January 29, 2008

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 of Clinton of OBAMA by several white guys including current and former senators such as John Kerry, Tom Daschle, and Bill Bradley and then contrasted that with the fact that a slim majority of the Black Caucus also supports Clinton over Obama, asking Kennedy what that meant.

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.

... 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.
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.
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.

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.
Any thoughts on the Kennedy endorsements or Bush's LAST State of the Union?


At 1/29/2008 8:14 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Didn't Kerry endorse Obama?

At 1/29/2008 9:25 AM, Anonymous the final countdown said...

Umm... Daschle, Bradley, and Kerry have endorsed Obama, not Clinton. Daschle is actually the co-chair of his campaign.

The Black Caucus being split does not surprise me. As has been discussed countless times, the Clintons have had excellent relations with the black community. I think it's history versus a fresh face in that respect and less to do with race.

That being said, the support of the Kennedys is huge. I don't imagine that there is a bigger endorsement out there.

At 1/29/2008 5:46 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

The State of the Union Speech need not be a televised event. And in some cases, like last night, that would be best. All the Constitution requires is that the president prepares a report and sends it to congress. In the old days, a messenger did it. No fanfare. When there are no bold policy initiatives or if the president is not especially a good speaker, like Bush- what's the point? I also think of the time when Clinton addressed congress for State of the Union in 1998 at the same time they were impeaching him. It was very awkward. So there are times when "less is more". The Constitution is great in it's simplicity.

Regarding the endorsement by Kennedy. Yes, it is real boost for Obama. It helps him with the "traditional" party constituency. Anytime that a novice such as Obama gets a boost from such a consummate insider like Teddy Kennedy, it is significant.
I think of the "spirit" of young people: If Mary Jo Kopechne had lived to see her 30th birthday, maybe she would have been an "Obama Girl" too.

At 1/30/2008 3:05 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

QCI, Final Countdown, and the others that wrote to point out my mistake, my appolgies.

You're right, of course, all the people mentioned in the post endorsed Obama, not Clinton. The post has been corrected.

Didn't realize my mistake until you caught it. Thanks for that and sorry to have made it in the first place. I simply messed up.

Smiley was talking about establishment white guys making endorsements in general, and I somehow got it in my head that they'd endorsed Clinton, even though I knew better. Sorry about that.

At 2/02/2008 1:56 PM, Anonymous sueshedap:puhleeze said...

nicodemus said... I think of the "spirit" of young people: If Mary Jo Kopechne had lived to see her 30th birthday, maybe she would have been an "Obama Girl" too.

Really really a cheap shot....yep, the Kennedy's were philandering pandering rich white boys, but at least their mother tried to instill a sense of appreciation and responsiblity towards the country that enriched them so.....yes I know old Joe was a crook yadda yadda yadda...all been hashed over endlessly....will you guys ever give it a rest...let's add up the "spirits" of young lives squandered in the RECENT past, with no end in sight!
I witnessed the inspiration Pres. John Kennedy brought to Americans first hand; especially illustrated AFTER his assasination. I also remember waking up to see my mother in tears and horror after being up all night watching Bobby Kennedy heading towards the presidency and then seeing him killed.
Fallible human beings seem to grow stronger and better with this energy of hope from the people so inspired. We'll see.

At 2/02/2008 4:49 PM, Anonymous sueshedap:puhleeze said...

Oh ya about Bush's LAST State of the Union.....what a white-wash job...snotty mention of sending money back from tax rebates (?) He'll take checks or money orders- HA HA. Very funny. Thanks for the chicken bones. Think they'll send out complimentary "boot-straps" ? Better than a sharp stick in the eye! eh? What the hell has he been doing for 7 & 1/2 years???? Oh ya....war, red-ink and obstinate obfuscation.

At 2/03/2008 5:29 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

JFK was a great man. And his chief accomplishments were TAX CUTS and fighting the cold war by increasing our NATIONAL DEFENSE and closing the missile gap with the Soviets. If JFK were a candidate today, the Democrats would boo him off the stage and probably treat him about like they did Joe Lieberman. If JFK were alive today he would be embarrassed of how flakey the the Democrats have become- including that drunken buffoon of a brother of his, Teddy. And I think any mention of Mary Jo Kopechne is fair game.

At 2/04/2008 10:27 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nico, of course you're aware (probably not) that Kennedy's tax cuts were but a tiny fraction of Bush's enormous giveaways to the very wealthy.

And no, he wouldn't be condemned by Dems. He wouldn't be out waving the banner for more senseless war in Iraq like Smokin' Joe, nor would he have ever been so ridiculous as to endorse a Republican candidate for president in this day and age.

Nice try. Well, really, it was pretty lame.

At 2/05/2008 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What better way for Obama to be the choice of "change" and get rid of "old Washington" than to accept the endorsement from a Senator who has been in the same seat since 1962.............

At 2/05/2008 12:14 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

You're so right anon 8:52

Your logic is air tight.

Obviously, Obama should only accept support from those who've been in political office for a year or less or else he's clearly doesn't advocate "change".

Good lord. Where do these people come from?


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