Sunday, March 16, 2008

Obamamandius - Unifying America

Obama has pegged his Jeremiah Wright response to the speech delivered by Bobby Kennedy in the aftermath of Martin Luther King's assassination;
Kennedy was the first to inform the audience of the death of Martin Luther King, causing some in the audience to scream and wail. Several of Kennedy's aides were even worried that the delivery of this information would result in a riot. Once the audience quieted down Kennedy acknowledged that many in the audience would be filled with anger, especially since the assassin was believed to be a white, and that he had felt the same when his brother John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. These remarks surprised Kennedy aides, who had never heard him speak of John Kennedy's death. Kennedy continued, saying that the country had to make an effort to "go beyond these rather difficult times," and then quoted a poem by the Greek playwright Aeschylus. To conclude Kennedy said that the country needed and wanted unity between blacks and whites, asked the audience members to pray for the King family and the country, and once more quoted the ancient Greeks. Despite rioting in other major American cities, Indianapolis was calm the night after Kennedy's remarks, which is believed to have been in part because of the speech. The speech itself has been listed as one of the greatest in American history, ranked 17th on American Rhetoric's Top 100 speeches in the 20th century. Former US Congressman and media host Joe Scarborough said that it was Kennedy's greatest speech, and was what prompted him into entering into public service. Journalist Joe Klein has called it "politics in its grandest form and highest purpose," and said that it "marked the end of an era" before American political life was taken over by consultants and pollsters. It is also featured as the prologue of his book, Politics Lost.
It's a fascinating tactical maneuver. I'm somewhat impressed. What say you?