Sunday, March 23, 2008

Whaddaya Know?

Shorter David Broder: "Huh! Both Reagan and Obama spoke on race in Philadelphias."

(I've taken even more poetic license than usual with this shorter. Here's as close as Broder actually comes to making the Philadelphia comparison:

It is rare that a president addresses racial issues with anything like the honesty Obama did. You might have to go back to Lyndon Johnson in his 1965 "we shall overcome" speech, urging Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act, or the same president 40 years ago, after the nation was rocked by riots following the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. In recent decades, few presidents other than Ronald Reagan have been able to lead the nation by the power of their words.

What Obama showed in Philadelphia is the potential similarly to inform, educate and inspire people, if he is allowed to fill "the bully pulpit" of the presidency. If that is what people sense, this will indeed make the Philadelphia speech a historic occasion.

That's right, despite all of the obvious disanalogies between Obama and Reagan on race relations and despite all of the attention paid in recent months to Reagan's racist Republican dog whistling that began along with his presidential campaign in Philadelphia, MS, Broder plays it coy and leaves it to us to reach the obvious conclusion in the paragraph break: if Obama wants to "inform, educate and inspire" the people of this nation on issues of race, he won't go anywhere near the misleading, opportunistic, race-baiting path of good ol' Ronnie Reagan.)