Obama’s speech

Obama’s choreographed spontaneous demonstration seems to go on much longer than Hillary’s, partly perhaps because he’s chosen a much more upbeat composition as a theme song, but if were on Hillary’s team I wouldn’t be happy. It looks and sounds like star power to me. Good resonant voice, good dynamic range, but no shouting until he gets to “Our government is not for sale!” (More of that later.)

Short autobiography, leading to a nice “why I’m in politics” story about running for the State Senate from the Southside of Chicago and having people ask him why such a nice young man would want to get into such a dirty business.

That leads into a riff on what’s wrong with the current political system, which Obama uses to turn the “inexperience” charge back on those who are making it. “I’ve been in Washington long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”

Best line so far: “We’re at risk of leaving our children a world a little poorer and a little meaner than the one we found.”

Refrain line: “It’s time to turn the page.” Specifics on health care, education, energy, and Iraq.

New to me: he proposes cap & trade on carbon limits, with the ration coupons auctioned (instead of given away). No one tells the crowd that’s the same as a carbon tax, so they cheer vigorously. Smart!

Plays his anti-war credentials for all they’re worth. “We knew back then that this war was a mistake.” “One signature away.” Now he’s shouting: “We will bring our troops home!” Chant of O-ba-ma starts, lasts about fifteen seconds. “The position of leader of the free world has remained open.”

Another verse-and-chorus, now on “That is not who we are.” Tells the story of going back to Selma for the anniversary of Black Sunday. Afterwards people said to him that it must have been nice to have such a celebration of African-American history. No, he says: “That was American history we were celebrating.”

“In the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it.”

The man knows how to speak. More wild cheers as he leaves the stage, to the music of Aretha Franklin: “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”

Update: Hekebolos isn’t as prejudiced as I am, but concludes “He crushed Hillary.”

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