Obama’s concession

He couldn’t make his supporters happy, be he made us proud.

As graceful in defeat as in victory. Starts out by asking for, and getting, a good round of applause for Hillary Clinton. And you wouldn’t have guessed from the crowd reaction that he was conceding instead of acknowledging another win.

Someone said, this was more or less his victory speech. Stand-out lines:

“In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.”

“A simple creed that mirrors the spirit of a people: Yes we can. Yes we can. Yes, we can!”

I can’t understand how anyone who watched this speech, after McCain’s stumbling attempt to read a disconnected jumble of words from his teleprompter, could consider it likely that a possible McCain-Obama race would be close.

A McCain/Clinton race, on the other hand, would give new meaning to the word “pedestrian.”


There was no way for Obama to make his supporters happy tonight, but he could make us proud.

’tis not in mortals to command success,

but we’ll do more, Sempronius: we’ll deserve it.

Second footnote :”Yes we can” became the refrain-line of the second half of the speech, presumably foreshadowing a the replacement of “Fired up! Ready to go.” The fact that translates into Spanish as “Sí, se puede” is an added, and probably not uncalculated, bonus.

Update A reader corrects my Spanish:

“Sí, se puede” doesn’t translate quite into “Yes, we can” as you assert. It’s more like,

“Yes, one can,” or better yet, “Yes, it’s possible.” Sí, podemos” would be “Yes, we can.”

Fair enough. But I think “Sí, se puede” as a Farmworkers’ slogan is usually (mis)translated as “Yes we can.” Of course the practical question is about the translation back into Spanish. Can any reader tell me how Obama’s remarks were translated on, e.g., Univision?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com