The Young Black Northerner vs. The Elderly Southerner

Early in Barack Obama‘s “The Audacity of Hope” Obama mentions an encounter that he had with Zell Miller. Despite the fact that they are both Democrats, the contrast between these two individuals is fascinating. As Obama puts it, “the elderly Southerner on his way out, the young black Northerner on his way in.” However, one might not think to even compare these two individuals had they not adopted opposing roles during the 2004 presidential election. Barack Obama and Zell Miller had been the keynote speakers at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, respectively. I had not been aware of this at the time, but now it seems to me that that was a momentous situation (not to mention a very pertinent situation to examine given the current build-up to the 2008 presidential election). Watch the videos of the speeches (Zell Miller wrote that Obama’s speech was one of the best he’d ever heard) and read some of my thoughts after the jump.

Here are the videos of the speeches. I recommend watching at least part 2 of Obama’s speech if you are only going to watch one of them. I think it should go down as a classic. But, it is also interesting to watch Miller’s speech and note the difference in strategy.
Barack Obama 2004 Democratic National Convention Part 1

Barack Obama 2004 Democratic National Convention Part 2

For some reason, I can’t find the full version of Zell Miller’s speech anymore although I remember watching it at some point. But, here is a video of “highlights” from the 2004 Republican National Convention that was produced by Bush-Cheney 2004. It is worth watching for how bizarre it is.
George W. Bush – RNC Highlights (2004)

My main observation was the contrast between Obama’s focus on hope and the Republican strategy of inducing fear. I think Obama’s delivery was excellent as well. Unfortunately, as Obama notes “it may not have been the most effective speech in terms of helping to win an election.”
I haven’t seen Obama speak as confidently since his 2008 campaign began. But, I think there is still time for him to get it back. What do people think about these videos?

For you further watching enjoyment, here are a couple more related videos:


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