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January 21, 2009

Obama’s soundbyte failure

Gene Koo has a great post about why Obama’s speeches don’t produce sound bytes. Gene calls them “non-reductive.” The speeches are too complex for soundbytes. Obama’s soundbyte failure is, as Gene says, a strength, although he points out that politically Obama has also benefited from the ability of others — Will.i.am, for example — to produce soundbytes on his behalf.

I loved yesterday’s speech. I’ve loved it each time I’ve heard it. I liked it even more when I heard it on the radio, free of distractions. And Gene gets at why. The speech actually says something. It takes us through a set of gates to get to where we need to be. Gate 1: Yes, times are hard. We have to look at that squarely. But there is hope, based on some real things. Gate 2: We are pushing past the old contradictions that formed our idea of what is possible. Not big government or small government. Not security or liberty. Not Republican or Democract, black or white, Christian or Muslim or Jew or Hindu or non-believer (yay for the shout out!). Gate 3: Together, we are strong and resourceful and imaginative. Gate 4: We share, and should return to, our abiding values. Call them hope and virtue.

There was more in there. But, there was nothing I would take out. And there was also, therefore, little I would excerpt in pursuit of a soundbyte.

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