Let me start with my friend Jim Sleeper:
As a demonstration of grace under immense pressure, his performance in Philadelphia will be a classic study for orators. As an act of moral witness and prophecy for a trans-racial America, the speech was straightforward yet profound in an inimitably American idiom that few partisans and pundits, soused in stale pieties and rancid evasions, comprehend.He’s gambling that most Americans will comprehend him anyway. Here’s hoping. Let me explain what I think Obama accomplished with a story I’m sure he’d appreciate, an experience I had 15 years ago with Brooklyn’s equivalent of Obama’s pastor and mentor, Jeremiah Wright.
* * *Mr. Sleeper mentioned some history about New York racial politics, especially his part in that history as a columnist for the New York Daily News. Some people heaped venom on him for some of his views and he and I debated some of those views. Although he often frustrated me in those days, our discussions were always civilized. I am not nearly as wise or as learned as Mr. Sleeper (he’s also a touch older than I am) but I take a measure of pleasure in the fact that our views seem to be a bit closer now.In his current TPMcafe column,