Obama's Iowa victory and the sudden opportunity of the Dem party (bloggers included!) to make and shape history has led to unfortunate but predictable results. This was flagged by
Andrew Stuttaford of The Corner, who excerpts this euphoric analysis of The Obama Effect as penned and experienced by Ezra Klein:
Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair...
A comedy classic? Of course. But Mr. Stuttaford may have omitted the highlight, namely, the lead:
I've been blessed to hear many great orations. I was in the audience when Howard Dean gave his famous address challenging the Democratic Party to rediscover courage and return to principle.
Ahh, the Dean speech! They'll be talking about that whenever people gather and discover that not even Britney's latest gurney ride can hold their attention. Now, if someone could help me out with a link to that speech, or even a date or venue, that would be lovely. Lacking that, I will have to suspend judgment as to whether Dean offered a timeless classic or simply preached fervently to Mr. Klein's choir.
But let's take a moment to applaud Obama's vast improvement in speaking skill - was it only yesterday that Mr. Klein told us that Obama's closing speech in Iowa was "actually pretty good"? Nooo, it was back on New Year's Day. And now he is elevating! (I have video.)
Well. I guess we have anecdotal evidence to confirm this new threat, anyway. And Jonah Goldberg is right about this - If Barack Hussein Il Jong Obama is nominated and goes on to defeat at the hands of some oppressive Republican or other, a certain predictable segment of the commentariat will explain to the rest of us that it is because America is a racist, undeserving country that will forever be on the wrong side of history. Can I groan now, or should I wait?
Or this may all reverse in a day or two - as ccaroll at the Heritage Blog noted, Obama's win is not a win for the Nutroots.
REALLY UNFAIR: Jon Henke reminds us that Mr. Klein is not exactly a tough critic - here is he on Kerry's 2004 "Reporting for Duty" speech:
Stunning. He did it. I didn't think he could, not after Obama and Clinton and Edwards and Cleland. But he did it. He gave the perfect speech for this moment, for this race, for this crowd. He couldn't rely on his charisma and so he instead told the country where it needed to go. He couldn't do flash so he did substance...and he did it. There's nothing I can say beyond that...I'm sorry...I just don't have the words for it. I'm inspired. I'd forgot what this felt like.
Well I'm sorry, too, but I just can't laugh any harder.
P.S. - I would have guessed that the great dean speech was from the '04 Dem convention, which had Mr. Klein in attendance. Yet his recitation of orations from the convention omits that one.
IT TAKES A GREENWALD: Glenn Greenwald presents the notion that Jonah Goldberg and Glenn Reynolds were fretting that American blacks would become unhinged in the event of an Obama defeat. I have no idea whether he or others believe his own BS, but let me just say that it was perfectly plain to me, and to Bill Quick, that the topic of discussion was the Nutroots, parts of the media, and the Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferers (yes, those groups overlap extensively.)
As "evidence" Greenwald pointed to this old Reynolds post where blacks get mentioned late in a second update. Some context:
This underscores a problem for Hillary -- if she beats Obama, but in a way that Obama supporters think is dirty, via smears or excessive reliance on "superdelegate" votes -- they may not turn out in November.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Juan Paxety emails:
An interesting post on potential dissatisfied Obama voters if Hillary wins. But what will the reaction be when the Obama voters realize that Florida and Michigan, two states with substantial minority populations that might be prone to support Obama, will not be allowed to have delegates at the Democratic Convention?
This is not the first time the Democrats have pulled a similar stunt. In 1968, before the street demonstrations, the Democrats packed the convention balconies with "observers" then took a voice vote on whether to seat the legal delegations from several Southern states. The "observers" could clearly be seen shouting votes to remove the delegates. The Georgia delegation was replaced by one led by Julian Bond, of all people. Georgians fled the Democratic Party in droves and didn't support another Democrat for President until Jimmy Carter ran in 1976.
Will the Obama supporters similarly abandon Hillary in the fall?
Yes, this is an issue. If Hillary beats Obama soundly in the early primaries that's one thing. If it's close, and it looks like she's won by smears, or by clever insider manipulation, then she may lose not only Obama supporters, but black voters who are generally supportive of the Clintons.
Glenn quite sensibly distinguished between "Obama supporters" and "black voters", since polls indicate the two groups don't strongly overlap. Too subtle for Greenwald.
Daring to Believe, Blacks Savor Obama Victory
For Mike Duncan in Maryland, it was a sign that Americans were moving beyond rigid thinking about race.
For Milton Washington in Harlem, it looked like the beginning of something he never thought that he would see. “It was like, ‘Oh, my God, we’re on the cusp of something big about to happen,’ ” Mr. Washington said.
How Mr. Obama’s early triumph will play out in the presidential contest remains to be seen, and his support among blacks is hardly monolithic.
But in dozens of interviews on Friday from suburbs of Houston to towns outside Chicago and rural byways near Birmingham, Ala., African-Americans voiced pride and amazement over his victory on Thursday and the message it sent, even if they were not planning to vote for him or were skeptical that he could win in November.
Gee, did Goldberg say something about "the media invest[ing] as heavily in him as I think we all know they will". Check.