Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I've heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence
Actually, pompous isnt really the word for this passage. There's a sort of hectoring naivete, as if Klein's too inexperienced to know that "call us back to our highest selves" is a drained cliche. And why do the whippernsappers always have to lecture? ... P.S.: The whole post isn't this bad. It's actually worse. And pompous! ... [via Corner and reader N.B.] ... 9:19 P.M. link
Mo' Iowa: 1) Polipundit suggests Obama may have benefitted in Iowa from a "reverse Bradley effect.' The open, public voting of the caucuses provided Democrats with
"a golden opportunity to show your next-door neighbors just how enlightened and progressive you are, by supporting the liberal black candidate."
On a secret ballot, Obama wouldn't do as well. If the Reverse Bradley Effect holds, then, Obama will do worse in New Hampshire than his Iowa triumph would lead you to expect, even if Hillary does nothing to change anyone's mind. ...
2) I haven't heard any MSM pundit mention another possibility a Polipundit reader mentions: that Romney may have done worse than the polls indicated because the Republican caucuses did use a secret ballot--and people who wouldn't tell a pollster they weren't going to vote against a Mormon in fact voted against a Mormon. This is not a reverse Bradley Effect. It's the regular ol' straight Bradley Effect;
3) Wasn't the Iowa Dem outcome a vindication of the beleaguered Incumbent Rule, which holds that undecideds break overwhelming against an incumbent at the end. Hillary was the functional equivalent of an incumbent. [Thanks to alert reader K.B., who a) emailed it days before the vote and b) suggested that between Edwards was more of an "incumbent" than Obama, so the latter would have the edge among late-breaking anti-incumbent undecideds.]
4) Reader T.F. notes that Edwards did not improve on--or even match-- his 2004 Iowa performance.
In 2004, Edwards got 32% of the caucus in Iowa in a four-person field.
In 2008, Edwards got 30% of the caucus in Iowa in a three-person field.
Richardson, Biden, et al might object to calling 2008's race a "three-person field," but you get the point. ... P.S. Defining Nonviability Down--The Union Leader's John DiStaso on Edwards and New Hampshire: