Happiness is…

The Speech through Intervals

Like most Americans, I reported to work this morning and knew I wouldn’t be able to see Barack Obama deliver a much hyped speech. Let me re-phrase that…like most Americans I reported to work this morning. It’s unlikely most Americans knew there was a much trumpeted moment coming in the morning’s news cycle.

There were no inhibitions as the campaign and commentators referred to it as the most important in his campaign and a history making moment. I was first able to get the transcript….

THE TRANSCRIPT…appeared long and read something like a professor’s lecture notes. I love this guy but wondered if it was necessary to read the whole thing. I hoped his delivery would make the difference. Then I found an mp3…

THE MP3…revealed some passionate moments but there was no single moment when the speech took off. It sounded like Obama’s feet were squarely planted on the ground. Distracted by a co-worker, I decided to simply let it go. I couldn’t remember his remarks well enough to rewind to the place where I was interrupted. Nothing really left a mark. This evening I was able to watch the video

THE VIDEO…I’m still certain that this is affecting most as much as your average college lecture. You can’t possibly hang onto every word and it’s anyone’s guess what will stick. Will everyone be talking about mustard and relish sandwiches tomorrow? I can’t help but wonder how this is being received outside of Obama’s circle…

THE NIGHTLY NEWS...The local news gives a nod to the fact the primary campaign continues. Clinton gave a speech on Iraq today and Obama gave a speech on race. That’s it. With Brian Williams on NBC, the report starts with the fact that Rev. Wright played a central role in Obama’s faith, married the Obamas, and baptized the Senator’s two daughters. Important details but much more focused on the question of Rev. Wright rather than any greater message about race.

AT THE END OF THE NIGHT…There are essential themes to Senator Obama’s remarks that we shouldn’t overlook. There’s the promise of redemption and forgiveness for our own imperfect selves. There’s a complex picture of what it means to be an American of any color. The line that resonated most for me spoke about the anger inherent in any discussion of race….

But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

Too often we look away too quickly. It’s the real anger that makes discussing race as a spectacle (O.J) or as a tragedy (Hurricane Katrina) more destructive than we dare admit. We’d like to think we’re boldly talking about race. The problem is that we’re talking about but we’re not saying anything about us, what these events say about who we are and the people we want to be. Today, Obama laid out an alternative.

I found one post-speech analysis that gives credit to the greatest contribution Obama provided today….

For the bravest thing Obama did in his historic speech at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia was to ring the bell louder. He chose to focus on an uncomfortable topic that most Americans would rather leave unspoken. He offered an honest and gutsy tour of the complexities of our wounded national psyche, even explaining that his own beloved white grandmother engaged in racial stereotypes. And he articulated a big part of what his supporters liked about him in the first place: the chance to take us into a better racial future.

The question continues to be how many Americans are prepared to follow his lead.

Campaign ’08: Yes, We’re Silly

With just a moment reprieve from Obama volunteers and SXSW band listings, I found buckets full of silliness in today’s political news. Who needs black-faced actors on SNL when the “real” stories are this funny?

  • Bush sang his goodbye to Washington last night to the tune of “Green Green Grass of Home.” He cleverly changed the chorus to brown, brown grass and assures the press they’re going to miss him. Hear his performance at the Gridiron Club here.
  • Back to serious issues like foreign policy experience, actor/comedian Sinbad has scripted his own resurgence. Making that same trip to Bosnia in 1996 as then first lady Hillary Clinton, Sinbad suggests the only “red phone moment” sounded something like the discussion at my house last night…”where do you want to eat?”

Hillary’s Fuzzy Math Won’t Add Up in November

I thought it was just another special moment with Colbert. He really *gets* me. Using the logic getting all the press since Texas and Ohio primaries, he revealed its flawed conclusion. Even truthiness and fuzzy math require more substance than the suggestion that the person who wins a state’s primary in the spring will win that state in November. The Texas two-step primary may be unique but there’s one thing all primaries have in common–they’re a political party event isolated from the challenge the other party will present in the general election.

Carrying primary results forward to November is a shell game. That hasn’t stopped HRC and her campaign from fueling the story. Perhaps they see hope in words more and more as they confront a shortage of votes and delegates as the primary season wraps up. As Stephen pointed out, imposing this theory could cause big problems in the state of Texas….

Hillary won there last week so she’ll win there in November. But wait! McCain won there last week too so why isn’t he the one that will win in November?

[Sharp Skirts is ready to make a projection for November ’08…John McCain wins Texas by the same 60-ish % to yet to be determined Democrat’s 35-ish %. Those are the stats for the Democratic contender who challenged Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2006, Kerry in 2004, and Gore in 2000. (Look up past results here).]

With a contested primary giving Texas Democrats more kick in their giddy-up than anyone has seen in years, some have been bold enough to share their delusion that Texas will be in play in November. Is there any rhetoric more empty than to suggest Democrats can take back the state in 2008? Hillary’s campaign would like us to believe her primary wins add up to wins in November. The national polls haven’t supported that suggestion and neither does conventional wisdom. Other than safely hypothesizing more women may come out to vote for a woman candidate, where do Democrats expect to pick up the rest of the 20% they’d need to make this red state blue?

Much like Hillary positioning herself by hinting at inviting Obama, currently in first place, to be her VP. It just doesn’t add up. If this is the conversation at the water cooler this week, Dylan Loewe at Huffington Post presents everything you need to know in just three paragraphs:

The voting population of a Democratic primary is vastly different than that of a general election. Winning the Ohio primary suggests only that the Democratic base prefers one candidate over the other. But in the general election, Democrats, including many who don’t vote in primaries, as well as Republicans and Independents will be voting. The voting population is entirely different, and the coalition for victory must include a combination of Democrats, Independents, and some Republicans. Hillary’s win among Democratic voters says absolutely nothing about her ability to attract other voters. In fact, Obama has consistently faired dramatically better among Independents and Republicans than has Clinton. A recent Survey USA poll shows both Obama and Clinton ahead of McCain by double digits in Ohio.

Moreover, the notion that Obama would be unable to win California and New York in a general election is insultingly ludicrous. Both states have been consistently Democratic, and no public polling data suggests otherwise.

In terms of electoral strategy, Hillary Clinton is in a far weaker position, and is using misleading data to bolster her claims. It is true that Hillary Clinton cannot win the general election without New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida. She is still playing on a traditional field, the same on which Kerry and Gore served up painful losses. But, as those same Survey USA numbers show, Obama is playing on an entirely different field. Obama’s victory will not require Florida, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey. He can build a broader coalition, with states like Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada, and Virginia. Obama’s success in those states means the party will not have to depend on states like Florida, many of which have been tragically unreliable.

If you want to consider a few safer assumptions based on Texas primary results, check out William McKenzie on Dallas News here.

More Power for your Neighborhood Watch

Described as “transformeresque,” this new gadget can light your way as you walk the dog and keep you at the ready if it “gets nasty.” Impress your neighborhood watch group and be the first on the street with one of these….

Must See: Bill Clinton’s Laws of Politics

Did you enjoy the Clinton years? Are you fretting over your primary vote thinking another round of Clinton might be the solution we need for healthcare or the economy?

You have hope but you’re afraid you need all that baggage Hillary calls experience. Another Clinton suggested a certain one of “Clinton’s Laws of Politics” you might want to consider…this 25 second clip from the campaign trail in 2004 is a must see….

How was this any fun at all before YouTube?