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Obama Speech: Reactions From Around the Web

Matthew Yglesias: "I'd say things are back on track. The Wright business had opened up a vague sliver of hope for Hillary Clinton's campaign — if they could produce a result in Pennsylvania that looked like a Wright-induced collapse in … Read More

By / March 18, 2008

Matthew Yglesias: "I'd say things are back on track. The Wright business had opened up a vague sliver of hope for Hillary Clinton's campaign — if they could produce a result in Pennsylvania that looked like a Wright-induced collapse in Obama's white support, maybe they could convince superdelegates that he's unelectable. After this speech, I don't see it happening."

Andrew Sullivan: "[T]his searing, nuanced, gut-wrenching, loyal, and deeply, deeply Christian speech is the most honest speech on race in America in my adult lifetime. It is a speech we have all been waiting for for a generation. Its ability to embrace both the legitimate fears and resentments of whites and the understandable anger and dashed hopes of many blacks was, in my view, unique in recent American history."

Sally Quinn: "This was the most important speech on race in America since the 'I have a dream' speech. [On MSNBC, from my notes--ed.]"

John Derbyshire: "Pah! It's just the old leftist shtick…Blame whitey, and raise high the red flag of socialism. This is a serious candidate for the Presidency? Toast, toast."

Stephen Schwartz: "My first and last thoughts about Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright are the same now as they were months ago: it is absurd, disturbing, and somewhat repellent to realize how long this went unexamined by media, how arrogantly Obama thought it could be avoided, how despicable Wright is, etc. etc. Does this insanity really require analysis? Obama should withdraw from the presidential race and should consider resigning from office. Nobody associated with a pseudo-religious race-baiting, Jew-baiting, America-hating nut like Jeremiah Wright has any business representing anybody in the U.S. but himself. A friend in Kosova recently pointed something out about Obama: he appropriates the legacy of Dr. King, but Dr. King never ran for any political office and would have nothing to do with the likes of Jeremiah Wright."

James Fallows: "This was as good a job as anyone could have done in these circumstances, and as impressive and intelligent a speech as I have heard in a very long time. People thought that Mitt Romney's speech would be the counterpart to John Kennedy's famous speech about his faith to the Houston ministers in 1960. No. This was."

John McWhorter: "Those who have found Obama's statements of dissociation from his pastor Jeremiah Wright's statements a tad studious must now be satisfied…For a light-skinned half-white Ivy League-educated black man to repudiate, in clear language and repeatedly, the take on race of people like Julian Bond and Nikki Giovanni is not only honest but truly bold…As of this morning's speech, any notions of the Obamas as having sat in their living room on 9/11 cheering as the Twin Towers fell is indefensible, and should be dismissed as recreational blather of no more weight than Jeremiah Wright's."

Charles Murray: "I read the various posts here on "The Corner," mostly pretty ho-hum or critical about Obama's speech. Then I figured I'd better read the text (I tried to find a video of it, but couldn't). I've just finished. Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I'm concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we're used to from our pols…. But you know me. Starry-eyed Obama groupie."

Jesse Walker on Charles Murray: "I suppose it's only a matter of time before some Clinton surrogate pulls out The Bell Curve and demands that Obama distance himself from Murray."

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