Reflecting back on Obama's More Perfect Union speech, which I discussed yesterday, I thought I'd review a few editorials that followed. As I imagined, most (though hardly all) concluded that this address was an historical document of our nation's struggles to reconcile racial divisions. It was not a perfect speech, but it was a speech that solidified Obama's credentials as a serious alternative to the bland puffery that so frequently passes for political oratory.
Warning: Some of these sources require registration.
Chicago Tribune, Saying a mouthful: "As a public statement about race, culture, class in America and, quite poignantly, in the heart of its speaker, Obama's Big Speech offered a rare outpouring of brilliance, sophistication and personal frankness."
Newsday, Obama eloquently addresses race issues: "It was a speech Barack Obama had to give. There was no way a black man within striking distance of a major party nomination for president of the United States was going to get much closer to the nation's ultimate political prize without, at some point, talking frankly about race in America. Obama did that yesterday. He did it honestly. He did it eloquently. And the nation will be better for it if enough of us accept his challenge to strive to 'form a more perfect union,' by dealing forthrightly with the uncomfortable and explosive issue."
New York Times, Mr. Obama’s Profile in Courage: "We can’t know how effective Mr. Obama’s words will be with those who will not draw the distinctions between faith and politics that he drew, or who will reject his frank talk about race. What is evident, though, is that he not only cleared the air over a particular controversy--he raised the discussion to a higher plane."
San Jose Mercury News, Beyond racism: Obama strives to build bridge: "What could have been a political cataclysm was transformed into another opportunity for the first serious black presidential contender to show how he can bridge divides. One speech may not do it, but the address in Philadelphia was a very good start."
Washington Post, Moment of Truth: "It was a compelling answer both to the challenge presented by his pastor's comments and to the growing role of race in the presidential campaign."