The Turning Point

by Richard Brookhiser

The turning point of the Brown campaign for me was his response to David Gergen: “With respect, it’s not Kennedy’s seat, it’s not the Democratic party’s seat, it’s the people’s seat . . .”

On most occasions, this would be a platitude — something we hardly need to say because we all know it. Many a dull speech and sermon derive their dullness from saying the obvious, by rote. But there are times when the obvious must be said, with feeling, because it has become ever-so-slightly, and perhaps — dangerously, no longer obvious.

The late George Trow once said that George Washington had the quality of filling clichés with the meaning they once had. On a lesser, but still important level, in his response to Gergen so did Brown.

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