Thursday, October 30, 2008

American Stories, American Solutions.

I must admit that I worried when I heard Obama was airing a thirty minute commercial that he might be about to overreach.

I need not have. He's too canny an operator to make a thirty minute commercial about himself. Instead, he made a mini documentary about America and, more importantly, about Americans. About how they are a hard working people, a resilient people, who have been given a shitty deal by Republicans interested in looking after large corporations and the richest members of society.

The film was a series of personal tales, each highlighting a different problem that ordinary Americans face.

They were chosen with an eye to demographics: a white married mother from Missouri, a black retired railroad worker from Ohio, a Hispanic widow, mother and teacher from Kentucky, and a white male Ford motor worker from New Mexico.

They painted a grim picture. "The pressure is just to keep your head above water, so you don't feel like you're drowning all the time," said Juliana Sanchez, the Kentuckian. "You feel like you can't breathe." Five Democratic governors, two senators, and the chief executive of Google also all appeared to sing Obama's praises.

The film also inter cut with speeches that Obama has made over the past two years and one was struck with the consistency of the theme which Obama has been pushing. Unlike McCain, who appears to change what his campaign is about at a moment's notice, Obama continued a theme which he has been espousing for two years. It's a theme which states that large corporations can look after themselves as they have aways done and that government should concentrate on helping those who need help rather that those who don't.

He also movingly spoke of his mother's death and his wife spoke of his relationship with his children.

So, it hit all the right buttons. It was an audacious risk for a candidate who is leading in the polls to take, in many ways it wasn't even necessary to take such a risk, but Obama seems always to know what he is doing.

When he spoke of never sending troops into battle without remembering that they are someones son, someones daughter, someones father, someones mother, one was struck by the contrast he strikes with President Bush.

Bill Richardson ended the whole thing stating, "This guy is special because I think he can bring people together. Because he is a good decent man who understands the world through his background. That he's a man who can heal this country."

Obama then stated: "I am reminded every single day that I am not a perfect man. I will not be a perfect president. But I can promise you this. I will aways tell you what I think and where I stand. I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you when we disagree and, more importantly, I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again."

By that point I was blown away. It was a tour de force. I need not have worried at all.

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