Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Philadelphia Speech

The Philadelphia Speech. That is what they will call it.

"Where were you, when you heard about the Philadelphia speech?"

"Were you in Philadelphia, when Barack Obama made the speech?"

Honest, dignified and hopeful, it puts the finger on the most painful and complicated issue in the American political reality.

More to the point it demonstrates a connection and an intelligence that moves me profoundly.

As the shattered failure of the Bush Presidency twitches to its ignominious conclusion, the hope that Senator Obama offers reminds me increasingly of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Roosevelt is derided in the post Reagan era and yet at the time he was enormously popular- and despite the failures of Yalta, he remains one of the most important figures in the twentieth century.

FDRs oratory- "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself", "the great arsenal of democracy", "Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.", "If you treat people right they will treat you right... ninety percent of the time."- gave hope at a difficult time.

Can Barack Obama match this example?

The Philadelphia speech is a sign of hope.


Tristan said...

Unfortunately, FDR was no liberal...
He brought in great collectivist measures, and almost fascist policies like the NIRA (essentially a merging of big business and government - thankfully overturned by the Supreme Court).

I think it is right to criticise FDR very roundly for much of his doings. A great politician, but he followed many anti-liberal policies which arguably worsened the situation at the time.

I do thank him for his help in defeating the Nazis, even if it was

Newmania said...

"the only thing we have to fear is beer itself",

A Beerbecue I once attended in Canada.

Anonymous said...

Oh Cicero, you of grand speeches yourself once in history, you should know that talk sans substance makes little more than rhetoric/propaganda/delusion.

Obama is inspirational, but he has no substance. Sure, surround yourself with advisors (just like Bush). And looking at his choices of Renzi, the Reverend Jeremiah and others in his camp, his personal judgement is just great, innit?

Obama will be as bad as Bush, and if he fails, he'll set back race relations in the US by a generation as the black community becomes even more jaded having their hopes dashed by Obama's hidden incompetency.

America will have a black president one day soon, and better a David Paterson or Harold Ford than BHO.

fh said...

For anyone who has delivered or written speeches for a living, the Obama speech was a post-graduate course. Believe me -- it's a view shared right across the political spectrum, ideology regardless.

Take a look at today's WS Journal, where Peggy Noonan, Reagan's speechwriter and most unlikely to be an Obama supporter, gives credit where it's due:

fh said...

Sorry. Trying that URL once again:

fh said...

Weird. Well, just add the letters tml to the end.

a very public sociologist said...

A good turn of phrase does not a great politician make. Though Obama is preferable to Bush and McCain, don't expect miracles. In fact, Obama supporters better be ready to be disillusioned. He offers nothing other than business as usual.

Newmania said...

You given up CS I was hoping to twit you on the assumption throughout the press that a Brown minority would be propped up by the Liberals.

So much for your tax posturing. As I have always told you the Liberals Party is not for you and you are not alone. I see a few Liberals around the blogasphere who talk like trendy Conservatives but belong to a Party who will support Brown and therfore are Brown.

Why will these people not simply do the obvious thing and join the Conservative Party ?

Cicero said...

Because the Conservatives believe in socially conservative and often highly illiberal policies, it would be impossible to join them. I am no more Brown than you are, since he too represents a school of politics which is wholly mistaken.

Your question asking why not join the Tories is as silly as asking why we do not join Labour. We are no more Brown than the Blues are.

As I repeatedly point out- we stand for an old and strong tradition of Liberalism- not the pragmatism of Cameron or the Mistaken dogma of Brown, but a coherrent ideology based upon the liberal philosophy of personal freedom.

mcintosh said...

Obama makes some grand statements but skips deftly over the issue of Palestine. By not acknowledging the complexity of this issue he not only fails to apply his philosophy of freedom to other nations, a hypocritical ommission in itself, but also perpetuates America's simplistic and idealistic view of itself and its place in the world. For all the erudition he remains a conservative in sheeps clothing.