Obama at the Bat
Vol: 83 Issue: 29 Friday, August 29, 2008
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, “If only Casey could but get a whack at that
We’d put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.”
Depending on whom one asks, the much-anticipated Obama acceptance speech ran the gamut from ‘soaring rhetoric’ (Boston Globe) to “a speech full, yet empty” (Guardian UK).
While the Financial Times claimed that Obama’s speech ‘silenced doubters’ the Boston Globe headlined its story; “Some Saw Spectacular, Others Just Spectacle.”
In my own opinion, the speech was long on rhetoric and style, but short on both fact and substance. But what do I know?
The New York Times wasn’t able to find much in Obama’s speech that was particularly noteworthy, but that was evidently a secondary issue.
“Mr. Obama looked completely at ease and unintimidated by his task or the huge crowd that surrounded him. And he chastised Mr. McCain for trying to portray him as a celebrity, an attack aides say has been particularly damaging, offering a list of people who he said had inspired him, from his grandmother to an unemployed factory worker he met on the campaign trail.”
There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile lit Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.
If there were anyone remaining in America who still believed that Obama is a different kind of politician, his acceptance speech ought to put that to rest once and for all.
Obama kicked off his speech with a deliberate lie, claiming John McCain defines the middle class as “someone making five million a year.”
McCain made the comment during his appearance at Saddleback Church, said it was a joke at the time, and then predicted the comment would be used to distort his view.
If Obama were a different kind of politician, McCain’s prediction would have gone unfulfilled. This was only one of a half-dozen glaringly obvious misrepresentations in the speech, but you don’t need me to list them all.
If you saw the speech, you heard them for yourself.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt.
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.
According to Obama, “the American promise has been threatened” by eight years under George Bush” and John McCain represents a continuation of those policies.
I listened, then I looked it up in the transcripts.
Obama didn’t identify the “American promise” or how George Bush threatened it. And if John McCain actually did represent a continuation of those policies, then he wouldn’t have been the Democrat’s favorite Republican for the past eight years.
It is worth remembering that in 2004, John Kerry was considering McCain for a running mate and there were so many rumors that McCain was switching parties that he had to make a point of publicly pledging allegiance to the GOP.
Obama’ speech was filled with invectives against the Republicans, but also for ordinary Americans who, according to Obama, have let the country down for the past eight years.
“America, we are better than these last eight years,” he said. “We are a better country than this.”
Bad America for electing George Bush twice! Clearly, a better America would elect Obama.
The sneer has fled from Casey’s lip, the teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.
“Next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third,” he said. “And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On Nov. 4, we must stand up and say: ‘Eight is enough.’
And with that, Obama stepped back, confident that he had knocked it out of the park.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.