POLITICS

Obama Redefines Democrats As Party Of Optimism: Joe Klein

01/30/2011 08:39 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

And yet, there was something new here: two years into his presidency, Obama has discovered the power of storytelling. I was always struck by how few anecdotes he told when he was running for President; his rhetoric was more about we than he or she, even though telling stories about actual people is one way politicians can demonstrate that they are actual people too, sort of. Ronald Reagan, who invented the tear-jerking hero sitting in the First Lady's box, was the master of this. But Obama's brilliant Tucson speech hinged on the character and dreams of a 9-year-old girl, on the human qualities of all the victims, and his State of the Union speech was a nonstop round of inspirational storytelling. The heroes of those stories were almost all entrepreneurs, an interesting choice for a Democrat; even the non-entrepreneurs -- the principal who turned around a Denver school, the 55-year-old factory worker who was getting a degree in biotechnology -- were entrepreneurial, taking charge of their lives and institutions.

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