Thursday, August 28, 2008

SALESMANSHIP. Everyone expected a strong speech from Obama, but its unexpected and best quality was confidence. He sold the package -- traditional Democratic values with a dash of new-generation pizzazz -- without any trace of doubt or apology, as if the Republicans hadn't been going ahead of him for months, doing negative advance work. Though he was energetic, he was also unusually sober in his demeanor: He didn't flash that famous smile much, probably because he wanted to defeat any sense that he was trying to sell himself rather than the package, which salesmen sometimes do when they're nervous. In fact he more often went with a small, are-they-kidding grin when describing his opponent's inferior product. He looked like he expected to make the sale, because what he was offering was clearly better suited to the customer. Despite the grandiosity of the setting, he did the job like a real pro, and when he mentioned Kennedy and FDR, it was as politicians rather than statesmen that I recalled them. In other words, he did exactly what he needed to do.

As for the policies, we'll see. (I hope.) But he did one thing that was both transcendent and canny. When he said American troops had "not served a blue America or a red America, they served the United States of America," I thought: How long have we waited to hear something like that from a Presidential candidate, or for that matter, a President? At the 2004 Republican Convention President Bush didn't spare even a line to speak to the divisions in this country. Of course, he was working from a script written by Karl Rove, whose strategy relied on division. It's nice to hear some political speech that suggests there's more to be gained by pulling people together than apart.

Conservatives are already sweating the small stuff ("What about those food stamps? Was it once? Was it for a month? For a year? How long?"), and pretending to have watched disinterestedly so their disappointment will seem genuine, though on whom they imagine they're putting it over is hard to fathom. That's how they keep their spirits up. They'll be doing a lot of it in the days to come.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:45 AM

    I always used to study paragraph in news papers but now as I
    am a user of net so from now I am using net for content, thanks to

    Visit my site; Daycare Video