Obama: “This is Not Who We Are”

Audio: Rufus Wainwright

Today, Andrew Sullivan wrote on his Daily Dish blog at Atlantic Magazine:

“I went to see Obama last night.  He had a fundraiser at H20, a yuppie disco/restaurant in Southwest DC.  I was curious about how he is in person.  I’m still absorbing the many impressions I got.  But one thing stays in my head.  This guy is a liberal.  Make no mistake about that.  He may, in fact, be the most effective liberal advocate I’ve heard in my lifetime.  As a conservative, I think he could be absolutely lethal to what’s left of the tradition of individualism, self-reliance, and small government that I find myself quixotically attached to.  And as a simple observer, I really don’t see what’s stopping him from becoming the next president.  The overwhelming first impression that you get – from the exhausted but vibrant stump speech, the diverse nature of the crowd, the swell of the various applause lines – is that this is the candidate for real change.  He has what Reagan had in 1980 and Clinton had in 1992: the wind at his back.  Sometimes, elections really do come down to a simple choice: change or more of the same?….

At a couple of points in his speech, he used the phrase: “This is not who we are.”  I was struck by the power of those words.  He was reasserting that America is much more than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and Katrina and fear and obstinacy and isolation.  And so he makes an argument for change in the language of restoration.  The temperamental conservatives in America hear a form of patriotism; and the ideological liberals hear a note of radicalism.  It’s a powerful, unifying theme.

My favorite moment was a very simple one.  He referred to the anniversary of the March on Selma, how he went and how he came back and someone (I don’t remember who now) said to him:

That was a great celebration of African-American history.”

To which Obama said he replied:

No, no, no, no, no.  That was not a great celebration of African-American history. That was a celebration of American history.”


There’s a reason for his wide appeal.  The over-whelming question for me at this point in this historic campaign is a simple one: who will stop him?”

To read more of this article, please go here: Andrew Sullivan

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