The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

AMERICAS

Tom Maguire, in a generally positive post about Obama's speech, can't resist an easy joke:
Barack Obama gave a stirring "One America" speech to the Democratic convention, and good for him.

So what is John Edwards going to do, come on as a rebuttal speaker with his "Two Americas" speech?

How many Americas will we be hearing about by the time Kerry speaks? Hey, this is getting interesting.

But seriously, folks...
Bill Saletan can't avoid some likewise snark in his Obama post. Mickey, though, almost seems serious.

Just in case anybody tries to get really serious about this, might as well strangle that baby right here. Barack Obama's message of a united America is largely social and cultural ("we worship an awesome God in the blue states..."). John Edwards' message of there being "two Americas" is predominantly economic ("different set of rules for the rich and the working class").

Edwards is talking about conservative fiscal and economic policies that have "shifted the burden from wealth to work", and have increased the income divide between the rich and the working class. In other words, the two Americas as a product of Reaganomics.

Obama quoted chunks of the Declaration of Independence and the Bible because those two documents (for whatever else they are, particularly the latter) point towards the qualities that are present in all of us, the qualities that are the foundation for mutual understanding and tolerance in all corners of America.

To call these two assertions incongruent is to make a very lazy, superficial point that ignores their content.

Obama didn't talk very much about domestic economic policy in his speech, but Edwards certainly will. But here's why it works: Obama laid the groundwork for Edwards. He described the destination, the ideal, the one, united America, speaking predominantly in social terms, and identifying what has always been present in American society that can allow us to unite in such a fashion. Tonight, Edwards will talk about the journey to that goal, and he will frame it in terms of the obstacles that have been erected in the way, particularly the economic obstacles (that's where his "two Americas" kick in).

And does it occur to these people that maybe Edwards is so passionate about addressing the two-Americas problem because he believes strongly in Obama's united America? Just sayin'.

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