Thursday, January 13, 2011
I haven't sat down to write an analysis of President Obama's speech last night from a political perspective, although I can say that, as a person in the audience, I found it to be a moving and emotional address. His call for us to find the better angels of our nature and be worthy of those who perished in Saturday's shooting resonated with the people I spoke to afterwards and his announcement that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time touched many hearts.
Many others have been dissecting Obama's comments. Sullivan rounds them up here.
I'm nodding in agreement with James Fallows, who says the speech succeeded "because it was hopeful and positive, even joyous, rather than morose."
The standard comparisons of the past four days have been to Ronald Reagan after the Challenger disaster and Bill Clinton after Oklahoma City. [Yesterday's] speech matched those as a demonstration of "head of state" presence, and far exceeded them as oratory — while being completely different in tone and nature. They, in retrospect, were mainly — and effectively — designed to note tragic loss. Obama turned this into a celebration — of the people who were killed, of the values they lived by, and of the way their example could bring out the better in all of us and in our country.
Read Fallows' entire piece—including some insightful reader comments about the complaints that the audience was too rambunctious—here.