Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama On A Roll, But...

Last night's impressive win in Wisconsin clearly makes it more likely that Obama will be the Democratic nominee. I listened to most of Obama's "victory" speech after the results came in, as I did that first night when he won in Iowa. What I found curious, and this may be a caution for the campaign, my completely different reaction to the two speeches.

I've already said that I found Obama's Iowa speech to be one of the most inspiring I could remember. Most of the pundit class agreed, saying the speech was memorable and "historic". A great moment that made it seem like a movement had begun, something different was brewing, anything was possible.

Fast forward to Obama's speech in Texas, and I have to admit it all seemed too perfect, too idealistic and repetitive to the point of annoying. Maybe I was feeling a tad cynical, but the constast references to two words "change" and "hope" tended to render the terms meaningless. It was almost this bad:
I hope we can change, because that change is the foundation for hope. We must bring change, we need to change the changes that hopefully bring change"

There is a real danger in constant referencing what amounts to simplistic generalities. The fact I found a stunningly talented orator like Obama decidedly stale after a few minutes I think isn't something unique to myself, I suspect over time these lines will lose impact in a general sense. It almost seemed like Obama is becoming a caricature of himself, too slick by half, almost like the lead in a lofty production.

I don't mean to suggest there is no substance, that criticism is a pretty silly if you listen to the man, scan his policies. However, I did find that the substance took a decided backseat to the linguistic spectacle, the constant hammering of key words which began to ring shallow.

Everyone wants change, everyone wants hope, that isn't a new concept, or particular to a certain time. I think Obama will be successful in the long run, should he begin to realize that his concepts will convey change, speak to hope, without the barrage of overt references, that sometimes tend to cheapen.

In Iowa, I was glued to my set, amazed at what I saw. Last night, I was easily distracted, a tad cynical, feeling that to believe all of this required a certain naivety on my part. If I don't hear the words change and hope for a few weeks, I'm okay with that.


Anonymous said...

On the view the gossip ladies remarked he said he would do everything except cure cancer

Steve V said...

It's still early in the campaign...

I must say, I think I would rather eat a bag of nails than watch The View :)

Anonymous said...

Scan his policies?

You are joking...right???

RuralSandi said...

Trouble is - he's been told he's so inspirational so often he doesn't know when to stop. When he was speaking last night, my husband ran a couple of errands, came back and Obama was still talking, and talking and talking - we turned the channel - it was getting quite boring.

It's starting to wear very thin for me. He needs some new material that is his own. Yawners lately.

I think the Americans really believe that if he were president, their troubles would end right away, like magic.

Steve V said...


That's what I'm saying as well, it's starting to wear thin.


Obama has policies, detailed ones in fact. That's just a lazy attack line.

Anonymous said...

Seems that Michelle Obama is now on the spotlight for something she said in which Cindy McCain responded.

It seems that McCain will use American patriotism as an initial salvo to dent his polling disadvantage against Obama. Traditional conservative tactic, but when a US war hero say it, it means that much more.