Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hillary Has Found her Voice

And so have I….

In her New Hampshire victory speech, Hillary Clinton said,
I come tonight with a very, very full heart. I listened to you and in the process, I found my own voice....I felt like we all spoke from our hearts...
Well so have I -- I have found my voice.

Tim Rutten reminded me when he wrote recently in the Los Angeles Times,

Obama's, obviously, was the stunning victory speech after Thursday's Iowa caucuses; he's been riding a wave of enthusiasm ever since. Even the sort of seasoned political analysts inclined to cynicism recognized that the junior senator from Illinois had delivered the sort of soul-stirring, landscape-altering address that deserves to be reckoned in a rhetorical lineage that includes, most recently, memorable public speeches by John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ronald Reagan.


There were, in fact, two things about Obama's speech that remain as remarkable as the campaign heads toward Tsunami Tuesday on Feb. 5 as they were in the moment of delivery. The first is that it was, at bottom, a discussion of race in which race never was mentioned. The second is that both red and blue America seem to have heard the same thing -- something worth noting in this bitterly partisan era. Thus, even a reflexively Republican commentator such as Bill Bennett praised the speech for appealing "to the better angels of our nature."

Race is America's perennially unfinished business, but what Obama did in Iowa was to offer a new way of talking about it, and it is that -- more than any policy he yet has advanced -- that marked him as a candidate of change. Race remains the great American problem, but it's a problem whose contours have been dramatically reshaped in recent years.


America is no longer a country of the dream deferred but of the dream realized in unexpected, but perplexingly uneven, ways. Obama, the 46-year-old product of both Harvard Law and community organizing in the Chicago projects, speaks in a new emotional vocabulary that recognizes both achievement and need. It's a language he has in common with younger voters, who thus far are turning out in huge numbers.

Senator Clinton's voice is not my own.

I prefer the voice of that other Senator: the one who fires me up and gets me ready to go!