The Corner

Barack Obama’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Speech — Then and Now

It is generally agreed that Obama’s campaign began to take off against Hillary on the strength of his knock-out speech at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines. It was a speech that captured all the aching promise of Obama’s new politics. Two key paragraphs:

And that is why the same old Washington textbook campaigns just won’t do in this election. That’s why not answering questions ‘cause we are afraid our answers won’t be popular just won’t do. That’s why telling the American people what we think they want to hear instead of telling the American people what they need to hear just won’t do. Triangulating and poll-driven positions because we’re worried about what Mitt or Rudy might say about us just won’t do. If we are really serious about wining this election Democrats, we can’t live in fear of losing it.

This party – the party of Jefferson and Jackson; of Roosevelt and Kennedy – has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people when we led, not by polls, but by principle; not by calculation, but by conviction; when we summoned the entire nation to a common purpose – a higher purpose. And I run for the Presidency of the United States of America because that’s the party America needs us to be right now.

 

There are seven sentences in those two paragraphs, and Obama in recent weeks has violated the spirit of every single one of them. If you were a young idealistic liberal who believed Obama then, wouldn’t you feel duped right now (assuming you’re capable of exercising any independent judgment about Barack Obama)?

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Other Case against Reparations

Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for slavery and Jim Crow, sins of which few living Americans stand accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More

‘Silenced’

Someone tweeted this cartoon today, which apparently is intended to depict me. A few thoughts: I love the caricature. It’s really good. I may steal the second panel and use it for advertising. I hear this line of criticism fairly often from people who are not very bright or well-informed; in truth, I ... Read More