h&f 0039 Obama doesn’t give a “fan” speech, goes Ruy Lopez…

Obama reopens... This time with a different tack.

Obama goes Ruy Lopez, 8/28/2008

This was quite a move, a Ruy Lopez variation, i.e. a “sound yet enterprising way to start a game of chess and is suitable for all playing styles, since White not only has the capacity to launch a sudden kingside attack but can also choose to exert lasting positional pressure on key squares, files and diagonals.”

[In this case, compare a Sicilian Defense opening where “Black’s most dynamic, asymmetrical reply …produces the psychological and tension factors which give notice of a fierce fight on the very first move.”]

Shoot, since this is already a jumble of metaphors, let me feed another jones…

In basketball terms and a turducken mixing of analogies: He busted a cross-over and, even though you suspected it, even though you knew he had it in him, you didn’t think you could force him right and still see him finish a drive.  (He’s left-handed.) So: Now you have to guard the jumper (the sudden kingside attack) and the drive (lasting positional pressure on key squares, files, and diagonals.)

It may be thought of as a swallowing of pride to resist this moment to cement soundbites into the national conversation, but if you look at the consistent, multi-level strategy maintained throughout the campaign, especially the solidification of grassroots organization, then this speech fits.  In doing this, he has left no easy handles for the opposition to grab.  Juan Williams said, “There won’t be one line that we remember.”  And that seems to have been the plan.

I warned about catering to fans a while back. If he had moved you to tears and shouts of Si Se Puede and Hope, he would have locked himself in the corner of simple motivator.  If he had gone straight-up wonk, he would have lost everybody.  Instead, he let the moment be the moment and himself be a Democrat.

We know he can make you cry, but what confidence do you have in his governing?  You can’t get that from a speech from anybody, but you can get a sense of governing style in the strategy of the approach, especially on the backdrop of the detailed organizing that got him to that podium.

Essentially, he has set his markers for the oncoming debates while not leaving himself exposed on the most vulnerable flank of not having any substance.  It’s a policy debate now, but one that will still be  well supported by the force of personality he has established.

Now, it will be interesting to see how this plays out, first in McCain’s response.  He has a number of points of entry via which to return fire – all falling under one poin:, policy.  That is: what do you actually plan to do?  After the conventions die down, we may potentially move from cult of personality on both sides to a real deal presidential debate.


~ by ericjhenderson on August 29, 2008.

2 Responses to “h&f 0039 Obama doesn’t give a “fan” speech, goes Ruy Lopez…”

  1. Great incite my brotha!! I think that he also set him up for the “hitch and go”! That is baiting him into a certain response(biting on the hitch while you shoot up the sidelines for a touchdown) and then delivering a crushing blow to his credibility and having him display his character flaws.

  2. Much obliged for contributing, MG. Funny, I now am on the hunt for the million metaphors. Love that “hitch and go” thought!

    Much peace.


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