I’ve come to the conclusion that talking about Obama and Clinton is akin to debating religion and, sadly, there’s no sign of Kirk Cameron and his Croc-a-duck (if you don’t get that reference, go to Youtube and search for it — it’s well worth it).
I won’t deny that a large part of Obama’s appeal comes from his speeches. I’m happy to say that I had only heard his 2004 DNC speech before I bought his second book, so at the very least I had the written word to go on before I completely fell under Obama’s oratorical spell.
And that’s exactly the issue at hand, that his speeches are spells. For a seemingly growing number of people, when Obama speaks they are transported to a place of unending possibility and boundless hope. The right wing media often compares Obama rallies to old school revivals and, as questionable as I might find that it, the similarities are there. This is exactly why a division exists been many Obama supporters and Clinton supporters. Obama supporters are stunned that anyone could hear their candidate speak and not fall under his spell. Clinton supporters are stunned that so many people are being bedazzled.
It’s strange, really, to be on the ensorcelled side. As surely as every devout Christian I’ve ever met has been baffled by my staunch refusal that the Bible is the word of god, I find myself stunned that anyone could listen to Obama speak and not want the future he’s talking about. At the very least, I’m stunned that they wouldn’t want to try for it.
But I understand the other side as well. I understand the skeptism towards such unbridled enthusiasm particularly given what’s at stake. The problem, of course, is that there’s no trial run. There’s no test we can give either Obama or Hillary in advance to determine how they’d do on the big stage. There’s no practice SAT for president. So in the end it’s an educated guess.
What I’ve found particularly funny in recent weeks is the “speeches don’t solve problems” movement. I can’t be the only one who sees the problem with saying “speeches don’t solve problems” in a speech. Even better, Obama then responds with a speech of his own. And while there’s no argument that speeches obviously don’t solve problems, it’s pretty clear that they can cause them, particularly for the Clinton campaign.
Speaking of which, if I hear the phrase “ready on day one” again I might shoot someone. Then again, I might be overly sensitive; I have been drinking a lot of the Kool-Aid.