I must say, I like Obama's latest speech. James F. Elliott likes it too, as does The Rude Pundit. [Update: Badtux also likes it (and has additional comments), as does The Political Cat.] It's very much non-bullshit; Obama talks about race in a straightforward, honest and direct manner. His heart seems like it's in the right place.
I'm also encouraged by A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq promulgated by Darcy Burner and other Democratic Congressional candidates. [h/t to Orcinus]
The question is: can they fight?
To some extent, yes, we have to work together in a nontrivial way. I suspect that there will be some criticism from the left for Obama's emphasis on racism, especially anti-black racism, giving only a passing nod to misogyny, classism, nationalist bigotry, hatred of immigrants, and economic exploitation and slavery. The persistent howl from the left is that one's own pet problems are being insufficiently addressed. I'm not that worried: racism is at least not the worst place to start.
There's a bigger, more pressing issue than mere racism, misogyny, etc. It's an issue that, to my knowledge, no "serious" Democratic politician has yet addressed.
In order for any society, however imperfect, to survive, it must curb and punish the excesses of those whose amoral greed and selfishness is unadulterated by empathy, compassion and any care about the future. Every society always fails when such amoral people seize the reins of power and embezzle the wealth and productivity of the society for their own immediate gratification.
And there is no better example of the purely amoral seizing the reins of power than the Bush administration — not even the Nixon or Reagan administrations come even close — with the collusion of the commercial media.
We closed our eyes and just wished Nixon and his ilk would go away. And we got Reagan. We closed our eyes and wished Reagan would go away and we got Bush fils. We can close our eyes and wish Bush would go away, elect Obama (or Clinton)... and who will we get after him? The tactics of the amoral always escalate, and after the war in Iraq, where else can we go but nuclear war with China or world war with Islam? After the coming depression (which will be as brutal as the Great Depression, if not worse) where will we go but totalitarian fascism?
I'm vastly less concerned with improving our society — a project that will take generations — than I am with avoiding the immediate catastrophic collapse of global civilization. And, unless we deal decisively right now with the amoral neocon bastards who have gutted our economy and our political foundations for nothing more than a third SUV and another house in the Hamptons, they will find a way to get back behind the wheel. And with depression, Islam, Iraq, Iran, Scalia, Alito, Roberts, Thomas, global warming, shitty health care, no unions, and theocratic Christianity, we are far too close to the edge of the cliff to risk giving these assholes another turn at the wheel.
Perhaps it's just because we're still in the primaries, but I've heard nothing from Obama or Clinton about curbing these bastards sufficiently that they don't take over again in 2012 or 2016. Much will depend on what the nominee (probably Obama) says in the general election. If he "reaches out" to these bastards, if he wants to "work together" with the Republican party, we're doomed. Doomed regardless of how sensible and intelligent Obama is about race or anything else.