The speech that started it all, the 2004 keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.


Attempting the Obama co-op

Daily Kos: State of the Nation

And a few comments that make you in hindsight!

Let them call Obama conservative
With luck, this will lure some right-wingers to vote for him in some future presidential election
by Clueless Joe on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 10:30:59 AM PST

they can attempt
to co-opt Obama all they want, I take delight in knowing they must be seething with envy and jealousy and fear at the potential of this man.Whatever “IT” is, Obama has IT. And he is ours, with all his heartfelt eloquence and intelligence and charisma, he is a democrat, and the next senator from ILL.
by mickey on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 10:32:27 AM PST

As I said on musing’s thread
I see this as a good development. Sure it seems ludicrous, but it’s SO much better than a bunch of freepers going on about some liberal, “minority” caricature. Clearly he is so unassailable that they want him for their own. Obama is not going to turn into a centrist or a conservative just because they say so. However, it does seem to bode well for his future political career… (in which he would presumably have to appeal to more than just liberals) great ideas+organization+discipline+communication=WIN
by JMS on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 10:35:56 AM PST

Let Them Spin
Obama’s speech was one of the great ones, up there with Jesse Jackson’s best and it touched on many of the same themes. If anything Obama is on the left end of the Democratic Party. If the Repugs (and their running dogs in the press) spin Obama as a conservative, fine. That will set the tone for spin in the future, which Obama very obviously has. "He’s really a conservative” will protect him from a lot of the caricature Repugs will want to draw him as in future races. They are desperate enough to beat Kerry that they are, in effect eating their rhetorical seed corn. That is a good sign, both short and long-term.

I woke up several times last night thinking, hoping, that this country might overcome ingrained racism enough, soon enough, to give Obama a chance to become president. If Illinois can do it the rest of the country can. The question I have is: After his speech, how are the Repugs going to find anyone to run against him this November? This aggression will not stand, man.
by kaleidescope on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 10:38:39 AM PST

What they can’t stand
What they can’t stand is that here is a speaker so charismatic that even jaded journo scum like Shields and Lehrer and Brooks bow to him.What they can’t stand is that here’s a human being with a personal narrative and response to the facts of that narrative - and not one crafted by focus groups and brand experts - resonates with many different kinds of Americans, from immigrant cabdrivers to fresh-out-of-Harvard-Law associates. It’s this that allows him to unite, not divide.

What they can’t stand is that someone is deploying the rhetoric of optimism not as a cynical attempt to redefine himself but because it’s what he believes in. What they can’t stand is that Barack Obama obviously makes people feel hopeful about America in a way no politician R D or I has been able to in at least this last generation. (I go weak for the Big Dog too, but that’s all about personal charisma. Barack makes me want to serve. If anyone here heard the “pay any price, bear any burden” speech in real time, tell me if JFK himself did any better.) What they can’t stand is that we have all seen the future, and he’s a skinny kid, with a funny name, who does not happen to be 0wnz0red by Halliburton or anyone else. Wow.

by adamgreenfield on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 10:45:36 AM PST

How is it a bad thing…
that Barack Obama can express liberal values in a way that conservatives can embrace? Or that Barack Obama can communicate conservative values in a way that makes liberals tear up with joy? He’s demonstrated how to bridge the divide, he’s the mother fucking truth, the goddamned long-awaited answer, the right wing is either chasing after him or paralyzed in the apoplexy of cognitive dissonance that a liberal could talk like that, yet everyone here is still in attack mode?
by AngryElephant on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 10:47:42 AM PST

…is going to both bring the house down and confound the Freeper pundits. Four weeks after the announcement, the worst that has been said about him is:
  1. inexperience
  2. “jacuzzis”
That’s it. That’s all they’ve got. BTW there is a huge article on him in the WaPo today. One of the photos in the print edition is him with an infant victim of cerebal palsy, but it’s not on the website. Today’s Post also talks about how we’ve got a number of up and comers in the Party.
This is going to be a dynamite night.

by Jank2112 on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 12:28:36 PM PST

This speech is amazing.
And I love how they’re spinning it as conservative. The political pundits in the Chicago newspapers have been screaming for the last months about how Obama will be the most liberal member ever elected to the US senate. Amazing.

by engray on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 10:50:55 AM PST

Obama was representing the Democratic party I read about in history books. The one that came to prominence under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We are returning to our roots, and shedding of the cloak of confusion which we carried since 1968.

by Steve4Clark on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 10:55:51 AM PST

Two Words
Scared Shitless. Two more? Rockstar Liberal. Maybe these clowns want to talk to the idiots in the IL GOP who call Barack to the left of Mao Tse Tung. Let me repeat: scared shitless.

by MRL on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 10:58:25 AM PST

Let them say he’s a conservative all they want.
He’s still on our side. If anything, it’ll make people realize that only the far right should vote for the Republican party, the rest belong with us.

by DynomiteUVA on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 11:38:02 AM PST

GOP Problem
The biggest problem the GOP has with Obama’s speech is that Obama has so eloquently shown that Democratic and Liberal values ARE mainstream values.

by s0ck on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 11:38:21 AM PST

Hmmm, let’s see. Big media buildup to the Obama speech: Obama is the new face of the Democratic party. Opponents’ complaint after the Obama speech: Obama isn’t a whiny, divisive, out-of-the-mainstream loser.Sure looks to me like the conclusion here is, hey! Democrats aren’t divisive, out-of-the-mainstream losers anymore! We may bristle at the “anymore” part, but I’m most worried about November. As long as a positive bounce comes out of all this, I’ll be happy. They are playing right into Obama’s hands. He’s talking about uniting America, and they’re complaining that he’s stealing their message. A very good sign.

The last time I remember lotsa Republicans complaining about a Democrat stealing their message, it was Clinton, and things worked out pretty well in the elections. Of course, Clinton did it by alienating part of the progressive wing of the party. Obama’s doing it while being EMBRACED by the progressive wing of the party. Let’s all pay careful attention to how he’s doing that. Aside: Bravo to Obama for the point about a culture that says if a black kid has a book, he’s “acting white.” Now I’d like to see someone at the RNC talk about those pockets of white culture that ridicule intellect, where if a kid picks up a book on poetry or philosophy he’s a sissy and she’s an egghead who can’t get a boyfriend. Or if a woman can speak five languages, she “won’t play well in Peoria.” Fat (cheneyism) chance.

by firenze on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 11:47:28 AM PST

The reason for all this is that the GOP fears Obama immensely. My wife, who is not easily impressed by politicians was completely blown away by his speech. About 3 minutes into it she said “Who the hell is that guy?”, I explained he was running for the Senate in Illinois, then she said he made her want to move there so we could vote for him. By the end of it she was convinced he should run for president at the earliest opportunity.

Like he said, he’s a skinny black man with a weird name - the fact that he has crushed his opponents in the Senate race and has such broad support in Illinois, and that he has incredible charisma from a podium, gives the GOP terrible nightmares. They know he’s got a bright future ahead of him and it’s very likely that one day he will be a powerful leader in the Democratic party.

by Jett on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 12:34:28 PM PST

Let the GOP call him conservative….
It will work against them in 8 years when they try to frame him and his running mate as the most liberal ticket ever :-).

by Keith Brekhus on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 01:11:16 PM PST

I wrote this in a diary last night after watching Obama. But the notion that the speech was “conservative” is wrong IMO; it’s fundamentally liberal because its a real paene to national community. Obviously Obama’s no socialist which is why he says that government can’t solve our problems, that family is important. But he also said, in a way nobody has in a long time — not Edwards, not Kennedy — that in some ways (national, spiritual and material ways) we’re all family, all responsible for each other. Unsaid but implied of course is government’s role in connecting and protecting and laying the infrastructure for uniting us.

To me, more than anything else, community is at the heart of liberalism: the emphasis on public and social responsibility, tolerance, respect for the public good over strict adherence to the rights of autonomy and privacy which are at the heart of conservatism (real conservatism, not the perverted supply-side neocon Reagan-Bush kind). That value of community, of the public good, is what fundamentally separates the left from the right, the “progressives” from the conservatives. It’s in no way contradictory to talking about “an awesome God” or anything else. That’s why I liked “It takes a village” more than I liked “The Two Americas” and why I loved Obama’s speech (my first time hearing him talk). More than just talking more about the plight of the poor or about “the two Americas” or about “the people not the powerful” or whatever — while such ideas are useful and important — Democrats have largely stopped talking overtly in recent times about the public good, the reaffirmation of community to halt the spread of nihilism that defined the 80s and 90s (especially the 80s). Obama brought it back in a big way tonight. For that, I loved him.

by tlaura on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 02:11:01 PM PST

to paraphrase a line
from Obama’s speech last night:

we have to make it so that when a black man speaks good common sense social policy we stop saying he is talking like a conservative. I actually suspect that several things are going on with conservative commentators praise of Barack Obama. First, they realize that the true speech-making talent lies with the Democratic Party. Compare the speeches of Gore, Carter, Clinton, Gephardt, Dean, Obama to what we are likely to hear out of the mouths of Republicans: can DeLay give a speech like any of them? Santorum? Who is the Republican rising star?

Second, (and here I am agreeing with others above) they actually agree with most of what he said — it was a moving speech — and they recognize that a speech like that draws in independents and swing voters. Third, they are acknowledging that the Democrats actually know what they are doing. None of this seems like an appropriation of Obama; it is equally an acknowledgment of how far right Bush has led his party.

Also: Why is that Obama is marked simply as having a Harvard law degree? This man was editor of the Harvard Law Review, and what did he choose to do? Not make mega-bucks at a white shoe firm, but teach and serve in the state senate, and then go to the federal level. This is a man who actually lives in accord with what he speaks.

Which brings me to liberalism: philosophically, Obama sounded like a fusion of communitarian and liberal to me. Not really conservative.

by LisainVan on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 02:49:00 PM PST

Barak Obama
will scare the hell out of the wingnuts and invigorate the left, moderate and far. The GOP is already getting their dirty tricks campaign ready, and Barak is a target to be sure, they don’t want this politician to get legs. He could become their worst nightmare, we on the left can only hope that is the case. Barak, congratulations on a great speech, good luck and stay safe.

by PC on Wed Jul 28, 2004 at 07:49:04 PM PST