victory speech, Obama looked strong and confident, standing straight and tall. At the end of each applause line, he would stand unmoving during the applause, a stern unsmiling expression on his face. At first this was impressive, suggesting maturity and leadership. But as the speech, in which he declared that something has been achieved tonight that has never been achieved before, something that all the skeptics thought was impossible, and that we’re going to change America, change everything about America—as this speech, which was all shouted in one unmodulated and increasingly unpleasant tone, went on and on, repeating the same self-congratulatory and messianic phrases, I started to see something I had never before seen in the upbeat, affable Obama—arrogance.
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I had to drop a quick note and say your thumbnail impressions of the caucus speeches were great. You nailed exactly what I was feeling about both Huckabee’s and Obama’s speeches. The talking heads on the cable news shows were so caught up in the hype of the moment that they didn’t apply any similar standard of clearheaded reaction to what the candidates were revealing about themselves in that moment. I look forward to your further impressions and analysis.
John O’Sullivan writing at NRO notices more or less the same thing that I noticed in the Obama victory speech:
“Until now Obama has been the most popular of the candidates in all the parties; voters shrank from voting for him only because he was young and inexperienced. He still seems young, but he no longer seems inexperienced. That gives millions of voters across the spectrum permission to overcome their doubts and vote for Obama now. They already wanted to do that in order to demonstrate that neither they nor America are guilty of racism.
Indeed. Obama actually described his victory in Iowa as “this defining moment in history.” That is the most arrogant thing I’ve ever heard a presidential candidate say. What it clearly suggests to me is that in his own mind Obama is turning into the black Messiah. If he becomes president, the de-Caucasianization of America will be raised to the level of a national mission.
“Obama possibly overplayed this theme in his victory speech which was, if anything, too self-consciously historic. He need not stress that theme overmuch since the media will stress it for him. And he take a very slight risk of cheapening a powerful message—and losing the plot—if he is seen to bully voters morally into his voting column, however gently.”
KPA writes from Canada:
There seems to be a lot of ambiguity around Obama. He’s a consistent liberal, though, and Thomas Sowell has written that he is regurgitating failed 1960s ideologies. At that level, it is surprising that Dreher eulogizes him.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 04, 2008 01:41 AM | Send
But I’m not sure if Obama is being clever and cautious, or if he’s manipulating the American public—as some think he is. He has hardly mentioned race, or racial politics (e.g. regarding Katrina or the Jenna 6 stories), and doesn’t run on that platform. Yet he lets his wife make very race-specific interviews and speeches. And he’s part of that strange church congregation, although he’s separated himself somewhat from the pastor.
The first time I saw his reactionary behavior was at a 60 minutes interview. I was more shocked that he didn’t correct his wife, on her dire and I believe false statement, than at her statement. He’s the one running for presidency, after all.
Although one is judged by one’s associations, we still have to wait and see Obama’s actions (rather than reactions) to make the final call. Although I do remain skeptical.
By the way, my keen interest in all this is that whatever happens in the US is mildly copied in Canada. This was the case during the 1992 LA riots, for example. And we have a Governor General “from” Haiti, who resembles Rice, including some of the statements she’s made.