Wednesday 5 November 2008

Bipartisan Obama's Nixon moment!

Inclusion was the central theme of Barack Obama's moving acceptance speech.

As well several Kennedyesque cadences, there was more than a nod to the idea of Obama wanting to be a liberal Reagan, redefining patriotism with his own message of 'morning again in America'.

And he went out of his way to be bipartisan - though the Republicans will remember they are party of Lincoln remains to be seen.

But, to lower the tone slightly, I wonder if he intended the allusion to Richard Nixon: when he promised his daughters they could take a puppy to the White House, it reminded me of (in very different circumstances) the famously slippery Checkers speech.

One other thing I probably should tell you because if we don't they'll probably be saying this about me too, we did get something-a gift-after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was.

It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he'd sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl-Tricia, the 6-year old-named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it.

I imagine Barack Obama will be buying the puppy for his daughters himself!


Calix said...

I wonder what the dog will be called?

The naming of the dog could be one of the first symbolic acts before taking office.

The name could be full of American patriotism like Gerald Ford's unfortunate dog Liberty.

Or it could be simple in the extreme like Lyndon Johnson who called his two beagles Him and Her. At least that helps if the presidential memory starts to go.

The Obama dog might be the first of a wierd farm-yard of animals like that of Theodore Roosevelt who had a pig, a badger, rat and a one-legged rooster.

On a more serious note, Obama's victory is an extraordinary and great achievement in itself but more importantly could transform world politics. However, Obama has a tough ride ahead in fulfilling expectations.

Tim Gore said...

i thought it was one of his best speeches yet - packed with references to everyone from Kennedy (ask not what your country can do for you), to King (we will get to the promised land), via Lincoln, Reagon and even Nixon, as Sunder points out...

he demonstrates a powerful generational consciousness, the ability to join the dots between his country's social and political history, and to see his own forthcoming presidency's place in that context. to me that is simultaneously both humble and magnificent.

and it is the power of his eloquence that will be his most powerful weapon on the global stage over the next four years. don't tell him words don't matter when he has to find a response to the first crisis to hit his term in office. i have faith that obama will find the words we need to respond not only to underhand or negative electoral campaign tactics, as he proved over the past months, but to terrorist atrocity, economic depression or natural disaster.

there'll be no more sloppy words in this white house. gone are the downright dangerous days of the 'war on terror', 'axis of evil' and 'old europe'.

a new linguistic age in world politics has dawned. welcome to the new presidential discourse.