January 9, 2008

Barack Obama's new line: "Yes we can."

The highlight of his speech last night — which got the crowd chanting the refrain. Video. Text:
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't try, or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Yes we can.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.

And so tomorrow, as we take this campaign South and West; as we learn that the struggles of the textile worker in Spartanburg are not so different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas; that the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in America's story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea –
Yes. We. Can.
Okay, this strikes me as somewhere between grandiose and cornball. I'm not there in the crowd, where it might have worked very well. But these things are supposed to work on TV and YouTube. I don't want a preacher for President, though — and I know this will sound like a contradiction — I've been excited about the potential for Barack Obama to inspire us and transform us spiritually. But I have a problem with "Yes we can." It means: I can win the Presidency.

That's a very ordinary thing that any candidate wants to say to his supporters, so what makes it deserve this comparison to founding the country, ending slavery, and going to the moon? I've never before noticed that he was saying we ought to make him President so that America can have its first black President. But he seems to be saying that now.

Or maybe he's only saying that he's been inflating people with big hopes and the bad old Clintons have been trying to puncture them and we shouldn't let them.

ADDED: Glenn Reynolds is reminded of this:



But I thought first of this:



But if we're going to talk about children's stuff, there's this:



IN THE COMMENTS: Blue Moon writes:
"Yes we can" = "Si se puede" which was a slogan used by the late Cesar Chavez. "Yes we can" is intended to be code to Hispanic voters and remind them of the United Farm Workers and Chavez's crusade for better wages and better treatment.
Blue Moon cites the upcoming primaries in states with a large proportion of Hispanic voters. Not just Hispanic voters, I'd say, but union members. I see the Chavez theory already enshrined in the Wikipedia article about the slogan:
Sí se puede (Spanish for "Yes, It can be done!") is the motto of the United Farm Workers. In 1972, during Cesar Chavez's 25 day fast in Phoenix, Arizona, he and UFW's co-founder, Dolores Huerta came up with the slogan....

Sí se puede is usually translated in English, colloquially, as "yes, we can." The more literal translation that the United Farm Workers uses is "Yes, It can be done!"

Senator Barack Obama appropriated the English version "Yes, we can!" for his presidential campaign following his second place finish in the 2008 New Hampshire primary.

AND: "Si se puede" was also the chant heard in the huge pro-immigration rallies in 2006:
Organizers said their "national day of action for immigration justice" included events in more than 140 cities in at least 39 states, with drum-banging and flag-waving masses chanting "Si se puede" -- "Yes we can" -- in rallies from coast to coast.

112 comments:

B said...

`

Soaring pablum.

Baby Food.

Soaring.

But pablum nonetheless.

I would say "Where's the beef?" - but someone, somewhere, would then accuse me of racism. So:

Soaring (pablum).

`

Mortimer Brezny said...

Maybe I don't follow Obama closely enough, but I thought he has been saying this consistently.

Middle Class Guy said...

His mesage is aimed at callow youth. Us adults, who at one time were callow youth, no longer get it.

Jason said...

He stole it from the California Angels of 1979.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Yes we scam.

Ann Althouse said...

The reference point I heard was "Yes I Can" — the title of Sammy Davis's autobiography.

Meade said...

"Or maybe he's only saying that he's been inflating people with big hopes and the bad old Clintons have been trying to puncture them and we shouldn't let them."

That was my take: Hey, you Clintons, get off of our idealistic dream cloud! Obama is finding the voice for Generations X and Y to talk back to their loudmouth self-centered know-it-all old-and-in-the-way Boomer parents. (Without risking tuition, room & board.)

B said...

`
Just in:

Attorneys representing the estate of Sammy Davis, Jr. are suing the Obama campaign for trademark infringement over it's use of "Yes We Can".

A partial listing of other entities seeking to join the law suit includes:
Amway
Tony Robbins
The producers of "Avenue Q"
`

B said...

`

CNN is reporting that later today, Senator Obama will board his newly rechristened "Little Engine That Could Express".

`

joe said...

Can't have a serious policy discussion without a mindless chant.
New slogan for Hillary - Will Cry For Votes.

Palladian said...

"I've been excited about the potential for Barack Obama to inspire us and transform us spiritually."

I don't seek or desire a politician to inspire me or transform me "spiritually".

George said...

From Obama's website...

Live your best life.

Change doesn't have to be a big deal! Give your nation a lift. Vote Obama.

Ready for a new beginning? Listen in and take today's lesson from Sen. Obama.

Take the challenge! Are you ready to transform America's health, America's body politic, America's lives? Join the movement!

Obama helps children learn that they can make a difference! Help build more schools and create programs to help impoverished women and children.

Change your life in just minutes!

Next November: A brand-new America. Get more energy and deeper rest! Give your country a lift—the self-esteem repair kit. And more!





(Actually, the above is modified from Oprah.com.)

Kirby Olson said...

But I have a problem with "Yes we can." It means: I can win the Presidency.

I think Hillary's saying the same thing. It's race versus gender. And then there's Edwards who's trying to ignite a class war.

So it's race, gender, class. Younger people who have been indoctrinated with that triad are going for it, but people who are looking for something less ... Marxist ... aren't going to go for it.

John Kindley said...

Obama said ... "three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea –
Yes. We. Can."

The "We" part is the fantasy element that pervades and guts this "hope-filled" speech. Don't get me wrong. I'm a Christian, and hope that brotherly love (especially in the form of concrete support and assistance)may gloriously spread throughout the land, and beyond, since we are all citizens of the world. But we have to always remember that a candidate running for President of the U.S. government must necessarily be talking about what he proposes that "we" should accomplish through coercion and the threat of coercion and violence. In the words of Albert Jay Nock, quoting Thomas Jefferson (apologies if I've cited this passage here before; I know I've cited it on other blogs):

"What is it, [Jefferson] asks, that has 'destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all powers into one body, no matter whether of the autocrats of Russia or France, or of the aristocrats of a Venetian senate.' The secret of freedom will be found in the individual 'making himself the depository of the powers respecting himself, so far as he is competent to them, and delegating only what is beyond his competence, by a synthetical process, to higher and higher orders of functionaries, so as to trust fewer and fewer powers in proportion as the trustees become more and more oligarchical.' This idea rests on accurate observation, for we are all aware that not only the wisdom of the ordinary man, but also his interest and sentiment, have a very short radius of operation; they can not be stretched over an area of much more than township-size; and it is the acme of absurdity to suppose that any man or any body of men can arbitrarily exercise their wisdom, interest and sentiment over a state-wide or nation-wide area with any kind of success. Therefore the principle must hold that the larger the area of exercise, the fewer and more clearly defined should be the functions exercised. Moreover, 'by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend,' there is erected the surest safeguard against usurpation of freedom. 'Where every man is a sharer in the direction of his ward-republic, or of some of the higher ones, and feels that he is a participator in the government of affairs, not merely at an election one day in the year, but every day;... he will let the heart be torn out of his body sooner than his power wrested from him by a Caesar or a Bonaparte.'"

Richard Dolan said...

I have two problems with Ann's take on this. Ann wants to analyze the text for substance and finds it wanting. That misses what Obama is doing here. Obama's rhetoric is better compared to poetry than prose; and it's better understood when heard (which is why poetry is best read out loud rather than silently). It's about cadence and rhythm and casting a spell. On that level, Obama's rhetoric clearly works. And it's been a cliche since Plato that powerful poetry can and does move politics, to the point where it can be dangerously misused.

Second, Ann is disappointed that she finds nothing in Obama's rhetoric other than a pitch for himself. But his point is to wrap himself in the larger metaphor of America, to make himself the embodiment of America's promise and hopes. His success to date is that he has the poet's skill to pull that off (somewhat, anyway).

By the same token, it's just a truism that no one reads poetry because they expect to find profound philosophic insights, or economic analysis, or 14-point plans to cure what ails us. Thus, it's no surprise that we don't find any of that in Obama's speeches -- it's not his point, it's not what he is trying to do, and thus it's a bit perverse to complain that he's not doing it in these speeches. I haven't followed his campaign, but presumably he is leaving that stuff to more detailed position papers.

Obama's rhetoric is an interesting combination of preacherly call-and-response sytle suffused with quasi-religious language and Reaganesque "morning in America" stuff. In a strange way, he is presenting himself as the new Reagan. People used to dismiss him as all fluff and no substance too. And look where it got Ronnie (just not on his first try).

Bissage said...

Three words are fine but four words are better!

Slim999 said...

Laugh if you want.

"Yes, we can!" got Deval Patrick elected the first black governor or the state of Massachusetts.

And that's exactly who the Osama ... sorry, Obama ... campaign plagarized this campaign slogan from.

With permission, I'd bet.

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"The reference point I heard was 'Yes I Can' — the title of Sammy Davis's autobiography."

Just made me think of "Bob the Builder."

Middle Class Guy said...

Bissage said...
Three words are fine but four words are better!

Four words or four letter words?

Blue Moon said...

"Yes we can" = "Si se puede" which was a slogan used by the late Cesar Chavez. "Yes we can" is intended to be code to Hispanic voters and remind them of the United Farm Workers and Chavez's crusade for better wages and better treatment. Look at the calendar and there are several states with large hispanic populations:

Jan 19 - Nevada
Jan 29 - Florida (won't count allegedly)
Feb 5 -- Calif, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico (Richardson should be out of the race officially by then), Oklahoma

Bill_45 said...

I think of A Tribe Called Quest's "Can I Kick It?"

Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!)
Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!)
Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!)
Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!)
Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!)
Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!)
Well, I'm gone (Go on then!)

...Rock and roll to the beat of the funk fuzz
Wipe your feet really good on the rhythm rug
If you feel the urge to freak, do the jitterbug
Come and spread your arms if you really need a hug

Blue Moon said...

Bill_45:

Thank you for that -- great song.

EDH said...

Slimm999,

You're right about the slogan of Mass Gov Deval Patrick, former Clinton appointee but now Obama supporter.

Now, following a lagging first year of the Patrick administration, after so much breathless hope, the disappointment is likely to be used as a cautionary example against Obama.

The Clintons will happily repay Patrick's disloyalty.

Tim said...

"Or maybe he's only saying that he's been inflating people with big hopes and the bad old Clintons have been trying to puncture them and we shouldn't let them."

That would be the most charitable explanation. But as noted by Blue Moon above, the expression enjoys a favorable pedigree in the realm of Democrat activists, and it affirmatively serves as the chorus for those looking for inspiration and spiritual transformation.

But folks looking for that from politicians will always, always be disappointed.

jawats said...

Someone..anyone...how many times has Obama used references to Kennedy in the past month?

Middle Class Guy said...

The references to Kennedy are code words.

What are dead presidents? Cash!

He wants our dead presidents to finance more government failure.

Moose said...

Like a quart of Hagaan Daz after a bad day, Obama appeals to that "I gotta feel good now" portion of the American psyche. Obama is a simplistic solution to a complex problem, differentiated from all the other populists by an excellent speaking style and his race.

Obama appeals to white guilt and the cult of personality which too often passes for informed consent for leadership in the country. We were lucky with Reagan, not so lucky with W. We'll be paying the price of for Obama for years to come should he be elected.

bfunke said...

The reference point I heard was "Yes I Can" — the title of Sammy Davis's autobiography.

You know what the title of that book should be? "Yes, I Can If Frank Sinatra Says It's OK".

pardon my Spinal Tap reference.

madawaskan said...

than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas


This is shrewd.

Supposedly Hillary and Obama are vying for the endorsement of The Culinary Worker's Union here in Vegas.

Nevada caucus goes off on January 19th.

the public forum aspect of a caucus seems to be tailor made for a union, and btw the Culinary Worker's Union here in Vegas is huge.

Not only do they have the dishwashers, waiters and waitresses, but they have the housekeeping side of the house at the hotels also.

They are the union in Vegas.

Also they play it shrewd. Their political director is straight from the streets and guess what?

They've tossed their support behind local Republicans a few times.

So this guy may keep Obama and Hillary on the ropes awhile.

PatCA said...

Blue Moon has it correct. As someone familiar with CA farm worker history, I think it's a call out to Hispanics too. That's why the allusions to dishwashers in Vegas, etc.

As soon as I heard it, I knew he was moving on to win the West. His entire campaign rests on the same old "workers unite you have nothing to lose but your chains" meme, which he learned in his Saul Alinsky apprenticeship. Someday, I supposed, the socialists may succeed at igniting class warfare in the US, but right now I think most immigrants come here not because they hate the rich, but because they want to be rich.

Patm said...

Sammy Davis said it first and better.

Eli Blake said...

middle class guy:

I'm sick of listening to dogmatic right-wingers going on about 'Government failure.'

Maybe that's what they've trained us to expect, but why not look at the fact that Government has has a lot of successes:

Here are just a few big Government programs which were not only resounding successes but in the end stimulated the private sector by making benefits available that they couldn't have gotten done on their own because the intial outlay of money would have made these things in and of themselves unprofitable:

* The eradication of smallpox worldwide, and of polio and malaria in America.
* The interstate highway system.
* Rural electrification and the electric grid.
* The Manhattan Project.
* The Apollo program.
* The Human Genome Project (mostly funded by other Governments, especially the British, after our own dropped the ball on it.)
* The internet. The Government didn't invent it but they raised the money to tie together existing small networks and build the world wide web via a telephone tax.

Yes, there are situations where private industry can be more efficient than the Government. But I'm sick of people characterizing all Government programs as failures because they are not. Further, if we'd not had the above then I doubt if the United States today would be much further along than, say, most countries in Latin America.

Palladian said...

"Yes, there are situations where private industry can be more efficient than the Government. But I'm sick of people characterizing all Government programs as failures because they are not."

Funny, because most of those things on your list are the result of, in one way or another, military research and spending, which is the one sector of the Big Government that liberals tend to despise.

Edgeworth Clip said...

"Yes We Can", or in Spanish, "Si Se Puede" was the rallying cry of the pro-illegal immigration activists in 2006. Maybe Obama is making a pitch for this segment of the electorate?

Tim said...

"Further, if we'd not had the above then I doubt if the United States today would be much further along than, say, most countries in Latin America."

Writing of Latin America, wanna-be-smart Liberals should one day study turn-of-the previous century Argentina's economic conditions and then explain to the rest of us how the government they envision would produce different results.

Palladian said...

One key difference is that private industry generally can't take away your liberty when you fail to go along with or support their schemes. The government can and does. If a private industry performed as poorly as the government did in many areas, people would stop giving them money and they'd shut down. If you stop giving your money to the government they put you in prison.

Eli Blake said... "Here are just a few big Government programs which were ... resounding successes ...

* The eradication of smallpox worldwide, and of polio and malaria in America.
* The interstate highway system.
* Rural electrification and the electric grid.
* The Manhattan Project.
* The Apollo program.
* The Human Genome Project...
* The internet..."


Maybe you're happy being a serf. At least you can drive your decoded DNA 1000 miles to a secret DoD ICBM test site and be confident that you'll have enough power out there in the sticks to charge up your laptop and blog about the blast-off without worrying about bringing your mosquito netting or an iron lung. Don't forget to pay your taxes before you go.

Dave said...

"Yes, we can" should always resonate with those who feel the system is somehow failing them. And, of course, the system is always failing someone due to both its design and reality. Thus, this appeal will always work, some.

The larger question is whether or not it will work with enough people. Of that I'm not so sure, since it tends to appeal most to those on the margins who don't tend to vote as much. It is harder to motivate those people than might be thought (at least by some).

I have zero problem with this motto and appeal, but I wonder (and I stole this somewhat from reports of Jonah Goldberg's comment) what the result may be of mobilizing a great many people with this and then failing to win election (or even the nomination). What will the disappointed do? Perhaps in the best case be even more discouraged from engaging the system than in the past, and in the worst case making BDS look like a minor emotional upheaval.

I think the potential for a bad outcome (assuming Obama fails at one or the other, but it would be worse if he wins the nomination and loses the election) is reasonably high.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Yes, there are situations where private industry can be more efficient than the Government. But I'm sick of people characterizing all Government programs as failures because they are not.

Eli

I think that stems from the fact that many of those on the list go back more than a few decades whereas the taxpayer asks what have you done for me lately?

I think in terms of research and development government programs can do wonders. I think in terms of social programs, it's a disaster. Welfare, public housing, entitlement spending is a massive drain on this nation and while I don't advocate a complete removal of them, yes I think there is a moral obligation to help the downtrodden, I also don't think it should be open-ended with no accountability because it simply perpetuates the condition rather than remedy it.

Eli Blake said...

palladian:

Certainly the Manhattan Project was a military application and the Apollo program was a Cold War response to Sputnik.

The interstate highway program was pushed through by Ike after he saw Hitler's similar programs, but even at the time faster commerce and travel were used as selling points.

The rest of them are not military.

However, it does not matter what the motivation was, the point is that the old mantra that Big Government can't do anything right or useful, is proven incorrect by the record.

the wolf said...

"Yes, I am."

--Dr. Galakawiecz

Anthony said...

"Can we fix it -- Yes we can" was the slogan of the New Zealand First party a few years back.

Eli Blake said...

hoosier daddy:

The world wide web was created less than two decades ago, and the Human Genome Project was completed about three years ago.

And I'm not even saying that there isn't a role for private industry:

For example, regarding the HGP, once private enterprises accepted the fact that publically financed institutions (in this case, a group of several government funded research institutions around the world acting in concert) were providing the heavy lifting for the project, a productive partnership developed.

But the really best argument in favor of public funding, the argument that really hits the ball out of the park here, is that the genome, now completed, is free and accessible to anyone who wants to look at it. Suppose for a moment, that a private company had in fact carried out this project and sequenced the entire genome. Do you suppose they would simply open it up to free inspection, and tell potential competitors, 'Here?' They would have guarded it like Colonel Sanders guarded his secret recipe, and if they let any of it out at all, you can be sure that it would have only been in pieces, and at a hefty price. In the long run, research into applications would be limited only to that company, and to those who they chose to give the information to. And to compound matters, competitors, not willing to allow that situation to continue permanently, would have certainly begun their own DNA sequencing project. So, the same research would probably be done half a dozen, a dozen or even more times, resulting in a tremendous waste of academic resources. But now, none of them will have to do that, they can go to the public database of the project, and go get anything and everything they want either for free or for a nominal fee.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Yes we can. We can what?

I'll be ever grateful to a high school Social Studies teacher, back when they actually taught us things, for being introduced to the concept of "Glittering Generalities" and the idea that we should examine speeches for these so we can really understand what is happening to us when people we listen to politicians and others who would persuade us.

Glittering generalities are emotionally appealing words so closely associated with highly valued concepts and beliefs that they carry conviction without supporting information or reason. Such highly valued concepts attract general approval and acclaim. The appeal is to emotions such as love of country, home; desire for peace, freedom, glory, honor, etc. They ask for approval without examination of the reason. They are typically used by politicians and propagandists. The term may have originated with the Institute for Propaganda Analysis.

A glittering generality has two qualities:

It is vague
It has positive connotations


The totality of what I have heard from all of these politicians, with the possible exception of Fred Thompson, consists of these Glittering Generalities. Possibly this is why people find Fred, boring. He is telling us the plain unvarnished truth without the glitz or bling bling.

SteveR said...

Soon to be joined by Home Depot:

"You can do it, We can help"

Pastafarian said...

I don't need a president that will transform me spiritually. I just don't.

Roger said...

I understood that Ike worked to create the Insterstate system in part because he feared a post WWII depression--it was, of course, a jobs program and justified by military necessity.

That said, the arguments about public sector versus private sector are a bit misleading. There are good economic reasons for government involvement and good reasons for private sector involvement--it is at the boundaries where we can argue about effectiveness of eith public or private sector production (the production possibility frontier is what I think its called). It is ultimately determined by political and social considerations as much as economic considerations.

Simon said...

WRT the update - ahem! I'd like to point out I beat Glen to than punch by almost an hour.

BSing said...

"Yes, we can" = "si, se puede". Lots of weight in those words.

Clever, imho.

Rocker 419 said...

Can we run the economy into the ground with taxes and fees? "Yes We Can." Can we run and hide from al-Quida and terrorists like a small dog with his tail between his legs? "Yes We Can." Can we come up with a government program that will guarantee killing incentives for medical research? "Yes We Can!" Can we fool most of the American people long enough with catchy rhymes and Baptist Preacher-like sing-song retoric that will get people excited even though they don't have a clue? "YES WE CAN!"

knoxwhirled said...

Eli,

Most conservatives don't believe that "all" government programs are failures, just most of them. There are very, very few things the big, lumbering government can do well. You've listed just a few of them... yet the number of government programs that waste money and serve no useful purpose is overwhelming.

The crux of the matter for me is that in the private sector, you are accountable for your ideas and your own success or failure. This tends to make people work and think hard before investing time and money into a venture. In the government, someone can simply say, "Oh I have an idea! Let's fund it!" The taxpayer forks over the money, and it's funded into perpetuity, regardless of its effectiveness.

The increasingly poor performance of public schools is an example. It's obvious to everyone there's a big problem, but because the government has a stranglehold with no competition, the people in charge have no real motivation to change anything. At one time, you could have listed American schools on your list. Not anymore. Things have changed, and the government doesn't know how to adapt or innovate.

Hoosier Daddy said...

For example, regarding the HGP, once private enterprises accepted the fact that publically financed institutions (in this case, a group of several government funded research institutions around the world acting in concert) were providing the heavy lifting for the project, a productive partnership developed.

And I have no problem with that. Actually you pointed out the crux of the issue. The government was doing the heavy lifting therefore private industry saw less risk. Lets face it, because the government can tax it essentially has a guaranteed stream of income. A corporaration does not therefore a private corportation has to do a lot more risk analysis (finanacially) than the government does. Considering that taxpayer funds funded the lion's share of the HGM, it darn well better be publically available.

I personally have few issues with corporate/government sponserships. The examples you have shown demonstrated the effectiveness and benefits. I have issues with government running social programs which have done nothing more than balloon into massive entitlement programs that have created generations of dependency.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

*The eradication of smallpox worldwide, and of polio and malaria in America.
* The interstate highway system.
* Rural electrification and the electric grid.
* The Manhattan Project.
* The Apollo program.
* The Human Genome Project...
* The internet..."


I would have to say that each of these is traditionally a governmnet function, with the excepton of rural electrification; the exception there is that the TVA was a Depression Era jobs program that actually had a job to do, which is why it can be counted as a success. Absent the Depression, private industry probably would have tackled the job on their own.

Crimso said...

"since we are all citizens of the world"

I hereby renounce my citizenship!

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

It is the areas where government does not have a traditional role (that role being area that cannot or should not be done by private entities) such as Charity, that they have seen the biggest failures, those failures being measured by the same results as accomplished by the private sector.

dix said...

"Yes, we can!" got Deval Patrick elected the first black governor or the state of Massachusetts.

Technically it was 'Together, we can'. Now, a year into the Patrick regime, I don't think that anyone can deny that 'Together, we have'.

Middle Class Guy said...

...the point is that the old mantra that Big Government can't do anything right or useful, is proven incorrect by the record.

Government can and does some things that are beneficial. but please tell me why my tax money should go to various social entitlement programs, social justice programs, and social engineering programs that help no one and only employ government bureaucrats?

I have an idea. Why not just donate more of your own money to the government, instead of having them take more of mine.

I do not feel proud when I see so much of my hard earned money missing from my check. I do not equate government finance of failure with patriotism. I do not aspire to poverty or to be kept in my place.

Middle Class Guy said...

Rocker 419

You da man!

Crimso said...

"pardon my Spinal Tap reference."

Damn you bfunke! That was gonna be my take!

Michael_H said...

Yes We Can? Sounds sorta like the tag line in a Viagra commercial, don't it?

I see a commercial with an attractive group of healthy and fit lookin' folks in their 50s enjoying some kinda happy event, with the announcer confidently intoning the phrase Yes We Can!

And everyone smiles knowingly. Why yes, yes we can. And it will be really good, much better sex than you are (or are not) having.

Yes we can! Maybe right now and again later. Yes. We. Can.

Johnny V said...

Let me just say that, even though Barack uses a teleprompter, he just makes those like McCain look horrendous when they look down...It's simply non-engaging with notecards. Barack and Hillary's victory speeches in New Hampshire and Iowa:

Inspirational Tales

Johnny V said...

Inspirational Tales

Beth said...

If he starts using the Pointer Sisters' recording of the wonderful Alan Toussaint song, "Yes We Can Can" then I'm on board. Who knew that's all it would take?

Anthony said...

Ike's involvement actually went back to 1919. Using the experience of WWI, the Army wanted to see if trucks could replace trains as the primary method of moving troops long distance. So Ike was send with a small group of troops to see how long it would take to go from Washington to California.

Because of the state of the roads, it took a long time. But it make an impression on Ike.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann:

I have a Sinatra CD from his days with Count Basie in Vegas circa 1965 or so.

On it, he mentions Sammy Davis' book titled "Yes I Can" and says he watched Sammy's TV special after which he sent Sammy a three-word telegram reading ...."No you can't" . A Sinatra gag of course but funny and memorable.

Kirby Olson said...

Obamanable Demagogueria.

Beth said...

I propose a new format for the next Hillary-Obama debate.

Middle Class Guy said...

Crimso said...
"since we are all citizens of the world"

I hereby renounce my citizenship!


Does that mean that you are now an international illegal alien?

Crimso said...

More like a man without a world.

MadisonMan said...

On it, he mentions Sammy Davis' book titled "Yes I Can" and says he watched Sammy's TV special after which he sent Sammy a three-word telegram reading ...."No you can't" .

Imagine Barack and Hillary in this scene.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

More like a man without a world.

Arthur Dent posts on Althouse!!!

Crimso said...

Now I must be going. Please don't ask why. Just go about your business...

Crimso said...

Oh, and don't worry at all about global warming.

Revenant said...

Obama is finding the voice for Generations X and Y to talk back to their loudmouth self-centered know-it-all old-and-in-the-way Boomer parents. (Without risking tuition, room & board.)

Um, Meade... the youngest members of Generation X are in their 30s. Most of us have our OWN kids by now.

MadisonMan said...
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peter hoh said...

I always suspected that Bob the Builder was subversive. Now we have proof.

What's next? Finding out that "I love you. You love me. We're a happy family." is a direct translation of some lines in Mao's Little Red Book?

Beth said...

MadMan -- you must have been searching You Tube just as I was posting that same link. I really, really wanted Ethel Merman's version, but no luck!

D. B. Light said...

What probably resonates most with Obama's youthful supporters is Alan Toussaint's version of "Yes We Can Can".

It starts,
"This is the time for all good men to get together with one another.

Iron out their problems and iron out their quarrels, and try to love one another."

Well, you gut the idea . It would be a perfect fit as an Obama anthem. And it has a rockin' beat that is easy to dance and sway to. I can see the rallies now.

MadisonMan said...
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MadisonMan said...

Beth, yes indeed! I should have hit your link.

I wonder why my post shows up at 3 different times! Time to hit the trash can!

Hoosier Daddy said...

Um, Meade... the youngest members of Generation X are in their 30s. Most of us have our OWN kids by now.

Thanks Rev, that really cheers me up.

Last week I was in a Subway station getting a sandwhich and they were playing Boy George's 'I'll Tumble For Ya' on the radio and the girl making my sandwich said: "I really like some of this old music."

Unlike Hillary, my tears were for real.

I'm starting to think wanting that 4th tattoo and a motorcycle really is the sign of an impending mid-life crisis.

JohnTaylor88 said...

According to Chris Matthews on Cuppa Joe, that wikipedia entry is wrong. He was saying it a week ago.

MPH said...

This is the year 2008. Why does his audience/flock act like it is 1968?

Do you think anyone who was there felt a twinge of embarrassment by the time they got home? It is seriously embarrassing the way he talks to people (Hillary's condescension is of a different form).

Bob the Builder is a good analogy because Obama is essentially talking as we might to a five-year-old.

Revenant said...

Last week I was in a Subway station getting a sandwhich and they were playing Boy George's 'I'll Tumble For Ya' on the radio and the girl making my sandwich said: "I really like some of this old music."

That's a funny coincidence. I was in a Subway a while back and "Living on a Prayer" came on. My first thought was "you know, I didn't like this song, but it has really grown on me". My second thought was that the girl making my sandwich hadn't been born yet when it came out -- 20 years ago. :(

Revenant said...

On the plus side, I still see teenagers wearing Led Zeppelin t-shirts. This gives me hope for the future.

Crimso said...

And AC DC T-shirts (on my own kids), a band I never really liked. Of course, their mother is 100% behind Kucinich, so maybe I should go to court on those two points alone and try to get custody.

Blake said...

Eli,

The Internet started as ARPANet (Advance Research Projects Agency) later renamed DARPA (D for Defense). The impetus and design was certainly military.

Now, list the failed government programs.

:-)

Roger said...

Failed govt programs: my particular favorite was CETA, but almost any welfare program probably makes the grade. Head Start is certainly a potential nominee: read any literature review on studies of head start effectiveness and it's about 50-50. WIC programs, while they may do some good, are basically farm subsidy programs; and almost any farm or cropland program can go in the failed category; finally, the Army Corps of Engineers channelization program is right up there.

Roger said...

A couple more failed programs (admittedly program is a bit of stretch): the Susan B Anthony and Sacagewea dollar coins

Middle Class Guy said...

I remember CETA, a jobs for people who did not want to work program. The applicants received job training or skills training. They showed up for work, did nothing all day, and got a pay check.

WHen it finally ended many of those highly trained skilled workers went back on the welfare roles.

At least that was how it worked in Chicago.

Bissage said...

For those who are in to it.

reader_iam said...

Oh, Beth, I could have saved you time. I once did a big search for versions of this song in video. (Was it for a comment on this blog, or someone else's? Mine even? Damned if I can recall.) I do have multiple versions in audio, including Merman's.

But I really like the one to which you linked, and it's my son's fave--in fact, we just had to watch it three times; he likes to act it out.

Why do I think I'm setting up a joke here???

(Oh, and btw, I can say ANYthing FASTER than THEY can--if I do say so, myself.

Yes I can, yes I can, yes I can!)

Trooper York said...

I understand that Fred Thompson is suing the Obama campaign for stealing his wife's personal slogan. It seems when she is on the campaign trail, all of the men in the audience wave and shout in unison: "Yes, great cans!"

Revenant said...

Now, list the failed government programs.

Well, a cynic would say that the primary purpose of virtually all government programs is to take large amounts of money from one class of people and give it to another, usually larger, class of people that either votes or contributes heavily to Congressional campaign coffers. So in that sense, most government programs are a roaring success.

For example, if you consider the purpose of Medicare to be "transferring hundreds of billions of dollars from younger people to the elderly" then it must be said that Medicare is entirely successful in doing so. If, on the other hand, you honestly believe the political schtick about how Medicare exists to prevent elderly people from going without health care then the program must be judged a miserable failure, since the overwhelming majority of its budget goes to paying medical expenses for people who have the money to cover them themselves (and who, for that matter, are usually richer than the workers whose tax money is paying the bills).

Let's see, what else...

Well, we can safely list pretty much all of the Great Society programs related to the "War on Poverty" as dismal failures. Forty years later they have not only failed to end poverty, but have done an excellent job of destroying the inner cities and family structures.

Next on the list, of course, would be Social Security, which currently has several trillion dollars in future obligations and zero dollars in investments to pay them with.

Next would be farm subsidies, the ostensible purpose of which is to protect family farmers. American family farmers continue to rapidly vanish from the face of the Earth; meanwhile, the subsidies have the triple effect of (a) enriching large corporations, (b) impoverishing third-world farmers, thereby increasing both world unrest and illegal immigration to America, and (c) driving up food prices, thereby hurting poor people.

Next up on the list: the CIA, BATF, and DEA, all three of which are hopelessly incompetent at the tasks for which they were ostensibly created.

For that matter, let's go ahead and toss the "War on Drugs" onto the list of failed government programs. Unless its goal was to increase both crime and the population of untreated drug addicts while reducing American legal rights and spending hundreds of billions of dollars, I think you'd have to say that it isn't meeting its goals.

I could go on, but why bother? The programs I've listed above already amount to more than two-thirds of the non-debt-related federal budget, and the overwhelming majority of the non-defense budget.

Mr. Forward said...

Yes, Wiccan = The witchcraft Version

Yes. Wii can = The Nintendo version

Yes! weekend! = The TGIF version

Jim C. said...

I remember an Air Canada ad that aired in the US years ago:

"And since Canada is our home,
We can show you a Canada you've never known
Yes we can, Air Canada, yes--we--can!"

DANEgerus said...

Isn't it... interesting... how a Hawaiian kid who went to private schools his whole life can adopt the southern accent and cadence in speech of a baptist minister?

Like Barack Hussein Obama's "mentor" and "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright:

Since the 1980s, Obama has not only remained a regular attendee at Wright's services in his inner city mega church, Trinity United Church of Christ, along with its other 8,500 members, he's been a close disciple and personal friend of Wright. Wright conducted Obama's marriage to his wife Michelle, baptized his two daughters, and blessed Obama's Chicago home.
...
Wright on 9/11: "White America got their wake-up call after 9/11. White America and the Western world came to realize people of color had not gone away, faded in the woodwork, or just disappeared as the Great White West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns." On the Sunday after the attacks, Dr. Wright blamed America.

Wright on the disappearance of Natalee Holloway: "Black women are being raped daily in Africa. One white girl from Alabama gets drunk at a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and gives it up while in a foreign country and that stays in the news for months."

Wright on Israel: "The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for over 40 years now. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community and wake up Americans concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism."

Wright on America: He has used the term "middleclassness" in a derogatory manner; frequently mentions "white arrogance" and the "oppression" of African-Americans today; and has referred to "this racist United States of America.

Wright laced into America's establishment, blaming the "white arrogance" of America's Caucasian majority for the woes of the world, especially the oppression suffered by blacks. To underscore the point he refers to the country as the "United States of White America." Many in the congregation, including Obama, nodded in apparent agreement as these statements were made.
...
"Young African-American men," Wright thundered, were "dying for nothing." The "illegal war," he shouted, was "based on Bush's lies" and is being "fought for oil money."

In a sermon filled with profanity, Wright also blamed the war on "Bush administration bulls--t."

Those are the types of statements that have led to MSNBC's Tucker Carlson describing Wright as "a full-blown hater."

Tom Maguire
I'd certainly be more comfortable with a presidential nominee whose main spiritual man
1) hadn't visited Col. Qaddafi (even back in '84);

2) talked less about "oppression" and "this racist United States of America;"

3) when discussing the solution to poverty, talked more about individual achievement and less about the role of "community"--including maybe even celebrating "middleclassness" instead of using it as shorthand for selfishness;

4) in general wasn't so obsessed with race--as evidenced most negatively in talk of "white arrogance" and derogatory reference to the "Great White West." ...

"In 1984, he traveled to Cuba to teach Christians about the value of nonviolent protest and to Libya to visit Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, along with the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Mr. Wright said his visits implied no endorsement of their views. . . . " -- Taranto
...
On the Sunday after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Mr. Wright said the attacks were a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later he wrote that the attacks had proved that "people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just 'disappeared' as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns."-- Taranto
...
"...as a presidential candidate, Obama does owe voters some clarification on where he does and does not agree with Wright. Does Obama agree with Wright that the US is the “United States of white America?” Is he running for the presidency of that country, or the one that actually exists?" -- Bryan at Hot Air

Richard Fagin said...

Sammy Davis, Jr. had talent.

Trooper York said...

Although Sammy Davis Jr. was of diminutive stature, he was not technically an Oompa-Loumia. The recent revelations about the three way he had with his wife and Linda Lovelace has led many to assume he was in fact a Munchkin.

PatCA said...

Well, Obama got the endorsement of the Vegas unions today, and they reported they will be happy to change the status quo on illegal immigration with President Obama's help.

I believe his "yes, we can" was a callout to them. He lost to Hillary and needed them now.

George said...

Dane--

Sigh.

First, you place Rev. Wright's honorific in quotation marks, as though he is not an ordained minister. "In 1975, Wright earned an additional Master’s degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He received a Doctor of Ministry Degree from United Theological Seminary in 1990 (where he studied under Samuel DeWitt Proctor). Wright also has seven honorary doctorate degrees." Says Wiki.

As for his rhetoric, I'm a Methodist. And white. There are national leaders and local ministers in my supposedly boring and conservative denomination who espouse equally, shall we say, challenging positions. The Presbyterians are even more radical.

For those who think that Sen. Obama's church is some weird cult, check out his church's weekly bulletin. Scroll to about page 20 and you'll see all the groups of church members working with the dying, the AIDS patients, cancer patients, convicts, the homeless. Sounds like a pretty good church.

And, PS, I'm for Fred, not Obama.

Beth said...

reader, you have a great kid. He reads newspapers and likes show tunes -- there's hope for the future.

Palladian said...

UCC is for people who want to be Unitarians but still (for one reason or other) need to pretend to believe in God.

PatCA said...

Yes, Palladian, and it's for those who need their religion tinged with a little "social justice."

Ricardo said...

You may want to resurrect this thread ... and it's theme of "Yes we can" ... because his speech in South Carolina today was one of the best I've seen in the 50+ years I've been watching elections. It is clear that Obama has a message that people want to hear, but that up until now he hasn't yet hit his stride with the presentation. He came very close today (January 10) in South Carolina, and if he can build on this he can win the election. Look at this as "performance art".

Timothy said...

To all you republicans out there who have something stupid to say about his speech let me just say one thing to you.

You are the same people who elected bush to office for 8 years and look what we have to show for it. A medicare program that doesn't work, a war we should of never been involved in, economy is headed for a recession, and a president who is so dumb you sometimes wonder how far he got in school.

So how about this, we all learned when we were younger that if you don't have nothing nice to say then don't say anything at all. As far as republicans go I would prefer never to hear you at ALL. So take your right winged ass somewhere else because it doesn't belong here!

Blake said...

All right, which one of you clowns died and made Timothy king?

Lotoy said...

Althouse, I'm certain someone said it before but just to repeat. I highly doubt obama's post election/concessionary speech was meant to give profound insight into his plans and policies if he was to become America's president. And of course he is saying yes I can and should be voted President. Why wouldn't he be pushing that idea. I'm assuming you realise what this whole process is leading up to right. I supported this man from the start and it pained me that other black voters were not too keen on him because he was not 'Black enough' but I see where his vision for a UNITED States of America has gotten black voters thinking less that he is too concerned with other races, etc. and now seeing him as the candidate that can unite a divided nation and take it back on the path of being the great nation it is supposed to be. Obama has NEVER played the race card. He cannot nor should he ever want to deny who he is: an America AND a Black man. I dont see Obama playing the race card, so tell me why do you. Another thing, regarding the 'yes we can issue' haven't we all at some point or another told ourselves "yes I can", have we never encouraged a friend or loved one with a simple "yes you can/yes we can". Have you never truly been so inspired to do something that you just shout "Yes we/I can!" Let us not be hypocrites. Let us not allow hate and envy to cloud our minds, prejudice our minds and words, do not let them make you vindictive nor spiteful.

Shadowmann1 said...

Did folks just forget the whole "theme" of Billary's first whitehouse run? "Hope". The whole campaign was nearly identical to the kinds of things they (and some you) are now calling false hope, and pablum. Remember how much they were criticized for surrounding themselves with Hollywood A-listers? Remember that their campaign was based on energizing a new generation of youth. Have you people gone insane? Are your memories that short? No wonder Bush is President.

Erudite Redneck said...

Re, "But I have a problem with "Yes we can." It means: I can win the Presidency."

Dude. Then YOU do have a problem. I just saw the vid for the first time yesterday, and that is NOT what I thought it meant at all.

And, for what it's worth, I didn't know who the hell any of the people in the vid were until I started reading about it.

The message is one of DESIRE, which can be bolstered by HOPE, and it transcends the man Obama.

If Obama does nothing more than make a lot of people in this country realyize that it IS us, all of us, who have to get our mojo back -- and yes, we can! -- then his candidacy was more than worthwhile!!

It's time to be FOR something again, not against everything.

Progressive Portal said...
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Progressive Portal said...

I think it's critical that we as a culture start absorbing the message "Yes, We Can!" -- which stands in stark contrast to most of what we're told all our lives ("no, you can't -- so go buy some stuff and you'll feel better"). This is entirely apart from the person or candidacy of Barack Obama -- which is why our new "Yes, We Can!" bumper sticker doesn't have his name on it.

See "Yes, We Can!" Sticker

blake said...

Yes, you can what?

As long as it doesn't involve violence and forcible confiscation of property, I doubt too many people are going to say "No, you can't."

Of course, you might have to navigate a lot of regulations. Those tend to say "No, you can't". But most of the people saying "Yes, we can," seem to be promoting a lot more of those.