All this “Derrick Bell equals Jeremiah Wright,” suppressed video, “Obama the closet radical” talk might have heightened the fear-mongering back in ’08, but just watch how fast the so-called smoking-gun Andrew Breitbart was incubating disappears. If you watch and listen to the video of Harvard Law student Barack Obama speaking up for the outspoken professor, it’s not completely without consequences. The net, however, is that it’s actually flattering to Obama, and here are two reasons.
First, in these uncertain times (and in contrast to Romney who the country is having the hardest time getting to know), it doesn’t hurt that the Obama of twenty years ago — in his tone, intelligence, humor and conviction — sounds (and even looks) fantastically similar to the Obama of today. Not only does the video punctuate those qualities but it emphasizes to anyone paying attention just how consistent, durable and non-dangerous the President is.
Second, what the video documents is Obama’s ability, even then, to elevate at the key moment and not just engage but captivate people’s attention. (We’ll see more of it, guaranteed, between now and November.)