On the Democratic side, I don't know if it's enough to deliver Pennsylvania, but I do think it's enough to stop a fullscale meltdown and carry him through the primaries. And it might be enough to neutralize this issue and make it a distant memory by the time the general election rolls around.
Like most of Obama's major speeches, it tends to catch you up immediately in the eloquence--the audacity if you will. This, in turn, leaves me to wonder if I should reread the thing eight more times to make sure there's actually something to it. Whatever my personal feelings, Obama does manages to break out the wagging finger and "shame, shame, shame" three separate groups, perhaps providing a Sister Souljah moment some were clamoring for. Firstly, he speaks strongly on Reverend Jeremiah Wright's comments:
They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.That's Sister Soujah moment No. 1: He shames those who almost seem to relish in the ugliest sides of America and celebrate conspiracy theories. That should mollify those white centrist Democrats who wanted to support Obama but were having second thoughts.
Obama also talked tough about why comments such as Wright's are made in black churches across the land on Sunday, touching on America's past and troubles that plague us to this day. That's Sister Souljah moment No. 2: He explains to White America that Black America has plenty of reasons to be upset.
And Sister Souljah moment No. 3? This one may be a stretch, but it may be when Obama explains why he isn't simply disowning Wright. That may be the savviest bit of the speech. Let me be clear, I loathe the words coming out of Wright's mouth. I don't much care if the videos making the round were snippets or not -- such moonbat conspiracies are harmful and poisonous. But, Obama says: "But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man." In explaining his ties to Wright -- indeed coming extremely close to painting him as a Crazy Uncle -- Obama just might shame those politicians (Hillary Clinton) who kick longtime friends to the curb the minute they become a problem. Hahaha. I kid. I kid. We all know politicians are incapable of feeling shame. But I do think it will resonate with a wide swath of voters who a) have embarrassing family members and b) wonder about the loyalties of politicians who view family and friends as expendable.
Of course, this speech isn't going to help any with Republicans (or Hillary Clinton supporters) convinced that Barack Obama's gotten a free ride from the media. It's a well-crafted speech and the media will likely love it, so it may appear as one more piece of a whole. (But no one should be buying the story that there's a host of Republican voters waiting to jump ship for Obama in the first place.)
Video of the speech below. A transcript can be found here.