Water Man Spouts

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A European View of Obama

June 9, 2008
Obama, like JFK, has the wind behind him
The Democrat presidential candidate is trying to create a new kind of politics in the United States - and beyond
William Rees-Mogg

Obama is the Kennedy of a new generation. I have strong personal memories of the Kennedy election in 1960 that took a Roman Catholic to the White House for the first time. As early as January and February of this year, starting before Super Tuesday on February 5, I was discussing the comparison between the Obama and Kennedy campaigns.

On February 18 I wrote: "It is hard to see who can stop Senator Barack Obama becoming the next president of the United States. He has built up an excitement such as no candidate has created since President Kennedy in 1960." Hillary Clinton tried to stop him and she failed. The Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, is a fine man, but he will not wage as forceful a campaign as Senator Clinton. ….

Kennedy was himself an excellent speaker, but Obama is an even better one. He had a warmer voice and better natural rhythms of speech. Kennedy's Boston accent sounded more elitist; he broke up his sentences into little chunks, which interrupted his flow.

Obama combines the reflective with the declamatory; he has managed to use the black rhythms, which remind one of orators such as Martin Luther King, while avoiding the exaggeration of some black preachers. Indeed, his tone of thoughtful moderation enabled him to diminish the impact of some foolish remarks by his own old preacher. ….

It is Obama, like Kennedy, who has the momentum of history.


William Rees-Mogg was editor of London newspaper The Times from 1967 to 1981.


Post a Comment

<< Home