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

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