Capitulate, Chait! Succumb, Drum! Obama's rhetoric is a force for change | xpostfactoid:
by Andrew Sprung
[Kevin Drum and Jonathan Chait] (t)wo of the admirers of Obama I'm most attuned to claim a tough-minded immunity to the alleged intoxications of the president's rhetoric. Jonathan Chait, in a truly moving and incisive tribute to Obama's radical pragmatism, protests at the outset, "I never felt his election would change everything about American politics or government...Nothing Obama did or said ever made me well up with tears."
Kevin Drum goes him one better:I simply never took seriously any of Obama's high-flown rhetoric—Hope and change, Yes we can! You are the solution, etc.—dismissing it as nothing more than typical campaign windiness.
To which I must respond: Gentlemen! Tune in, turn on, don't cop out. Listen to what the man has been saying these five-plus years.
Rhetoric got Obama to the Rose Garden, but he never promised us one. He never suggested that change would be magical or easy or swift. "We are the ones we've been waiting for" was a call to action; "yes we can" was a girding for long, hard slogging; both express the credo of a community organizer. Throughout that endless campaign and his heady first few months in office, Obama did not promise utopia. He proposedclick through HERE to the rest of an excellent analysis of Obama's rhetoric and its persuasive power
a) to turn the battleship of state a few degrees in the right direction;
b) to reset the country on a historical course from which it had strayed, either since Bush or since Reagan: toward a renewed commitment to shared prosperity and investment in the common good; and
c) by means of that reset, to continue the country's never-to-be-finished progress toward a more perfect union; that is, echoing Martin Luther King,
d) toward fulfillment of the promises embedded in its founding documents.
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