It pains me that this speech was necessary, and it bothers me that the responsibility to make it fell on his shoulders. But these are things that needed to be said. And I'm glad they were. And while lots of people seem to think the "controversy" that prompted him to give this speech is going to hurt his chances of becoming our president, no single event in his campaign has done more to convince me that he is type of leader the United States desperately needs. Just, wow.
That said, the speech wasn't perfect. Like Melissa, I was left scratching my head over how he neglected to address the negativity Jeremiah Wright directed toward Hillary Clinton.
There's one significant (to me) issue I have, and it's his failure to mention Clinton (at least in the prepared text), at whom some of Wright's invective was personally directed. It probably wouldn't bother me except for the fact that Obama's been a little ungracious to her on a personal level during this campaign. Clearly, they and their surrogates have provided plenty of reason for them not to like one another, and maybe they don't—but they are still colleagues and ideological allies at the end of the day. And, call me old-fashioned, but I still would like my president to treat people, even people with whom s/he has disagreements, with respect, despite Bush having spent the past seven+ years trying to make that expectation an antiquated notion.
I don't like it when I see Obama turn his back on Clinton, or refuse to look at her during debates. I don't like that he has failed to say he expects his supporters to vote for her if she gets the nomination, and has generally ignored issues of sexism—which I strongly suspect is not because he doesn't care about it (he is the father of two daughters, after all), but because he worries that its mention will remind people of his opponent.
And I'm with Rachel about this:
... I’m an Obama supporter, but I really wish Obama would adopt a more balanced approach to Palestinian-Israeli relations. On the other hand, that would probably be political suicide. I can only hope that when he’s elected and the pressure lets off a little, he can afford to distinguish himself by promoting more even-handed solutions to peace in the Middle East.
But those and other small things aside, what a speech. Nearly forty minutes of sheer inspiration.