama has said in his books and other speeches. The difference that he was tactically trying to put closure on a media firestorm that was seriously harming his candidacy.

It had very little that spoke to me, a suburban white Republican. He poked a little at black culture and white culture and wove into a narrative that excused his own failure to speak out against Rev. Jeremiah Wright when it counted instead of when he was under the gun from the media. A white Republican politician in the reverse position would never get the same easy absolution.

He cheapened the "major" speech by saying our racial divide needs to be healed so we can address Democratic talking points. He also backtracked on his answer Friday by admitting he has heard Rev. Wright's tirades. If that was President Bush making that backtrack, the leftwing internet sites that Obama panders to would be screaming: Bush lied! Instead, leftwing commentators praised the speech's "nuance." Whenever I hear someone praising a speech's nuance, I know that it was jumbled and not communicated clearly.

Again, it was not a bad speech. As a political move, it was well done, allowing Obama to temporarily escape the pounding pressure of the Wright imbroglio. Yet the bad Wright tape still exists and will be played throughout the campaign, if Obama is nominated. There's nothing in today's speech that compares to the power of that video. It's the difference between action and words.

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