mm331: Obama at Cooper Union: Lincoln for our times?

MUDGE’s Musings

He could have spoken anywhere; that’s what the communications age is all about. Perhaps he should have spoken in Pennsylvania; after all, its April 22nd primary represents the next towering challenge to his candidacy.

But, he spoke in New York City, because that’s where beats the economic heart of the country (and not too long ago, the planet). And his speech was about our economic distress, the Wall Street half of the equation, where “pain trickled up.”

An interesting site, new to Left-Handed Complement, “The Reality-Based Community” has been added to our blogroll with alacrity. There, yr (justifiably) humble svt found some incisive analysis, and, usefully, a transcript of this powerful statement.


Obama on the economy

March 27, 2008 | Posted by Mark Kleiman

Public images, once established, are hard to change, and it isn’t going to be easy for Barack Obama to escape the “pretty words, no substance” label that his opponents and some journalists have tried to pin on him. But if anything could do it, today’s Cooper Union speech ought to.

Those familiar mainly with the Obama of the stump speeches, the election-night speeches, and the Ebeneezer Baptist Church address on MLK Day — the Obama of the “Yes We Can” music video — will find the Cooper Union lecture a significant change of pace. No soaring images, not much poetry, few applause lines, lots of analysis and substantive proposals, only one Obama-esque turn of phrase in describing the current crisis in mortgage-backed paper:

“What was bad for Main Street was bad for Wall Street. Pain trickled up.”

The speech itself: workmanlike, serious, substantive.

For those who like pictures to go along with the words, here’s the video. For all the words in print form, click the link below.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

The Reality-Based Community: Obama on the economy

Obama began his talk with a brief history lesson, going back to the Founding Fathers.

It’s this sense of history that drew him, I’m certain, to Cooper Union, the scene of a very influential speech by a then little-known presidential candidate named Lincoln, in 1859.

Consider Barack Obama.

A speaker unafraid to share substantive ideas, rather than the usual politician’s sloganeering, in adult language.

Boldly framing his context to the designers of this country, most relevantly Alexander Hamilton, one of history’s great polymaths and a great economic actor too little appreciated today.

And choosing to speak in a locale subtly redolent of presidential history, a reflection of our greatest president, who was in that place 149 years ago magnificently eloquent in his own time of American crisis.

And, Michael Bloomberg introduced him.

What a ticket that would be!

It’s it for now. Thanks,


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5 Responses to mm331: Obama at Cooper Union: Lincoln for our times?

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