I see that Megan’s first impression of the speech was very nearly my own, and she beat me to the punch about the fundamental contradiction at its moral core:
I understand the political logic that forces Barack Obama to spend a fair amount of time hating on trade. But I sort of feel–call me a starry-eyed idealist though you will–that a speech urging Americans not to hate and fear people who are different from them, should perhaps itself forgo urging Americans to hate and fear people who are different from them. You know, to set a good example for the children.
Sadly, this misguided and divisive habit of Obama’s isn’t new. The conclusion of Kerry’s column on Clinton and Obama on trade from June pretty well sums up the point:
It’s nice, I guess, that Obama wants to bring people together. Now perhaps his research team can find a social glue superior to a shared xenophobia.
Obama’s idea of unity through mutuality may be far from perfect, but he can always perfect it.