His Eloquence, The Would-Be President
Posted February 27, 2008 | 02:31 PM (EST) SYLVIA WELSH
In the past several weeks, as the democratic race for the nomination comes to its dramatic conclusion, a consistent theme voiced by supporters of each of the two candidates has increasingly revolved around a “war of words.” The argument, on both sides, is that the other candidate is the one whose words cannot be trusted. In this war, the consensus appears to be that Barack Obama is the clear winner, the poet, the “man of words.” This is alternately cited as either his greatest strength or his biggest weakness.
While His Eloquence is undisputed, his authorship has been. Ignoring the doubters of His Eloquence, just yesterday Alec MacGillis in the Washington Post declared that Obama’s most “powerful weapon has been the oldest [of weapons] – words.” Adding to His Eloquence’s aura, Arianna Huffington definitively stated that it was, in fact, Hillary, and not Barack, who should be compared to Bush in her use of words.
Here are some examples of what MacGillis and Huffington would no doubt agree are the “powerful weapons” of eloquent words:
[The greatest generation] “was a generation of Americans who stormed beaches, liberated concentration camps and delivered us from evil. Some never came home.Those who put their medals in drawers went to work and built, on a heroic scale, highways and universities, suburbs and factories, great cities and grand alliances — the strong foundations of an American Century.
Now the question comes to the sons and daughters of this achievement: What is asked of us?
This is a remarkable moment in the life of our nation. Never has the promise of prosperity been so vivid. But times of plenty, likes times of crisis, are tests of American character.
Prosperity can be a tool in our hands, used to build and better our country. Or it can be a drug in our system — dulling our sense of urgency, of empathy, of duty.
Our opportunities are too great, our lives too short, to waste this moment….We will seize this moment of American promise.
We will confront the hard issues — threats to our national security, threats to our health and retirement security — before the challenges of our time become crises for our children…
This nation is daring and decent and ready for change…
But this administration, during eight years of increasing need, did nothing. They had their moment. They have not led. I will.
Our generation has a chance to reclaim some essential values, to show we have grown up before we grow old…
But when the moment for leadership came, this administration did not teach our children, it disillusioned them….
We must teach our children the values that defeat violence. I will lead our nation toward a culture that values life, the life of the elderly and the sick, and the life of the young…
A hundred years from now, this must not be remembered as an age rich in possessions and poor in ideals…
Should I become President, I will work to call upon the best of the nation. A leader’s responsibility is to understand that the great armies of compassion, which exist all across America, must be rallied to make sure no one gets left behind.
It is the role of a leader to share wisdom, to share experience with people who are looking for someone to lead.
I understand the awesome responsibility of this job. I understand the serious undertaking of answering to the calls of mothers and fathers who I see all the time around America, who come to my rallies and hold a picture of their child and look me in the eye and say, ‘Never let us down again.’ I hear those calls.
This country is ready for change. It’s ready for bipartisan leadership. It’s ready for a leader who will bring this great country together. This country wants a leader who understands how to lead, how to bring folks together.
I stand squarely with the people. There’s a big difference in philosophy in this campaign. I’m running against a candidate of Washington, by Washington and for Washington. Mine is a campaign that stands squarely on the side of the people and the families and the workers of America.
It’s time for a leader to bring Republicans and Democrats together. After eight years of partisan bickering and name-calling, it’s time for new leadership to bring Republicans and Democrats together, to be able to say that a promise made is a promise kept, to reject old-style politics that tries to frighten folks, to reject the old business of trying to tear someone down while the issues still remain.
Now is the time for new leadership that understands we must trust younger people…
Now is the time, now is the time, for Republicans and Democrats to end the politics of fear…
On principle, those in the greatest need should receive the greatest help. The world needs America’s strength and leadership.
Thus spoke His Eloquence. However, in the words cited above, His Eloquence is not, as one would suspect, Barack Obama. His Eloquence was a candidate running for President in 2000. His Eloquence was George W. Bush, speaking at the Republican National Convention.
His Eloquence won. And the world lost.