August 29, 2008
My quick take on Obama's speech

Of course I wasn't expecting to be favorably impressed with Obama's speech. And he didn't disappoint me! Nor do I think the speech would be particularly persuasive to anybody who isn't already drinking the Kool Aid.

Just a few observations

1. The opening was a real downer, but consistent with most of what we've heard from the Democrats at the convention. To paraphrase: "You're all a bunch of victims and losers. No matter how hard you work, your lives can't possibly get any better unless you elect me, so I can take back the undeserved wealth of the lucky few and spend it on government programs that will completely transform your lives."

2. He said "It's time for us to change America." Not change the leadership of the government. But "change America". That strikes me as both more radical and more unspecific than most folks are going to want to sign up for.

3. "...government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves..." e.g. "provide every child a decent education". Um, then why does he send his own daughters to private school, not government school?


"That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper;"
Then why does he let his own brother live in a slum hut?

5. He makes several grandiose promises that no sane person can possibly believe:

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education
Is there any major political candidate in the last 232 years who hasn't made that very same promise?
"I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease."


... the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.
Yes, especially when you just heard a candidate make comically implausible promises like giving "every child a world-class education" and to end nuclear proliferation, poverty, disease and climate change.


If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.
Yeah, maybe that's why Obama keeps equating John McCain with George W. Bush.

8. Finally, when Obama ended his speech talking about Martin Luther King and the March on Washington, and how he wants America to "once more to march into the future", his style of speech started to resemble that of a preacher. It's not obvious to me that that is the best note to close on if he's trying to appeal to the undecideds.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at August 29, 2008 12:01 AM | Email This
1. Yeah, he'll end nuclear proliferation alright. Nuclear power plants in the USA. He will be chasing windmills and solar cells that can't possibly generate electricity on the same scale as nuclear plants do now.

If you want energy and fuel, vote McCain.

Posted by: Jeff B. on August 29, 2008 12:40 AM
2. The Dems have never been a group to bring positive affirmations or what is good in life and in America in general. If I didn't drink Koolaid now, I'd be gulping the stuff down if I believed in their lies, the outbursts of victimhood, the evil rich. No, I don't want change, there is nothing to change. I am not dependent on government. Government is not the answer, it is the problem (wonder where I heard that before). As far as I am concerned, government has already done too much for me. Correction, too much to me.

Posted by: Harry on August 29, 2008 01:07 AM
3. I only heard 10 minutes or so of the speech---but you can hear a lot in 10 minutes and what I couldn't figure out was this: They just spent the last three days telling us all how republican values of hard work, studying hard, being responsible for yourself, being there as a parent for your kid etc. made their lives great and caused them to succeed. So now, I couldn't help but notice tonight that Obama seemed to throw all that out the window and tell everyone how horrible their lives will be unless they bow down and worhship at the foot of government for all their needs.

Posted by: Michele on August 29, 2008 01:25 AM
4. ... or should I say "bow down and worship at the feet of the deity Obama"?

Posted by: Michele on August 29, 2008 01:39 AM
5. The problem is that so many Americans are shallow enough to fall for this and will vote accordingly.

Posted by: Kathy on August 29, 2008 04:30 AM
6. but Obama is a good speaker, i mean when the time that Hillary and him had a speech and compare the two Obama is the best, and guys i just want to share a video that i saw earlier in pollclash that Joe Biden has now been officially introduced as Barack Obama's Vice Presidential selection, is he good for the VP? well for me he could be but when i saw the clip in pollclash i cant tell whom to believe..but anyway you can see the video in

Posted by: Jacque Denise Yap on August 29, 2008 05:23 AM
7. It's going to be virtually impossible for the Repubs to equal or better the impact that Sen Obama had on folks last night. It was 'John F Kennedy-esque' and then some - very appealing.
Having said that, I still feel we don't know enough about him and I hope all comes out and nothing gets quashed in regard to his Chicago dealings. He's looking pretty good presently.
I also thought McCain's ad last nite congratulating Sen Obama was pretty much 'class'. --Onward!

Posted by: Duffman on August 29, 2008 06:17 AM
8. I'm pretty amazed if you didn't watch the whole thing you can comment, or if you actually liked it you will be accused as "drinking the koolaid" but here goes.

I am a moderate Independent, and I might vote for Rossi over Gregoire. Obama knocked it out of the park though. Hit on all the mistakes and f-ups the national Republicans have caused, and offered (if you listened to the whole thing) concrete proposals to address them.

Contrary to your 'only if you drink the koolaid' quote above, you might consider that only guys that are already dead set against ANY Democrat would be closed to considering Obama.

And you missed out on probably the greatest moment in American politics since Reagan last night.

in fact, kudos to Rossi for having ads ready to go during the broadcast on several networks. Very impressive little ad buy of his. He probably gained a point or two in the polls by association with Obama, and in this years election that might be all it will take.

Posted by: DaveD on August 29, 2008 06:24 AM
9. The lines are already beginning to form in every welfare-devouring city in the country. Public school drop-outs, illegal immigrants, dope-heads, gang punks, welfare queens and other non-producing 'victims' are licking their chops in anticipation of their 'fair share' of the loot Obama would steal from working folks. I guess the only unanswered question in this election is if there are more of 'them' than there are of 'us'.

Posted by: Saltherring on August 29, 2008 06:25 AM
10. WOW, just reading a few lines from people who think. See that's it. He speaks so well I know he can help me!

I guess some like Duff forget the second you let this guy talk on the move he falls apart.

And Duff, I would really drop the JFK thing. Good speaker. Worthless prez. Mind you that he put us in Nam with his MIT wiz-kids.
And we all know how that turned out.

Posted by: Army Medic/Vet on August 29, 2008 06:58 AM
11. Agree (to an extent) ther AM/V. Speaking (communicating) skills may not be 'OMNIimportant', but I trust you would agree they are much needed in the ever-expanding world venue. We can't afford to have any more BUSHwhacker-type communicators. 'bring 'em on', 'mission accomplished' 'you're doin a heck of a job down here Brownie'...etc., et al. :)

Posted by: Duffman on August 29, 2008 07:09 AM
12. Stefan,
I am not surprised by your sentiment. You have been so disillusioned by reality that you can't forgo for even a moment the partisanship-colored lenses that you view the world by. Forgo the fact that from purely a political speech writing standpoint that it was a very good speech, whether you agree or not with the stands taken. Forgo the fact that it was well delivered, as expected with Obama. Forgo the fact that no matter what the Republicans will do this coming week, they can't match the spectacle and crowning conclusion of a so-so convention. No, you can only judge from the standpoint that because Obama has a (D) after his name, no matter what he says or does, he is unacceptable in your eyes. In the south they used to have Yellow-Dog Democrats, well we can see that you, Stefan, and many here are the Red-Dog Republicans. You would vote for the Red-dog over any Democrat, no matter where the candidate stands.

Now to the speech. By one networks analysis, there were 29 (I believe) specific policy points in the speech. It wasn't fluff as Obama has been accused of. Therefore, to start out with there are 29 (?) points of policy debate Republicans can debate Obama on. They don't need to stoop to petty, meaningless issues like how well did Obama know and agree with Ayers (he has repeatedly denounced Ayer's actions of the 60's). There were also 19 direct attacks on John McCain, which McCain can either choose to defend or not defend. It is as one of the networks state going to be a real battle. It isn't going to be Dukakis, Gore, or Kerry rolling over and taking punches and not returning the same.

A couple of specific items Obama brought up, I would think this crowd would agree with. Obama stated that he wants to go through the federal budget line by line and cut out the waste and inefficiencies. If a program doesn't make sense anymore, Obama has pledged to eliminate it. A second call in the speech was that of personal responsibility. Obama repeated his often spoken line that government can not solve everyone's problem. Government is not always the answer. Individuals need to also work hard. Parents need to turn off the TV and spend time with their kids. Fathers, especially, need to spend time with their families. The absent Father epidemic in this country is a major contributor to the dysfunctional families and to a large segment of the crime (my own opinion). Obama's call for this personal responsibility of parents and especially fathers is one thing McCain should agree with him on, irregardless of the fact that Obama stated it. Obama, in the past, has hit hard especially in the Black community on the fact that fathers need to be in the lives of their children. Regardless of whether you agree with Obama on his policy points, do you not agree, Stefan, that his is a call for all?

So, instead of pooh-poohing the speech, as McCain's spokesman initially did last night, talk about the 29 (?) policy points and why they won't work. Why shouldn't our nation have the best education system in the world and have it accessible to all (with a commitment to serve their country or community as payback for the education--i.e., there is a requirement in Obama's plan, it isn't free)? Why shouldn't we strive for independence from Mideastern oil in 10 years? It is now Republican's turn to come back with what their future goals are. Everyone knows change must occur. We cannot continue the failed Bush policies, both internationally and domestically. The only questions are what should the common goals be and how do we achieve them?

It looks like it will be a fight. I am sure John McCain is ready. Barack showed last night that he is eager and waiting. Let it be a fight on policies. It would be good for the American public to have an open debate on this, instead of the pettiness of the last three (or more) elections (I am including the 96 Clinton election in this also).

One side point: I did see the Rossi ad. I thought it was one of the best ads he put out this season and it picked up on many of the same themes that Obama outlined. Rossi or CG can't do it by themselves, or with just their own party. It will be both sides coming together, going over the budget, cutting programs that are not needed, and refocusing on what is needed. To me, the top two state issues are transportation and education. A third issue would possibly be job creation in areas that can benefit rural Washington (i.e., move people away from the urban concentration centers). Items like the Silicon Orchard effort in Wenachee comes to mind with regards to the last item. Part of the transportation solution needs to be the spreading out of the workforce.

Posted by: tc on August 29, 2008 07:29 AM
13. Hey Stefan:

This guy sure liked the speech. I guess he's some left-winger who drank the Kool-aid, right?

Michele @ 3:

Hard work and studying, being responsible, and being there for your kids are Republican values?

Sorry, lady, that dog won't hunt. Those are values that people of all political persuasions share.

Posted by: ivan on August 29, 2008 07:38 AM
14. Very good 'tc', and I hope you would agree that Sen Obama's Chicago dealings should be openly and fully vetted. :)

Posted by: Duffman on August 29, 2008 07:42 AM
15. I didn't want to watch it but the 8th grader made me turn it on. I don't know why because she was yelling at the tv screen and yelling, liar, liar. How is he going to pay for all these things, she screams? Liar, liar, see mom, he lies. Pretty funny since she had sympathies with Obama in April/May/June. Much has changed.

So, on Wednesday night he liked the USA and last night it was not so good.

He misrepresented McCain on the definition of rich. McCain says you are rich if you have $5 million (I assume net worth) and I think that is as good a number as any. Obama mocks McCain and misrepresent the $5 million by saying it was $5 million/year (which was $1 million less than the Obama take last year).

And then he keeps calling for a UN Security Council resolution to denounce Russia's action in Georgia (last night being the second time). The genius still doesn't get it that Russia has veto power.

This guy is five times worse than George Bushisms.

Posted by: swatter on August 29, 2008 08:08 AM
16. Duffman @14
I am sure they will be and it won't satisfy the right-wing conspiracy theorists. The fact of the matter is they served on the same board. There were also Republicans that served on the board. One can serve on a board aimed at a common good without prescribing to all the board members views. In fact, it is good to have a variety of viewpoints on the board (better decision making).

The fact that the owner (e.g., Daly family and/or close ties to Daly family) of the records on the board has signed them over to the Chicago Library to be able to release most likely means that there isn't anything in the records.

It is a moot argument that the right-wing conspirators will be wasting their time. Why don't they actually argue alternatives to the policy proposals that Obama outlined last night? Do they think that the average voter will agree with Obama's proposals and thus have to attack him on these petty issues?

As long as the Republicans want to delve into this pettiness, then John McCain's temperament is also a valid issue. John McCain has demonstrated in the past to not have the temperament and reserved control to be Commander In Chief. He can't make some flippant comment to a foreign leader and expect to take it back the next day. John McCain has been reserved so far in this campaign, but if he doesn't reign in these right-wing nut-jobs, then he is fair game and his temperament will be tested. A "blow-up" that he is so famous for in the Senate on a national debate will doom his candidacy. It is in John McCain's best interests to reel in these nut-jobs.

Posted by: tc on August 29, 2008 09:02 AM
17. You do realize, TC, that the 'right-wing nutjobs' who hide under you bed every night don't like McCain.

But then again, I suspect anybody you believe to be to the right of Fidel Castro is a 'right-wing nutjob'.

That's fine. I believe people like you are nothing more than 5th column filth. So, we're even. :)

Posted by: jimg on August 29, 2008 09:37 AM
18. Obama who? McCain's brilliant strategy of waiting to announce Palin until today has taken a huge amount of wind out of the "Did you see the messiah speak?" analysis. And with that wind goes many a Hillary voter.

The GOP is the party that ended slavery and brought about much of the civil rights reform. It's only fitting that the GOP will be the first party to get to executive office with a "minority" candidate. It's a great day for women and brown skinned people, but an even better day for the USA. Because Democrats can't lie any more and tell us that brown skinned people and women are helpless victims. We've made a lot of progress. Here's to the party that looks at the positive progress we have made, and wants to keep the USA successful instead of knocking her down to the level of her European Socialist cousins.

Posted by: Jeff B. on August 29, 2008 09:44 AM
19. you just heard a candidate make comically implausible promises like giving "every child a world-class education" and to end nuclear proliferation, poverty, disease and climate change.

He promised that the rise of the seas would be reversed, and also that we'd have to expect under his administration a decrease in our standard of living. No doubt so that vast quantities of our resources could be shoveled out into the world to fatten unelected UN bureaucrats.

Worse, his proposal to shovel funding on the level of that which goes to the US military, to a monster new bureaucracy of civic 'activists' which would vigorously work to undermine local governments all over the country. His murky record of shoveling $110,000,000 into Chicago politics to fatten political activists instead of its avowed purpose of improving educational performance gives us perspective on his experience and his intentions.

Posted by: Insufficiently Sensitive on August 29, 2008 10:35 AM
20. Ivan: Democrats don't value hard work, they value union protection and welfare the most, and refer to those who work hard and become successful as "exploiters" who must be punished.

Everyone knows democrats run the education establishment and we have huge double digit drop-out rates. They don't seem to care, as long as the teacher's unions get what they want.

Republicans argue for policies that emphasize personal responsibility. Democrats hail victimhood and more welfare.

Both parents being there for your kid is a conservative idea. Daycare and aborting your kids are constant running themes in the democrat party. Breaking up the family has been aided and abetted by government programs and especially in the inner cities.

Hope that clears it up for you.

Posted by: Michele on August 29, 2008 11:23 AM
21. "He stuck to the facts, except when he stretched them."

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskjold on August 29, 2008 02:40 PM
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