I have a realistic view of what we should settle for

During the ABC debate on Saturday, Hillary said Obama was giving people false hopes. I expect that she will come to regret that because it contrasts the difference in their styles.

The blogosphere are having a wonderful time with the contrast. Here’s Huffington:

Obama is a dreamer. That’s right, Clinton is actually trying to convince voters that Obama is too positive, too optimistic, too inspirational. In a speech she called him “an untested man who offers false hope,” and in Saturday’s debate she said, “We don’t need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can be delivered.”

Oh, yeah, that’s the last thing we need, someone who actually seeks to inspire Americans to allow their reach to exceed their grasp. That’s the problem with leaders like Lincoln, Kennedy, and Martin Luther King — they just weren’t realistic enough. King shouldn’t have said, “I have a dream!,” he should have said, “I have a realistic view of what we should settle for! We probably won’t be able to pass the Civil Rights Act, but we might be able to pass a bill condemning segregated water fountains. You probably won’t be able to sit at the front of the bus, but I might be able to get you to the middle.”

And, of course, this is now one of Obama’s best lines in his own pitch. From the Washington Post,

The most telling laugh line in Obama’s stump speech is his description of the dreadful charge his opponents make against him. “Obama’s talking about hope again,” the candidate says, mimicking his foes. Then his tenor drops to a low, conspiratorial pitch: “He’s a hope monger.”

Another of Hillary’s misfires was

You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose.

which immediately had EJ Dionne critiquing her own poetry.

Yet if Clinton’s answers come off as well-intended lectures, Obama is offering soaring sermons and generational opportunity. In 1960, the articulate Adlai Stevenson compared his own oratory unfavorably with John F. Kennedy‘s. “Do you remember,” Stevenson said, “that in classical times when Cicero had finished speaking, the people said, ‘How well he spoke,’ but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, the people said, ‘Let us march.’ ” At this hour, Obama is the Democrats’ Demosthenes.

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Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

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