The effect of Obamas speech will be play out in the weeks and months ahead, much as the Romney speech played out in the weeks that followed.
For Romney, his speech was too little too late. Being a Mormon hurt, but being a flip flopper was what did him in.
Obama is playing on a different terrain. Flip flopping is not his problem, and the Democratic Party is the home of Identity Politics and diversity for its own sake.
Having said that it would not be too bold to say that the speech likely sewed up the nomination for Obama. To many ears the speech was a magnificent autobiographic confessional. This was not the Clintons doing 60 Minutes or Jimmy Swaggart crying I have sinned.
Obamas speech was elegant.
It was also clever and smart. It was smart because it reminded Obamas base black and white why they were with Obama. It was clever because Obama avoided saying my past has caught up with me - even though that was why he delivered the speech in the first place. Obama as a modern day Sammy Glick without ever saying so.
There is no question the speech was a must. Obama trails by double digits in PA and his lead over Hillary is only in single digits in NC. The jeremiads of Reverend Wright have cost Obama.
Does Obama win the nomination. I think so. I think the speech sealed the nomination. Superdelegates will not want to thwart history.
Will Obama get elected? A generic Democrat would. But neither Obama nor Hillary are generic Dems.
I truly don’t know if O wins. On one hand obama has postured himself as a cause. On the other hand Obama has been diminished. And thats why he gave the speech. Did it save november? Maybe.
Still and just a hunch. Obama may have gone from being African American JFK to African American Al Smith.
Like Jfk Obama has elan and an Ivy League education. But there’s a difference or two. One, JFK was a wounded combat vet. And that spoke to JFKs contemporaries and elders. Not just the kids. And so America was not just a vehichle for Kennedy ambition, but a country to which the Kennedys paid in blood. Let’s not forget Joe Jr.
Or Michelle Obama. The Princeton grad who wasn’t proud of the US til 2008.
Entitlement comes in manyflavors.
Second Obama had to be his own Joe Sr, hanging with the likes of Tony Rezko. No one ran interference for Obama. He had to do it himself. No dad there to be the bag man
Will Obama pull it off? I am skeptical but not dismissive. Obama is no Clinton. Even with Rezko his list of ethical lapses is so much shorter
But that might not be enough to avoid electoral retribution. As Howard Fineman said of Lee Atwater. Life gets even.
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