Friday, August 29, 2008

People are Talking Columns?

A bunch of backhanded compliments mixed in with the mostly great reviews of Obama's speech last night.

Then, of course, the petty conservatives weigh in, criticizing the columns, which I barely noticed.

Peggy Noonan, WSJ writer (and former Reagan and Bush speechwriter), said she got the columns - they were an evocation of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech.
Here's Noonan's take:
The speech itself lacked lift but had heft. It wasn't precisely long on hope, but I think it showed audacity. In fact, by the end of the speech I thought it was quite a gamble.

This was not a "Happy Days Are Here Again." This was not Smiling O. He was not the charmer or the celebrity, and he didn't try much humor. Mr. Obama often looked stern, and somewhat indignant, certainly serious throughout.

There was a funny thing that marked the entire production, a mix of sight and sound that wasn't a colliding of sight and sound but was--well, unusual. At the end of the speech there were fireworks and colorful confetti shot from a cannon – the picture was bright and beautiful as the floodlights spanned the crowd and picked up flag-waving kids and happy grandmas in big hats. But the sound of the event, the music that filled the hall at the close of the speech, wasn't your basic upbeat convention music, part Vegas and part high school marching band. It was instead muted, softly orchestral. It was like the music they play in the background in a big movie just after a big battle, when everyone's absorbing what happened.

It was all very interesting, and surprising. You could see it coming in the biographical film they used to introduce Mr. Obama. It was lovely, full of unusual shots and lingerings on images, but it was similarly muted, low-key, without any particular joy. I think I am correct in detecting, in the background score, some of the more tender music from "A River Runs Through It" and "A Beautiful Mind."
NYO: If they had it to do over, it’s a good bet that Barack Obama’s campaign would not have moved the final night of the Democratic convention from a cozy basketball arena to an open-air football stadium.

CNN still tries to drive the news, hanging on McCain's words:
CNN: The problem for the McCain campaign is simple: The more successful it has been in spreading the meme of Obama as an unqualified celebrity candidate, the easier it has become for the Illinois senator to exceed expectations.

Maybe Obama's oratory hovered more than soared for most of the night -- but it landed safely. The policy proposals are up for debate. But they can't be dismissed entirely.
CNN, only a certain audience believes Obama is unqualified.
EJ Dionne: His message focused on bread-and-butter empathy, on harnessing John McCain firmly to President Bush's views and record, on a lengthy list of policies that stood as an answer to critics who say his campaign is longer on inspiration than on specifics. It was a speech aimed less at stirring the faithful, though no doubt it did, than at persuading and reassuring those who harbor doubts.

But the medium and Obama's oratorical power served to underscore his effort to recapture a sense of movement and reinforce his claim that "all across America, something is stirring."

If it did nothing else, this week's Democratic National Convention served as a reminder of the historical import of Obama's nomination and the astonishing transformation of the country in just three generations.

If you can bear it, the bitter old guy at the Washington Post, who's absolutely railed against Obama this election didn't criticize Obama's speech but the entire convention:
Barack Obama is an immensely talented man whose talents have been largely devoted to crafting, and chronicling, his own life. Not things. Not ideas. Not institutions. But himself.

Nothing wrong or even terribly odd about that, except that he is laying claim to the job of crafting the coming history of the United States. A leap of such audacity is odd. The air of unease at the Democratic convention this week was not just a result of the Clinton psychodrama. The deeper anxiety was that the party was nominating a man of many gifts but precious few accomplishments -- bearing even fewer witnesses.
And from a racist writer (anyone who diminishes Obama as simply the affirmative action candidate is a loser and ignorant):
The psychic investment in Barack's candidacy is immense.

So great is the moral pressure to conform that John Lewis, the young hero of Selma Bridge, buckled and recanted his endorsement of Hillary. And that act of disloyalty and betrayal, a capitulation to race solidarity, is regarded as praiseworthy.

Black radio has become a cheering section for Obama. Every GOP ad mocking Obama is inspected for racial motives. Campaign books that portray Obama as a radical or phony are denounced by people who have not even seen them. The thought police are out in force.

Michelle Obama's speech about her upbringing and beliefs -- crafted by Barack's hires -- is said to be the last word on what a mainstream patriotic woman she is. But why, then, would she have taken her two lovely daughters to be baptized by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and to listen on Sundays to his racist rants against America.
The depth of cynicism is mind blowing.
David Brooks manages to overtake Maureen Dowd's snark  (he never does snark) and writes one for the conservative's looking for something to hate.