Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘the audacity of hope

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Next President of the United States

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President-Elect Obama takes the stage.

black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight, city dwellers, farm dwellers, we’re all together

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There are no real parts of the country and fake parts of the country.

There are no pro-America parts of the country and anti-America parts of the country.

We all love this country, no matter where we live or where we come from: black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight, city dwellers, farm dwellers, we’re all together…

Al Giordano looks at Obama’s powerful closing argument and notices it looks a whole lot like his powerful opening argument.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 23, 2008 at 8:51 pm

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Happy Belated Birthday, Ursula K. Le Guin

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Also at Edge of the American West, SEK rings in Ursula K. Le Guin’s birthday with a nice-if-slightly-wrong reading of The Lathe of Heaven against the politics of hope.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 22, 2008 at 4:15 am

The Speech

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The speech.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead – people of every creed and color, from every walk of life – is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

“We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

One can’t be cynical every day. And that man really is going to be president.


Written by gerrycanavan

August 29, 2008 at 2:01 am

Obama Victory Speech in St. Paul

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YouTube has the full video of Obama’s victory speech last night in St. Paul.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Written by gerrycanavan

June 4, 2008 at 1:06 pm

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Obama Speaks

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UPDATE: Kos has the video.

Politco has the embargoed text of the speech on race Obama is giving this morning in Philadelphia. (I see DKos has it, too.) It’s very good and it’s extremely powerful; not only is it exactly what he needed to say because the controversy he currently finds himself mired in, but it’s what needs to be said in general about race and class in America. I’m not with those people who think the Rev. Wright controversy helps Obama more than it hurts him—but there’s a possibility it actually could if the words of this speech get the play they should.

I’ll admit it, the man makes me misty-eyed.

I’ll put up video when I find it.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 18, 2008 at 3:01 pm

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Actual Results Liveblogging

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Actual results liveblogging.

1:06 am: And with that, I think I’m just about going to bed. Here’s the map of the night, courtesy of the New York Times. It looks good to me. I’m in agreement with kos’s take tonight: this was a huge night for Obama, especially when the pundits finally remember that a lot of Clinton’s votes in CA and NJ were cast weeks ago—and if Obama does in fact sneak ahead in the delegate count, I still say it will have been decisive.

12:49 am: The MSNBC delegate guy says the delegate count goes 841-837 for Obama, given the best-case scenario for Clinton in California… Forget all talk of ties, if that’s true, that’s the nomination.

12:43 am: Alaska goes for Obama, says MSNBC, again by a good margin. I think she’ll probably take New Mexico, but it looks like once again her victory margin will be close. With the state count (Obama) and the popular vote count (Clinton) locked up, the question settles on delegates. We won’t know until tomorrow how this is laid out, but I wouldn’t bet against Jeff Berman. An Obama delegate victory would be huge—but even barring that he leaves tonight in a very strong position for the rest of the race.

12:36 am: Looks like Romney drops out this week, maybe tomorrow.

12:28 am: Still out: Alaska and New Mexico…

12:15 am: MSNBC says McCain wins California, which more or less means he’s the nominee.

Brokaw says trying to figure out who wins how many delegates from California is “quantum physics”…

12:10 am: Hillary Clinton wins California, per MSNBC, but it looks like Obama ekes out a last-minute victory in Missouri, per kos. Factor in Alaska, and that’s a good looking map for the front-page tomorrow.

No idea what the differential is yet.

12:09 am: Obama up in Missouri!

12:02 am: Borrowing from Maria Shriver: “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” … “Yes, we can. Let’s go to work.”

11:58 pm: Closes with a direct appeal to those who yearn for change, but are cynical. “We need you. We need you to stand with us.”

11:55 pm: “Our party must be the party of tomorrow.”

11:54 pm: Hitting Clinton hard on lobbyists—”more money from lobbyists than any Republican”—Iraq/Iran, diplomacy, and torture. Refrain of “he can’t say…he can’t say…” speaks directly to McCain.

11:52 pm: Barack hitting the change/status-quo only-I-can-beat-John-McCain line now. “It’s a choice between arguing with the other party about who has the most experience in Washington, vs. arguing with them about who can change Washington. That’s a debate we can win.”

11:50 pm: Maybe I was wrong about Missouri—it’s down to a one-percent differential now. Shankar and this kos diarist (diary now deleted) remind me of the ’06 race, which came down to the wire unexpectedly in exactly the same way…

11:47 pm: He’s got them chanting “USA! USA!” again. I love that.

11:45 pm: Votes are still being counted, but “there is one thing tonight that we do not need the final results to know. Our time has come.”

11:41 pm: Barack’s still making his way through the crowd. Here’s our first take of the Barack narrative going forward into tomorrow, courtesy of Ambinder: ““This was their day to get the upper hand in the nomination fight and they failed.” Meanwhile, it looks as if Clinton may take the “more raw votes” criterion for victory, the least meaningful of the three, in my opinion, especially so long as she insists on counting a contest in which she was the only name on the ballot.

11:39 pm: On now.

11:38 pm: Barack about to come on TV. We’re watching on C-SPAN.

11:35 pm: Also from Chris Bowers, the California exit poll suggests a Clinton-leaning split, maybe slightly bigger than most people were anticipating. But those polls haven’t been all that on-point thus far, so don’t despair…

11:31 pm: Chris Bowers does the math and says that Obama has won a majority of states tonight, 12 of 22, even if he loses California. This metric doesn’t matter, as I said when I thought he wouldn’t win a majority of states—but it’s definitely nice to have this to point to.

11:25 pm: MSNBC is finally starting to realize that this looks like a big night for Obama.

11:23 pm: PBS has Missouri in a close win for Clinton, 50% to 47%, which has been stable for a few hours, but which the major networks for some reason haven’t called yet.

11:14 pm: Fox calls Colorado for Barack—another solid chunk of delegates, though MSNBC calls Arizona for Clinton. In terms of margins of victory, Obama’s is again bigger…

11:11 pm: American Samoa called for Clinton, per the Field. 2 delegates to Clinton, 1 to Obama. They’re also saying Obama took 44% of Hispanic voters in Arizona, which is a good number he’ll certainly be touting in the next few days.

11:01 pm: Not a great speech from Clinton, though I’m not the target audience. Meanwhile, MSNBC has music to my ears: “California Too Close to Call.”

10:58 pm: Clinton comes out early—maybe she thinks this isn’t her night? (Quick update: Shankar says that she came out to try and make the 11 o’clock news on the East Coast. Could be.) I’m hearing that Barack is coming out at 11:30. Meanwhile, MSNBC has called Idaho for Obama.

10:53 pm: And this is exactly what I’m talking about when I say the Obama camp learned their lessons well from Nevada and New Hampshire. Get out in front, declare victory, set the frame. Exactly right.

10:50 pm: Obama’s delegate guy, Jeff Berman—who was the first to realize that Obama actually won Nevada—says Obama is ahead in delegates, 606-534.

10:45 pm: The Page explains how the O-positive exit polls are causing the media’s talking heads to misread Obama’s impressive surges in two Clinton strongholds, New Jersey and Massachusetts, as big losses. Two posts on TNR’s The Plank make short work of this nonsense: I half wish the Clinton campaign had been shameless enough to declare New York an upset, just so we could have seen which commentators were credulous enough to swallow that whopper. Thanks to Shankar for the links.

10:42 pm: MSNBC calls Georgia for Huckabee in a tight squeaker. I love what he’s going around saying: “They said it was a two-way race, and they were right: me and McCain.”

10:39 pm: Keep hope alive for that Obama +1 superwin; the Obama camp is apparently predicting that they’ll win the national delegate count tonight, while the Clinton camp coyly says it’s too soon to tell. Here’s a little bit of analysis to back that claim up.

10:33 pm: Shankar says Romney promises to continue; things were bad enough for him tonight that there was speculation he’d just drop out.

10:27 pm: Minnesota officially Barack’s now, too, per Fox.

10:21 pm: It occurs to me now that I’m glad Gore and Edwards waited, assuming (as I think is fair) that they plan to endorse Obama sometime soon…

10:14 pm: Voting problems in New Mexico to match the earlier problems in Los Angeles and California. Another election marred by voting problems. Whoever wins the presidency, we need voting reform in the First 100 Days.

10:12 pm: Neil tells me that Connecticut has been called for Obama by CBS and MSNBC. Very nice. This will matter much more in the story that’s told tomorrow than the MA or NJ losses.

10:08 pm: The state-by-state count is turning in Barack’s favor in a big way. (God bless the stupidity of the media.) The visuals of the election results map will also likely favor him, because he’s taking the bigger, less populous states in the middle of the country. (Finally, this foolishness works in my favor for once.) The Drudge count is 9 to 6 right now, and that margin in Connecticut doesn’t seem to be shifting…

10:05 pm: On MSNBC, having already established that ties go to Obama, are now talking about how indecisive this night is going to be. Good. Keep this storyline, media, do not deviate from it.

10:03 pm: Fox officially calls North Dakota as well. It looks good for Barack in the four Western states the Field was talking about below—which is good, because they bring the state total back into his column and help with delegate catchup.

10:00 pm: The polls close in Utah, and it’s immediately called by Fox for Obama. He was down here not long ago, too, by big numbers. Hope the bobbleheads keep the history of the race in mind as they bloviate tonight…

9:56 pm: The Field tries to put Massachusetts in perspective by comparing the close Massachusetts finish to his haul in four Western states: Idaho, North Dakota, Kansas, and Minnesota.

9:50 pm: CNN calls Mass for Clinton, belatedly. Shankar points out to me in chat that the delegate count should be kept closer by those late-reporting college areas.

Bad storms in TN being reported on MSNBC—looks very bad.

9:44 pm: Dean reminds everybody about delegates on MSNBC as well.

9:41 pm: Not to push false hopes, but CNN still hasn’t called Mass. for Obama; Mike in the comments says they’re waiting on a few college-student-heavy areas.

9:40 pm: Fox calls Kansas for Obama. Very good, though I’m really hoping he powers through in CT.

9:37 pm: MSNBC on the record—tie goes to Obama. Also, I’m shocked to see Pat Buchanan as another voice of reason, bringing up the delegate issue I was just complaining about. (I get results?) Obama “running up the score” in Illinois and Georgia could ultimately be more meaningful than close Clinton margins in NJ and MA, but they don’t make as impressive a rotating graphic.

9:32 pm: I should admit that the state-by-state calculus seems more important tonight than I assumed it would be. I don’t know where I got this idea, but I had thought (hoped?) the networks would be at least a little bit responsible about the way they talked about “winning” and “losing” states in a proportional race. Instead, they’re treating everything as if it were first-past-the-post. Extremely disappointing, but it’s really no surprise.

9:24 pm: Obama takes Alabama. Glad to see some good news.

Pundits, especially Howard Fineman, are still talking nonsense about the Kennedys on MSNBC, though Olberman is the voice of reason. Obama closed a huge gap in the last week, in large part because of Ted—specifically Olbermann points to the last Mass. poll before the Kennedy endorsement, which had Obama at 22%. Tonight it was a near-tie. Thank God for Olberman.

9:19 pm: Fox and MSNBC have called NJ for Clinton. Time to dial back hopes, Obama fans—barring a surprise finish in California we’re probably not looking at a superwin. He’s likely to be behind at the end of the night, though not devastatingly so.

Her margin looks fairly strong in New Jersey, but keep in mind they had early voting, and she was polling there very strongly until, basically, today.

9:05 pm: Chris Matthews spinning the hell out of the Clinton victory in Massachusetts as a big win over Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, as if she hadn’t been ahead in that state for months. This does not bode well. Ugh.

9:00 pm: Barack takes Delaware, Clinton takes her home state of New York. Come on, Jersey. Come on, CT.

8:57 pm: Spoke too soon: MSNBC projects that Hillary Clinton is the winner in MA. I’m getting that sinking feeling. The most recent polls had her winning by a good bit, so in that sense a close result is good news—but still, I would have liked the victory there.

8:55 pm: Still no call in NJ, CT, MA… That’s good news for Obama fans. New York closes in five minutes, which should be a pretty easy call for the networks.

8:39 pm: I’m watching MSNBC on the computer, and I must have missed this while buffering: both HuffPo and The Field say NBC has retracted the Oklahoma call. I didn’t hear them say it, and they apparently haven’t said it since, and it doesn’t make any sense to me, but this is what I’m seeing.

8:31 pm: Hillary and Huckabee take Arkansas, neither a surprising result.

8:29 pm: Generational war—Brokaw says Obama won every age group under 50.

8:26 pm: It certainly looks right now like Huckabee is making McCain the winner of the night on the Republican side; Romney can’t seem to get any traction with Huckabee sticking around. We may be looking at the Republican ticket, McCain/Huckabee…

8:20 pm: Clinton talking points for their Tennessee victory, called by MSNBC a minute or so ago. Give us some real news, TV—who won Jersey?

8:08 pm: Here’s some spin from the Obama camp about Georgia, I guess trying to influence the last few hours of voting in CA. Here’s some counterspin from Hillary.

8:00 pm: MSNBC picks the easy winners: IL for Obama and OK for Clinton, MA for Romney, and McCain in CT and NJ…

7:40 pm: NJ exit polls: Barack Obama leads Hillary Clinton in New Jersey by a 53%-47% margin, according to early exit polls conducted by Voter News Service.

7:34 pm: Polls closing at 8 pm EST: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee…

7:23 pm: MSNBC just quoted anonymous Obama campaignpersons, who earlier in the day speculated that he could win between 810-830, now saying that he could break 850, which would put him in the the Obama +1 supervictory range I spoke about earlier. (These staffers are either incredibly confident or incredibly stupid.) 1681 delegates are available tonight; will it wind up as simple as a race to 841?

7:20 pm: More exit info, from Halprin:

Blacks: Obama 81, Clinton 17
Whites: Clinton 50, Obama 44
Hispanics: Clinton 62, Obama 36
White women: Clinton 57, Obama 45
Young whites: Obama 64, Clinton 35

The Field opines:

Those numbers look vastly improved for Obama in various categories. He’s up 11 points among Hispanics since Nevada (I’ve repeated various times that 35 percent would be his magic number to put California within reach), and that’s his highest vote among white voters (from 36 in NH and 24 in SC to 44 today) while holding onto a 64-point lead among African-Americans. And he’s never been anywhere near that high up among white women in any state….

None of those numbers are good news for Clinton.

7:13 pm: Let’s throw a little cold water on this enthusiasm: CNN’s exits show undecideds splitting evenly between Clinton and Obama. I don’t see how you square that with the other exits, but that doesn’t mean CNN is wrong.

7:04 pm: A little more MSNBC tea-leaf reading—exits show that Obama got 43% of the white vote in Georgia, as well as 86% of the African-American vote. He also dominated the youth vote, and made big gains in the 40-65 demo as well. Even more interesting is the ABC gloss on the most important issue for Democratic voters in the nationwide exits: Bring needed change 52%; Best experience 23.

7:00 pm: MSNBC calls Georgia for Barack less than a second after the polls close. One for one!

6:56 pm: Well, this is it. I feel like we’ve been here before: deep investment with the candidate, positive exit polls…but hopefully things turn out the other way this time.

I plan to liveblog most of the night, so let’s get this started. Keep reloading, and if I miss anything, leave it in the comments. I’ve got MSNBC streaming over the Internet, and I’ll be constantly reloading my RSS feeds.

I’ve already blogged some basic thoughts on the race and what it means for either candidate to win here. I also made a few preliminary stabs at reading the tea leaves, here checking out the Clinton camp pre-results spin and here with the apparent exit polls.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 5, 2008 at 11:44 pm

The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die

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As Democrats we recognize that each generation of Americans has a rendezvous with a different reality. The answers of one generation become the questions of the next generation. But there is a guiding star in the American firmament. It is as old as the revolutionary belief that all people are created equal, and as clear as the contemporary condition of Liberty City and the South Bronx. Again and again Democratic leaders have followed that star and they have given new meaning to the old values of liberty and justice for all.

We are the party—We are the party of the New Freedom, the New Deal, and the New Frontier. We have always been the party of hope. So this year let us offer new hope, new hope to an America uncertain about the present, but unsurpassed in its potential for the future.

Ted Kennedy’s concession speech at the Democratic National Convention, 1980. Here’s YouTube. (Via.)

Written by gerrycanavan

January 27, 2008 at 4:59 pm

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In Honor of the Day

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When I was teaching composition I always showed my students the “I Have a Dream” speech on the day we talked about rhetoric. As a rule, I never got weepy in class, but watching this always threatened to bring me over the brink. (Another thing that can be trusted to bring me right to the edge: the end of “Sonny’s Blues.”)

Since I’ve been looking through the Observer archives this weekend, I may as well mention wrote a column about this in college, too. This one was picked up by a college newswire and reprinted in a few other papers—the only time that happened to me, as far as I know.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 21, 2008 at 6:03 am

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Primary Madness, Optimism, Pessimism, Bill O’Reilly, and the Audacity of Hope

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I’m going to try and watch the Democratic candidate debate tonight—I’ve avoided these things so far, because they’re almost always unwatchable, but there comes a time when you can no longer run—so if anything interesting happens I’ll be around to blog about it. In the meantime, though I have a few more primary links for those of you who aren’t totally sick of this topic yet:

* The new ARG poll, previously favorable to Clinton, now shows Obama clobbering her 38% to 26%.

* Inevitable “Worst Person in the World” Bill O’Reilly got accosted by the Secret Service today after making a scene at an Obama rally. If the party alignment were switched he probably would have been arrested, but for now I’m content just to see the guy continuing to make a complete ass out of himself.

* Pictures from an Obama rally this morning show the huge numbers of people who are turning out to see him speak. I believe this particular rally had over 2,500 people attend—they packed two gyms. Marc Ambinder, though apparently a Clinton supporter, has a nice post that recognizes the sheer magnitude of what is going on here, and what it means for the Clinton campaign going forward.

* This cartoon comparing the greatness of two Illinois politicians with limited “national experience” is very cute, but even it returns us inevitably to the current paroxysm of fear gripping many in both the African-American community and the progressive left, before and after Iowa, my endlessly pessimistic self included: What if the worst happens, again? I don’t fear violence after either an Obama victory or loss, as some on the right already claim to; all I fear is that at some point in the days and months and (hopefully) years ahead the country will once again be made to suffer its best and brightest hope being snatched away. I’ve felt this fear intensely since immediately following the news of Obama’s Iowa victory, and I suspect I’ll keep feeling it on some level or another until Jan. 20, 2017. I admire the hell out of the man just for risking that alone; talk about the audacity of hope.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 5, 2008 at 9:14 pm

The hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too

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Very good news from Iowa tonight for Obama supporters as Barack takes Iowa by a solid margin (at the moment it’s just about 7%). The turnout is the other huge story tonight—the Obama campaign is claiming over 200,000 people turned out, which if true is approximately twice the participation in 2004.

That the Republicans decided to go with Hucklebee is just the icing on the cake.

I already spoke a little bit today about the reasons why I support Obama, reasons I find echoed in this piece Bill Simmon sent me from the Carpetbagger Report.

So in honor of this historic occasion, let’s just skip all that and go back in time instead to the moment that started it all:

The site is long gone now, but I just checked my personal archives for the post I wrote on Three Guys after the speech in 2004. Here’s what I had to say back then:


That man really is going to be president.

But as usual it’s my good friend Shankar D who’s worth listening to:

Obama gave a simply great speech that will, I believe, be remembered for a very long time. Like Clinton, he evoked a belief in the essential unity of the American people, but with much more powerful rhetoric and moving imagery. It was a much-needed clarion call at a time when ideologues on both sides of the aisle seem to relish and cherish the cultural boundaries that separate us from each other. A call that had no more fitting author than a man whose very existence bridges that gap.

But for progressives, it should be remembered for more than that. In those powerful final paragraphs, Obama premised his call for unity on the fundamentally liberal ideals of brotherhood and compassion.

For alongside our famous individualism, there’s another ingredient in the American saga. A belief that we are connected as one people. If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandmother. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It’s that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper — that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.

Martin Luther King Jr. is smiling from above, I suspect, at this young black man giving life to the abstract notion that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

By weaving this old-fashioned liberalism together with an embrace of the principles and people of “the other side” – individualism, a pragmatic view of government’s role, and an embrace of our Red State brethren – Obama fused the promise of the left with the promise of America.

The drunken reverie of the moment will undoubtedly wear off. But tonight, I feel a renewed sense of hope about the possibility of a New Liberalism that accounts for the poor, the isolated, and the marginalized in a way that brings us together, rather than pushes us apart. Idealism will always have to confront the reality of politics and life itself, but great leadership is its surest steward. And if nothing else, I am hopeful tonight about the future leadership of this country. Such is, I suppose, the audacity of hope.