Skip to main content

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.
Fred Harrison 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:
Fred Harrison said…
Sorry. Trying that URL once again:
Fred Harrison said…
Weird. Well, just add the letters tml to the end.
Anonymous 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.
Anonymous 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.

Popular posts from this blog

Post Truth and Justice

The past decade has seen the rise of so-called "post truth" politics.  Instead of mere misrepresentation of facts to serve an argument, political figures began to put forward arguments which denied easily provable facts, and then blustered and browbeat those who pointed out the lie.  The political class was able to get away with "post truth" positions because the infrastructure that reported their activity has been suborned directly into the process. In short, the media abandoned long-cherished traditions of objectivity and began a slow slide into undeclared bias and partisanship.  The "fourth estate" was always a key piece of how democratic societies worked, since the press, and later the broadcast media could shape opinion by the way they reported on the political process. As a result there has never been a golden age of objective media, but nevertheless individual reporters acquired better or worse reputations for the quality of their reporting and

We need to talk about UK corruption

After a long hiatus, mostly to do with indolence and partly to do with the general election campaign, I feel compelled to take up the metaphorical pen and make a few comments on where I see the situation of the UK in the aftermath of the "Brexit election". OK, so we lost.  We can blame many reasons, though fundamentally the Conservatives refused to make the mistakes of 2017 and Labour and especially the Liberal Democrats made every mistake that could be made.  Indeed the biggest mistake of all was allowing Johnson to hold the election at all, when another six months would probably have eaten the Conservative Party alive.  It was Jo Swinson's first, but perhaps most critical, mistake to make, and from it came all the others.  The flow of defectors and money persuaded the Liberal Democrat bunker that an election could only be better for the Lib Dems, and as far as votes were concerned, the party did indeed increase its vote by 1.3 million.   BUT, and it really is the bi

Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds.  That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet.  As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made . The program is overseen by Dido Harding , who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no notewo