Sunday, January 6, 2008
Change You Can Believe In
Anyone with an ounce of political curiosity has probably seen Barack Obama's Iowa victory speech by now, but if you haven't, you really should. This one's going to go down in history along with LBJ's 1965 We Shall Overcome speech, and Ted Kennedy's 1980 primary concession to Jimmy Carter (a speech that I regard as the last gasp of the true Democratic Party). It's inspired, inspiring, and calculated to create the wave of organizing that it will take to turn this disaster-ridden nation around.
I appreciate that Edwards is talking economic populism, but Obama is an organizer at heart, and his appeal is far more broad. Maybe it's easy to look smart next to George Bush, but this guy really is. His memoir Dreams Of My Father is beautifully written and shows a fine mind at work. He has a deep grasp of the complexities of race in America, and is well-positioned to begin addressing the greatest fault line dividing this country. He masterfully moves beyond the divisive rhetoric of the right even as he calls it out. I believe him when he says he'll pull us out of this horrible war. And his smile is real.
Hillary, on the other hand, would be a political disaster. My friend Paul Loeb writes about this brilliantly. She's Lucy to our Charlie Brown, pulling the football away to leave us flat on our asses and deflated. She'll run on hope and change, and revert to mainline Democratic Leadership Council business as usual about three seconds after the Inaugural Ball. She's better than Bush, yeah, but so is McCain. We need Obama.