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O’s Big Speech

Just watched it over lunch. It was detailed. It was thoughtful. It was nuanced. He explained himself without apologizing. He condemned Wright’s controversial statements while expressing respect for the man in other contexts. He explained how things were more complex than the caricatures you get through quick sound bites and video clips. He talked about the origins of the sort of feelings that Wright expressed and how they fit into a larger context which he understands, but does not agree with. Etc.

Bottom line, it will only convince the people who are already convinced. For example, it all made sense to me. But people will still have the impressions of Obama that they had yesterday. This will likely change very few people’s minds. Perhaps there will be a few people who took the time to watch the whole thing who were concerned before who will be swayed by this. But it will be a small number. Once this is digested into clips and soundbites that will be repeated, people will only pay attention to the bits that reinforce what they thought anyway. And there is plenty here for both sides. Only if you watch all (or most) of it do you get the balance Obama is trying to achieve. And that is complicated, so it won’t play well.

The one thing Obama could hope is that this satisfies the PRESS. That they will think that after this there is no more to say about the issue, and so therefore they will move on, and ignore those who try to keep the issue alive by saying “this was already addressed”. If so, then Obama will leave this damaged, but not still bleeding. But it will not undo the (I think unjustified) damage of the last week.

Anyway, here is the YouTube of the speech for those who want to watch it. (Link originally via Irish Trojan.)