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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 09:45 PM
Original message
Obama's oratory won the day
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 09:51 PM by depakid
IF BARACK OBAMA was, as his critics suggested, off his game last Tuesday, with a more sedate inauguration address, then legions of politicians must surely be hoping they could be so lucky.

"Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter," Obama declaimed. "And with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."

If only we could all be that bad.


"The key thing is that he writes most of his own speeches and they don't come from some slick public relations machine."

Spencer-Smith, a novelist and former editor of Reader's Digest, has identified at least five key factors in Obama's success.

* Clarity: the use of simple, straightforward language, short words and sentences that all readers and listeners can understand. So in the 2004 speech to the Democratic convention that launched his career, he defined "the true genius of America" as "a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles. That we can tuck our children up at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door."

* Tone: Obama was able to overcome what many feared was a political negative - his race - and create in his speeches a momentum, a sense that his election was an inevitable end to a journey that began with the emancipation of the slaves. He also had an appealing self-mockery, referring to himself as the "skinny kid with the funny name".

* Nuance: He was able to explain the subtleties of politics, particularly race, and point out that while segregation had compounded America's original sin, slavery, the nation had progressed.

* Poetry: Dreams From My Father employs metaphors, describing the way his childhood stories about his African ancestry were told then "packed away".

* Rhythm: Obama used repetition effectively and developed a simple refrain - "yes, we can".


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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
1. He is a very gifted speaker, and that does not mean he has to
always do the incredibly moving and charismatic spiel. Greatness can be achieved thru intelligent understatement and quiet, but strong words. I believe that President Obama is the master of both options.
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Tarheel_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:30 PM
Response to Original message
2. I must admit I wasn't swept away by the speech on Tuesday, but having
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 10:31 PM by Tarheel_Dem
rewatched it several times now, I am absolutely blown away. I think it was peppered with just enough optimism so as not to drag us all down, but there were some very basic truths about the foreseeable future. I think maybe we were all expecting something like the 2004 keynote address, and on reflection, that may have been out of place in the current environment.

I think in time, this speech will come to be seen as the historic masterpiece it truly is.

:edited for spelling
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:31 PM
Response to Original message
3. His worst speech will be far better than Smirk's best
and nothing Big Media can do will change that fact, or The World's perception of it
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VPStoltz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:37 PM
Response to Original message
4. I thought a refrain he could have picked up on was...
YES, WE WILL! It would have tied in perfectly with the "yes" theme, not to mention the rhythm of the riff, of his campaign.
Yes, we will American! Now say it with me! YES, WE WILL!
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4lbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 02:50 AM
Response to Original message
5. When JFK delivered his "ask not what..." and FDR his "the only thing we have to fear..." during
their respective inaugurations, people at first didn't think they were that much either.

It wasn't until about a decade later, upon reflection, that people began realizing the genius oratory contained in those speeches.

Those who think it was just "alright", by Obama's lofty standards, will likely come around and realize just how great it was, about 8 or 10 years from now.
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EraOfResponsibility Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Exactly, thank you
believe you me, Obama's speech is chock full of quotables
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 01:19 PM
Response to Original message
7. I thought his speech telling us to get up and quit whining and quit buying
cheap shit was perfect. Neither way is gonna get us out of this mess.

First things first. Let Wall Street go under. That would truly level the playing field, we'd ALL be broke.
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DrZeeLit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 03:21 PM
Response to Original message
8. Read Frank Rich in Sunday 1/25 NYT. His analysis is SPOT ON.
Rich explains the speech and why we needed exactly that speech at this moment.
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