You have to be Barack Obama
As all of you know, today a good chunk, and the most meaningful, of the Kennedy family gave their endorsements to Barack Obama.
Most stirring and powerful of all was the endorsement of Caroline Kennedy, the only surviving member of John Kennedy's immediate family, who has distinguished herself in the past by studiously avoiding politics and public pronouncements.
Caroline Kennedy's said she'd waited a long time for a candidate that inspires people the way she's been told her father inspired others, and that that candidate had arrived in the form of Barack Obama.
It's hard to imagine anything that could elevate the already phenomenal inspirational power of the Obama candidacy, yet this "passing of the torch" from JFK to Obama added an almost spiritual aspect to the campaign for those who lived through or are cognizant of the spirit of youthful hope and achievement the Kennedy administration represents. It appealed to both the ideological energy and spirit of youth, and the desire of a return to better days for those much older.
Teddy Kennedy's speech brought the parallels to the Kennedy era even closer, as he drew comparisons between his brother and Obama and managed to note that Obama would be ready to be president "on day one", a pointed jab at a Clinton catch phrase.
As hard as it must be to follow such emotionally stirring rhetoric, Obama pulled it off, building on the previous highpoint of his South Carolina speech and delivering perhaps his most stirring and evocative speech yet, hitting themes of hope and a break from the negativity of the past, replete with several pointed swipes at the Clintons smoothly integrated within a stirring message of shared responsibility. The message was so powerful and well delivered that it moved many to tears and perhaps even more moving, led to the sight of normally rabid conservatives sitting awestruck and obviously moved.
The only tiny concern I had with this recent tsunami of excitement and momentum for Obama was the nagging question of timing, is this peaking too soon? I guess the powers that be in the Obama campaign concluded that the time to try to fire the big guns and break away from Clinton was ripe, following on the heels of a convincing win in South Carolina and just preceding the February 5th Super-duper Tuesday primaries.
The Smirking Chimp had the honor of following this love fest with his lackluster, out-to-lunch, and blessedly last SOTU speech, a speech which was openly laughed at by pundits afterwards. I really felt sorry for him. (NOT!) After Ted Kennedy's endorsement but prior to Bush's goofy speech, Kennedy was interviewed by Tavis Smiley.
Smiley brought up the recent flurry of endorsements
Kennedy averred that people have friendships and form connections, and that's fine, then went on to say...
I have a high regard and a personal friendship with Senator Clinton and President Clinton and I've supported them in the past, but I think what we are looking for now is the inspirational figure, aren't we.Kennedy then struck on the key to Obamas ability to connect with the public, and why he's such a desperately welcome contrast to the 8 dark years just past.
... we want to elect the person who can get the job done. And to get the job done you have to bring people together, and to bring people together you have to be Barack Obama.
You know when I went to an event just after the creation of the Peace Corps and I asked the young volunteers why they volunteered they said it's the first time anyone had asked us to do something for the country.Any thoughts on the Kennedy endorsements or Bush's LAST State of the Union?
Barack Obama is asking these young people to do something for the country. He's building from the bottom up, not from the top down, and Barack Obama is that inspirational leader for our time.