The Speech Obama Should Give: Updated


[Needs introduction–this would be the heart of the message….I’m not a speech writer so here goes]. The key to this whole thing is that Obama has to now paint Clinton as essentially McCain-lite. That both are establishment creatures. Also the chant of the crowd should be “Turn the Page” not “Yes We Can”. To be given Tuesday night after a commanding victory in the MS primary. This allows his message to ring clear in the six weeks up to Penn.

I Barack Obama run against the establishment. I run against two candidates who represent the insider mentality.

An establishment that said we had no chance, that money had to be raised through PACs and lobbyists, not a million strong small donations from regular Americans. An establishment that says the electoral map can not be redrawn.

The establishment in this contests is represented by two candidates, two dynasties.

John McCain is running for George Bush’s Third Term. An election between Sens. McCain and Clinton would guarantee another Bush or Clinton in the White House for now 32 years consecutively running.

[Turn the page]

I run against two opponents who both approved of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, who rattle sabers with Iran. Against two opponents who will keep us in Iraq indefinitely, furthering an occupation that costs lives and money and saps our efforts in Afghanistan. Against two opponents, both of whom criticized me for believing in diplomacy from a position of strength without fear.

[Turn the page].

I run against one candidate who will not disclose her tax returns and another…

Against one candidate who wants to parse the difference between rejecting and denouncing and another who will neither reject nor denounce an anti-Catholic bigot who blames the sufferings of the victims of Hurricane Katrina (American citizens, brothers and sisters of ours) on their sins.

[Turn the page]

The establishment is afraid. It has seen massive numbers of people join the political process across the country, who want not a divided America but a united one, individuals that the system with its micro-trends and micro-managing, its strategy based on Karl Rove style slash and burn politics, can not control.

The establishment mindset crosses party lines and will unite against its own party in order to maintain its power. The establishment senses its grip on power is loosening and therefore is in all out attack mode.

Attacks like one from my Democratic opponent says that she and John McCain are ready to lead and I am not.

It is true, It is very true; I am not ready to lead (BIG PAUSE FOR EFFECT)….

I AM NOT ready to lead this country into indefinite occupation, unending war, and endless bellicosity.

I AM NOT ready to lead this country back into the 1990s, the Cold War mindset, or a future that decreases American influence both at home and abroad.

[Turn the page]

I AM ready to lead this country into the 21st century, into a world and a mindset not limited by the Cold War constructs. A world of both extraordinary possibility and serious threat.

I am ready to lead this country as president into that day.

Update I:  Right on cue, here is the Obama team with the Clinton=McCain-lite line.

Published in: on March 7, 2008 at 4:07 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. lol. i see what you’re saying, but he is not anti-establishment.
    the one guy who is doesn’t make it on the mainstream news every night like obama does.

  2. “The establishment” is one of those fuzzed-up Sixties terms that kept that era from leaving any significant intellectual legacy.

    Spell out that term, please. Also, there is so much here that the candidate is not, so much that he opposes, so much that he is against, that it’s incongruous for him to expect us to respond by voting FOR him.

    That you can use him in this way to fill in the blanks with whatever you would like to hear, shows how successful he’s been at running as a blank. I want to hear what he’s for, I want to hear it in specific terms, and I’m not by any means alone.

    If he cannot distinguish himself from the Clintons SUBSTANTIVELY, then what’s the point? He’ll lose, because the People will go with “the devil they know”.

  3. Jesse,

    Who is the mystery man to whom you refer?

  4. HV,

    Establishment may be a 60s term. Might be fuzzy. Might work that way.

    What I had in mind was the idea in Clinton’s mind that you have to be in power for a long time to cross a “threshold” as she said, thereby legitimating one for power. It is her sense of entitlement that has shown through the entire race. That because she’s been around, McCain has been a Senator, somehow that counts.

    Not whether they consistently get votes wrong, particularly on foreign policy (which both Clinton and McCain have and do), but that they have been in Washington and therefore can be trusted with power.

    This wasn’t the whole of the speech, I should have made that clear. Just a part. I was trying to keep to his rhythmic speech pattern.

    Substantively he does (imo) stand quite apart from either of them. Style and rhetoric does matter quite significantly in a media age, but that aside for the moment.

    He does not see the primary foreign policy lens as attacking states, but rather criminal and terrorist elements within states. Clinton and McCain are both locked into a Cold War mentality that sees states as the realities–hence the push to replay the script on Iraq in Iran from both of them.

    On domestic policy he stands in a median position between the two. McCain has become an orthodox conservative on taxes and health care (perhaps not global warming but not clear there) and will run a national security campaign and presidency. Domestic policy will continue to wither under a McCain presidency–unless they find more illegal drugs in sports because our national greatness will thereby be hurt.

    Clinton on the other hand domestically believes in a government that is there to be a substitute parent. Obama (check his background with behavioral economics advisors) want to simplify governmental structures. They are still liberals but not traditional paternalistic big gov liberals.

    If Clinton is the nominee it will not be because the people choose her. Obama will win more states, delegates, and popular vote. It will be because of superdelegates–which is exactly the establishment mindset.

    Obama believes people put pressure to force governments to make choices (the history of progressive movements bears his theory out).

    Clinton thinks you need a power-broker at top that will cow opposition into subservience and then benevolently grant wonders unto the people (the real meaning of the LBJ/MLK statement).

    Like I said, Obama is far from a blank slate. A guy actually running for the 21st century not the 60s/70s Boomer fight (which is McCain and Clinton)–the descendants of the two Boomer dynasties Bush and Clinton.

    Peace. CJ

  5. CJ, thank you for answering seriously my serious questions about serious matters. I do appreciate it. And I see now what you mean by “the establishment”.

    I don’t believe that Mr. Obama is a cipher, and nor do I discount the importance of style. On the contrary, I don’t think that anyone can understand Americans who doesn’t understand what, and how much, sheer style can mean to us. We even fight wars with style. I don’t disparage it in Senator Obama, though I wish his style were a bit less derivative and a bit more original.

    I can’t see him as falling on any kind of political spectrum between John McCain, whom I can’t stand, and Hillary Clinton and her manager the former-president—both of whom I loathe. As close as Obama gets is the far left of the American political scale, and he may be off the scale, in the territory of his ostensibly erstwhile neo-Marxism. Were the latter categorization accurate, then he would have to fill in the left margin of his campaign’s letterhead with the names of persons who would moderate that image, now wouldn’t he?

    The Clintons have pulled plenty of (tear-jerking) fast ones in this campaign, but a couple of their Spinning Hit Singles are (a) selling the idea that Hillary has “35 years of experience” of actually accomplishing anything; and (b) selling the idea that Obama hasn’t yet been vetted, whereas she’s been put through the gauntlet for years. The first is nonsense because, of course, her only real experience in government is her Senate tenure, which has been marked by backslapping, cheerleading in support of lawmakers who deign to engage in lawmaking, and introducing token bills that go nowhere right on schedule. Sen. Obama, on the other hand, has accomplished far more in three years than she has done in seven. He does behave like a young man in a hurry. Again, nothing wrong with that. (Vide Hamilton, Lincoln, T. Roosevelt.)

    The second hit single for the Clintons is a flat-out absurd attempt, not so much to take a magnifying glass to Obama’s record, as to deflect attention from what the Clintons have been up to for the past seven years—which period the media so far have failed to vet. (And I have no idea what they’ve been doing, but I think a lot of people want to know how it is that Hillary had $5M to put up in a hurry.)

    The fluff from Obama about obliterating the liberal/conservative distinction is more squid’s ink from him, as he’s done nothing to reach across the aisle, and could not possibly be a more doctrinaire Man of the Left.

    I think you’re a fine speech writer, and are wise to pit Mr. Obama AGAINST the things so many of us have come to despise. I dig that a lot. I’ve written a lot of political speeches myself, and politicians are, in their minds, out there to win friends, not to make enemies. But in this case I think that the temperamentally upbeat junior Senator from Illinois would do well to distinguish himself by his choice of enemies and his choice of targets.

    BTW, I admire the beautiful Celtic cross you use.


  6. Ron Paul of course.

    “Obama is far from a blank slate.”

    Exactly. I don’t get the impression that the people en masse know what’s on it. I don’t know what they want for change, but I’m not convinced they know how to get it. Why would they ask for government to solve it if they could do it themselves?

  7. J,

    I figured it was RP, just making sure.


    thanks for the nice words on the cross.



  8. I see that Shelby Steele recently wrote on derivative, winged and Mercurial Sen. Obama’s style is. Steele posits that Obama hasn’t yet found his style. (Much as JFK hadn’t found his voice until the ’60 campaign was well under way.)

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