Hit & Run

One America or Two?


I agree with Jesse Walker that Barack Obama's speech was overrated. If anything, it was the type of spiel that, although excellently delivered, disappeared from memory as soon as it was over. If he's the Dems' next "rock star," he's more David Essex than David Bowie.

And there's actually a problem with the one thing folks do remember from Obama's speech: That business about how there really aren't two Americas--black or white, red or blue, rich or poor, happy or sad, fat or thin, etc. There's only "the United States of America."

That was great stuff as far as it went, and it represents a rhetorical success rarely attempted, much less achieved, at conventions. Most important, it avoided a traditional pitfall of emphasizing the pluribus rather than the unum.

But I'm left wondering what the Dems' wonder boy VP candidate, John Edwards, is going to talk about tonight? Didn't he get this far by insisting that there are absolutely two Americas? If we're all one big happy family, then where's the need for change?