Obama rocks the house in Charlotte
“He just blew Clinton right off of the podium,” said former Republican Mary Clogginstein of Brattleboro, Vermont.
After a week of amazing, awesome, and completely brilliant speeches, the speech to top was former President Bill Clinton’s on Wednesday night. The speech, in the words of Slate’s John Dickerson, was “a touch act for Obama to follow”.
For the last five minutes of the speech, everyone in the auditorium stood to let his words fall on their faces. Clinton seemed to delight in the whole event, luxuriating in the speech like it was a vast terrycloth robe.
As of Thursday night, Clinton has passed the torch to Obama as the blackest president ever to speechify in the house. The grand symphony of words evoked optimism without cluelessness. If the crowd last night was a living, breathing, organism, tonight it was a haloed chorus of angels radiant at the altar of America’s savior. As commentator Chris Matthews wrote, “I felt the light of heaven radiating down my legs listening to it. It was a double rainbow of speechification. Oooh.”
President Obama cut the speech deficit in half in one fell swoon. One crowd, one hall, one speech, one swoon.
And that was just from the press corps. Out in real undecided America, the President’s radiant speech lit up the people he’ll need to win the election. Former Republican and housewife from Vermont, Mary Clogginstein, said that President Obama “just blew Clinton right off the podium. This speech has swayed all of the moderates and undecideds I know; they now believe in Obama again like they did in 2008.”
We heard the same in surveys across the political spectrum, from D+3 to D+9, that the President’s likability gap has been bridged, the railroads of our own failures to understand his magnificence have been reforged. The President’s speech has shaken the vast mainstream middle class out of their GOP-inspired, Tea Party influenced doldrums. The mainstream of America, no longer clinging to outdated notions of American exceptionalism, recognizes a new exceptional American, and that man is Barack Obama.
Last night, ex-President Clinton shamed the GOP for their inattentiveness to their own history. Tonight, President of the Now Barack Obama shamed Bill Clinton; rhetoric that last night sounded like lightning now seems more jackhammers compared to the subtle nuancies of a true master orator. Obama didn’t just instruct us, didn’t just convince us, he wooed us as lovers woo in the midnight hour of our need. Moderates who once supported President Clinton heard what an improvement their new president is. Yesterday, Clinton was the black father we always wished we had; Tonight, Obama was our beautiful brofriend.