Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Obama Speech: The Wright Stuff?
We shall see if Obama's speech on March 18 had the desired effect. The results won't be clear for days, at best, but from what I have seen and heard so far, much of the speech itself, plus TV commentary, it was too little, too late.
Gloria Borger expressed the opinion yesterday that for the speech to be effective, Obama had to talk directly to the voters at a real world level and, for a change, not address worshipful devotees, from the stratosphere There was some earthiness in Obama's address, but it was pretty much true to form, poetic and rhapsodic and rhetorical. Personally, I could muster some sympathy, but it was not convincing.
What would be convincing ?
A black political expert featured on Fox TV may provide the best answer. Sorry I can't report his name, but he is very astute and realistic, a "pol" who knows his stuff. He also is a Democrat sympathetic to Obama --and he wasn't convinced, either.
What it would take is for Obama to meet with Rev Wright, behind closed doors , and when the get together was over for Wright to emerge with the message that he , the pastor, regretted his controversial views, had experienced a change of heart, and now seeks to not only undo damages he has caused , but has determined to turn a new leaf and henceforth preach a message that, in effect, reflects the outlook of MLK. And this would need to be done, added a women news anchor, in such a way that it could only be seen as sincere and not cynical opportunism.
What are the chances of this ? For the immediate future, slim to none. Apparently the pastor has been located in Africa, and at the least is nowhere to be found. But even if he could be contacted in the next day or two, he has now been so publicly vilified that in all probability he is in no mood for anything but defensiveness.
Down the road may be another matter. And with the Pennsylvania primary still 5 weeks away, Obama has some time, maybe enough time, to "stop the bleeding." But the more time that elapses, the worse his predicament becomes. His poll numbers have begun to fall and Hillary's lead in Pennsylvania,as of this AM, has increased from 6% to 12%.
Not that we can trust Gallup with our life, and other polls have been less than trustworthy this year, but here is one indication that major damages loom ahead for Obama. Rasmusson is the first tracking poll to show nationwide effects from the "pastorgate" mess, Obama down 5 points in 3 days.
The speech may have the effect to applying a tourniquet to a serious wound, maybe those numbers will stabilize, but clearly the speech was not enough. The best that can be said is that it gave some measure of reassurance to Obama's most ardent supporters who, because of it, still have a "reason for faith." The problem concerns his "soft support, " people who like him and like the idea of voting for him, but who are realists, not "true believers." How large their numbers are in Obama's "camp" I cannot say, but surely a substantial part of the ensemble, and maybe a majority. These are the people who could "peel away" in the days and weeks ahead.
What are the goals of Obama's strategists?
Read the rest of "Obama Speech: The Wright Stuff".
By: Billy Rojas
[Billy Rojas is a former college teacher of the Social Sciences, History, and Comparative Religion , at Phoenix college, Alice Lloyd College, Lower Columbia College, and the City Colleges of Chicago. He was formerly assigned to the US Navy as an instructor with the USS Enterprise. His previous article, "Obama and Culture Shock" appeared at DBKP on March 2 2008.]
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