Confidence: It's not hard to have when it looks probable that you'll be elected president. But in Manassas, Virginia last night, watching Barack Obama deliver his final major campaign speech, I was reminded of the fact that Obama has been so moving, so successful, and such a breath of fresh air as a Democrat in part because he has confidence in the rightness and appeal of his own values. Nobody forced Obama, on the eve of Election Day, to shout out gay people. Nobody forced him to tell a story in which, drinking wine one night, he agrees to visit Greenwood, South Carolina to campaign among local politicians the next day, only to wake up grumpy and then get confused by the rural geography. "You don't know you're in Greenwood right away when you get to Greenwood," he joked. "There are no tall buildings." And nobody forced Obama to adopt slogans from the labor or immigrants rights movements as campaign chants. ("Fired up, ready to go!" and "Yes We Can!")
Yet Obama did all these things, and he did them with confidence. His gift is that in his words, and in his personal story, the culture war stereotypes that have engulfed our politics lose their teeth, and seem, finally, as silly as they actually are.
When you think about this campaign, we've got a lot to be proud of when it comes to the tone that we've set. … We've tried to make sure that we're always reminding our supporters that all of us are in this together: black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Democrat, and Republican. Young and old. Rich and poor. Gay and straight. Disabled and not disabled. All of us have something to contribute. …
There are no real or or fake parts of Virginia any more than there are real or fake parts of America. There is no city or town that is less pro-America than anywhere else. We are all one nation. All of us proud. All of us patriots.
cross-posted at TAPPED