Obama’s speech is TV ratings home run

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mockery is the sincerest form of flattery. That’s not how the saying goes, but the Obama campaign can take it that way.

Although the stage in which the Democratic nominee gave his acceptance speech on Thursday was ridiculed as the “Temple of Obama,” for its elaborate columned look drawing comparisons to an ancient Greek temple, it provided the backdrop for a television ratings success.

It was an elaborate setting. Some called it garish. But in this football stadium which houses the most loyal fan base in the NFL (based simply on the number of consecutive sold-out games), Barack Obama hit a home run, or more appropriately threw a touchdown. Perhaps even scored a hat-trick. At least in terms of television ratings.

At least 40 million people watched Obama’s acceptance speech. Giving this number some context, it topped the most watched night of the Beijing Olympics (roughly 35 million) and this year’s Oscars (32 million).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsUS Presidential Election 2008

20 Comments
Posted August 31, 2008 at 1:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Dave B wrote:

What speech? He gave a speech?  Tele prompted and staged I would suppose or did he stammer and say uh ummm?

I find comments like these to be way too cynical.  Even if you disagree with someone you need to give them their due.  If you watched the speech at all most would agree that his delivery was quite fine—ed.

August 31, 1:34 pm | [comment link]
2. Words Matter wrote:

I was not among the 40 million, since I rather know his views (from his record). I know he’s a powerful orator. I know he will say a number of things to appeal to independents, moderating this or that point. However, Sen. Obama is an ideological liberal, politically, and I expect him to govern accordingly, whatever he may say in made-for-television rhetoric.

I will watch Sen. McCain’s acceptance speech this coming week, for two reasons. He really is a moderate, and therefore less predictable. While he will certainly say things to attract the ideologically conservative Republican base, it’s possible he will articulate some core principles that inform his political philosophy. Also, he’s a wretched public speaker (c’mon, we all know that) and it will be great fun to see if his handlers can get his delivery up to a level where we don’t all wince and hang our heads.

If that seems unduly cynical, you should know that I remember the Kennedy/Nixon debate of 1960, determined, basically, by Kennedy’s superior makeup job.  I really don’t doubt this election could hinge on rhetorical skills as much as policy.

August 31, 1:40 pm | [comment link]
3. DonGander wrote:

“At least 40 million people watched Obama’s acceptance speech.”

Twice that number would watch his presentation

Frankly, I did not listen but most of what I do remember of him is “Uh”, “Umm”, etc..

Don

edited

August 31, 2:53 pm | [comment link]
4. Makersmarc wrote:

“WISDOM”?!  That’s what you call it?!  OMG!  Have you learned nothing from Hillary Clinton’s mistake?  Have you learned nothing about basic human decency?  No uhs or umms here: You CANNOT, in this day and age, evoke an image of [.....] (in any context) when referencing an African American, not if you don’t want the specter of racism being laid bare before the world.  Even if, as I’m sure is the case here, you don’t *intend* to betray a racist sentiment, you MUST be more sensitive to how something like that is heard by African Americans, the only way it *can* be heard by them.  It is the insensitivity and violence contained in such a statement that is at issue here.  (And just so you know, I’m particularly sensitive to this because, while I am white, I have a biracial neice and she, as do all African Americans, deserve better than this, especially from someone who would claim alleigiance to Christ.)

The comment to which this refers was edited to remove the unacceptable remark—ed.

August 31, 3:54 pm | [comment link]
5. Gretta wrote:

Don,
Really, [  ] are too close a reality to EVER talk about [.....] ANYONE. No joke, brother, that comment is so insensitive and awful that you may ask the elves to moderate it yourself. There is no way for it not to evoke a kind of racist violence that even today isn’t that far from the surface in some places. There is a reason that Obama has more Secret Service protection than the President.  Please - ask for your comment (and the follow ups as well) to be removed. Please.

The comment was edited—ed.

August 31, 4:45 pm | [comment link]
6. DonGander wrote:

Well, I find myself in a rather strange position. When I made the above comments the concept of race did not cross my mind. Well, I take some small comfort in the fact that I am no racist.

Now, sensitivity is a more complex issue. In my heart I do not want to be an insensitive person. Having worked for a person of color in his attempt to be elected to the US House of Representatives, and having a somewhat close relationship with him, I learned (from him) that often sensitivities are more the result of a weakness in the hearer rather than a flaw in the communication. What is best - for me to remove the painful push of my communication, or should the painful infection be dealt with?

This site belongs to Canon Harmon. I have zero interest in making him look bad. He is already free to remove any of my posts without regret or apology. I must consider further my own recommendation.

Don

August 31, 5:02 pm | [comment link]
7. Makersmarc wrote:

Sure, Don, push responsbility off on someone else.  Bottom line, the only thing at issue here, period: You made an inexcusably insensitive remark.  Your only response should be to apologize, have the comment removed, and refrain from ever making such a statement again.  Period.

August 31, 5:12 pm | [comment link]
8. BlueOntario wrote:

Don, don’t fret, you may not be alone in violating the ever-changing boundary of sensitivity. When I read your remarks I took offense that you would suggest someone [  ] for mearly running for president in a non-preferred party or on a non-agreed with platform. Race or races didn’t figure into it. I guess I’m as insensitive as you in that regard.  Or not; it’s quite confusing to know whether my opinions are insensitive or contain a bit of common sense. Someday I’ll find a way to keep a crib sheet at the ready and avoid such faux pas. I’ll let you know how when I do.

August 31, 5:36 pm | [comment link]
9. DonGander wrote:

8. BlueOntario:

It is for the reason that you present that I had ask the elves to delete my post.  Anyone running for president should even be immune from the consequences of poor choices in rhetorical devices. I have ask that my post be deleted.

I do communicate by accident at times. St. James is so correct.

Don

August 31, 5:53 pm | [comment link]
10. Makersmarc wrote:

Thank you, Don.

August 31, 5:59 pm | [comment link]
11. Gretta wrote:

Thank you Don. It was the right thing to do.

August 31, 6:11 pm | [comment link]
12. Mark Johnson wrote:

It was a great speech.  It reassured me that I’m definitely voting for him without hesitation and with great hope.
It’s interesting to note that Focus on the Family’s James Dobson as well as some other outspoken evangelicals had invited their followers to pray for rain so as to disrupt Obama’s planned outdoor speech.  It didn’t happen.  Now, a hurricane is disrupting the Republican convention.  Just an observation.  How do Dobson and the others explain this?

August 31, 8:10 pm | [comment link]
13. Sarah1 wrote:

I’m confident it was a great speech—though I didn’t see it.

Those who support his policies will of course vote for him.  Those who don’t, won’t.

I always adored Thatcher’s skills as an orator as well.  And since I agreed with her policies, I would have been happy to vote for her, had she been able to run in the US.

RE: “How do Dobson and the others explain this?”

Heh.  God wants the Republican Party to have the opportunity to shine in the public view 60 days prior to the election?

; > )

Nah . . . . . surely Mark Johnson could come up with a “better” answer for liberals.

August 31, 8:28 pm | [comment link]
14. Dave B wrote:

Dobson and the others probably explain it the same way I do, God is God and gets to do what He wants, something like Thy will be done!!!

August 31, 8:32 pm | [comment link]
15. Milton wrote:

#12 Mark, be careful how you interpret God’s control of weather re: the 2 conventions.  McCain looks and sounds like a calm, reassuringly sober-minded President on the spots explaining why the GOP convention will be shortened due to an emerging situation with the interests of the people affected coming before politics.  That’s an image that may have a lasting effect, all the way to November!

August 31, 8:48 pm | [comment link]
16. John Wilkins wrote:

Words Matter:  given your nom de plume, I’m surprised that you didn’t care to watch the speech.  It does demonstrate your ideological position, and also illustrates the broad ignorance of Obama’s position.  Of course, Obama is a “liberal.”  Is he ideological?  Not really.  He’s never been (much to the chagrin of plenty of real ideological liberals).

Personally, I’m tired of ideologues.  I’d like a pragmatist in power who wants to help the country get back on its feet.  Seems like he wants to do that.  Fortunately, McCain isn’t as ideological as Bush is either.

August 31, 11:13 pm | [comment link]
17. Chris Hathaway wrote:

Is he ideological?  Not really.

Have you actually looked at his voting record? He is the most liberal in the senate by that determination. He has never worked with Republicans when his party didn’t. If he isn’t strongly ideological wouldn’t that then make him simply a naked partisan? At least an ideology resembles a set of philosophical principlees that could justify such lockstep agreement with his party.

September 1, 7:51 am | [comment link]
18. Kendall Harmon wrote:

There is no question that Don’s remark was out of bounds, and it has been edited for that reason.  I was travelling almost all of yesterday and unable to get to this until today.

I was reassured that other commenters quite rightly took the boundary violation and named it clearly for what it was.  I am leaving the thread as it is now to serve as a reminder that words, and sensistivity with words matter.

I would ask that any further comment refer to the speech’s content and especially the extraordinary size of the viewing audience.

September 1, 7:58 am | [comment link]
19. Chris Hathaway wrote:

I don’t think Don’s remarks were out of bounds. I understood immediately the nonracist reference. Our collective hyper sensitivity is a cultural disease.

The editing job needs editing. It eviscerates his intended point. It should be rewritten as “Twice that number would watch his indictment” or “a road accident”.

September 1, 8:17 am | [comment link]
20. John Wilkins wrote:

Chris, I’m not sure where you get the “most liberal” senator from, but I’m not sure why I’d expect him to vote like a Republican.  National Journals statistics are quite flawed, if that’s what you mean.  I don’t read many republican and conservative websites because it is their job to antagonize him and get things wrong (and if they weren’t would they be doing their job?).  For the same reason, I’m skeptical about what lots of liberals say about Palin. 

I admit, I’m just not sure where you are coming from.  I know there is a world out there where people think that helping anyone is like being a “Marxist.”  I’ve even heard one conservative tell me that he didn’t teach his son to share because it was “creeping socialism.”  I told him I admired him for his consistency. 

But evidence has always been that Obama has a much more complicated world-view.  In one story he talks of a Kenyan relative in Africa - a small business person - who complained of government regulation; but also complained that the wealthy didn’t pay their fair share.  It doesn’t fit our current left-right model (although it did reflect liberal Republicanism in the early 20th century).  As I’ve said before, it seems that he reflects the system of “libertarian paternalism,” which I’m sure you know about.

September 1, 5:12 pm | [comment link]
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