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Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention « Previous | |Next »
August 30, 2008

Obama's acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention was considered to be a powerful one. It was also judged to counter the Republican attacks that Obama is a remote, effete intellectual who doesn't have the wherewithal for bloody political combat. Or that he is no more than a "celebrity", an appeasing, borderline un-American liberal extremist.

Obamarhetoric.jpg Steve Bell

Obama is an orator in the classical, rhetorical tradition with a record of making some great speechescharacterized by spellbinding oration. See the text and video of Obama's speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. This is at a time where sound bites and carefully staged imagery are deemed to be the core of political life.

Simon Schama, a professor of history and art history at Columbia University, New York, says in The Guardian, that:

Obama is uniquely qualified to braid together the two great strands of national rhetoric. On the one hand, that of black redemption: saturated with scriptural passion; the eloquence of Martin Luther King (whom in a wonderful conceit Obama simply called "the Preacher"); the language that altered what Lyndon Johnson believed and did. And on the other, the rhetoric of American classicism: Lincoln's, Franklin Roosevelt's and Jack Kennedy's. From these distinct threads he is hoping to make a new American fabric of speech.

Is there a politician of the modern era whose mastery of the seemingly old-fashioned art of political speechmaking is as good as Obama's?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:54 PM | | Comments (1)
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Gary,
an analysis of Obama's rhetoric in Slate.