Sunday, 9 November 2008

Congratulations, Mr. Obama, Congratulations, USA.

I don't normally comment on politics, but this week has been exceptional. If I had been a US citizen last Tuesday I would probably have voted for Obama, but that is hardly unexpected, given that I am a university-educated, white, middle-class liberal with a white-collar job, living in a major urban centre.

From a professional point of view, I admire Obama's command of the English language. Courses on public speaking and writing to persuade can now use his speeches as exemplars of good practice. I was amused, and perhaps a little scared, by the attempt of the Republican Party to use "he's eloquent" as an insult.

In today's Independent on Sunday there is an analysis by Dr Max Atkinson on Obama's use of classical oratorical techniques particularly the three-part list, as in his victory speech:
"Is there anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible;
who still wonders if the dream of our fathers is alive in our time;
who still questions the power of our democracy?"

[I haven't found this in the online edition of the paper, unfortunately.]

Another interesting aspect of Obama's campaign is the way he embraced technology not only to reach voters but to raise funds. I was going to comment on this, but I don't need to, as Conrad Taylor has already written an interesting article on his blog on the way the Obama team used online networking to raise money.


David Farbey said...
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David Farbey said...

Andy Borowitz has a humorous comment on Obama's skilled use of English:

Max Atkinson said...

As my piece in the 'Independent on Sunday' didn't appear on their website, I posted a slightly revised version on my blog at where you can find other stuff about different speakers, including Gordon Brown, the Queen, Tom Peters and, if you can bear it, BBC business editor Robert Peston!