Over at the First Things blog, Wilfred McClay has an interesting post about Barack Obama’s “soaring” campaign rhetoric. McClay wonders if Obama’s “American Promise” (the title of his Denver acceptance speech) has any real meaning. He compares Obama’s use of the word “promise” to Herbert Croly ‘s use of the word in his 1909 book, The Promise of America and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” His piece is a worth a look.
Though it is a bit tangential to the argument, my favorite line in the article is quoted below:
…Which of course puts one in mind of the 2008 presidential election, and particularly the Democratic nominee, whose rhetoric is invariably referred to as “soaring”—a word used admiringly by people who have evidently never thought much about the word’s dictionary meaning: “a mode of flight in which height is gained by using warm air that is moving upwards.”