We are on the cusp of a new politics in America. It should be dated from March 18, 2008, the date of Barack Obama’s landmark speech, A More Perfect Union. The usual pundits have looked mainly at the speech’s surface theme: race. They weren’t wrong. It was indeed the most important statement about race in recent history. But it was much more. It was a general call to a new politics and an outline for what it needs to be. Just as Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was about much more than the war dead on that battlefield, so Obama’s speech-widely hailed as in the same ballpark as Lincoln’s-went beyond race to the nature of America, its ideals, and its future. (…) What makes this great speech great is that it transcends its immediate occasion and addresses in its form as well as its words the most vital of issues: what America is about: who are, and are to be, as Americans; and what politics should be fundamentally about. The media has missed this. But we must not.I know plenty of people are calling for Sen. Hillary Clinton to get out of the race for the good of the party, but part of me agrees with those who say that by staying in the race she is helping, not hurting, Obama, by making him hone his policies and message. It may be mathematically difficult, if not impossible, for her to win, and if she loses any more big contests, the pressure on her to get out will mount.
George Lakoff, the master of all master debate framers, has a great piece up on OpenLeft called “What Made Obama’s Speech Great.” Lakoff believes Obama’s speech was a turning point in U.S. politics, and was a broad sweeping look at the state of politics and people today, and not just on race as the media have portrayed it. Here is a sample of the greatness Lakoff sees in Sen. Barack Obama’s March 18th speech: