Senator Obama speaking in Dayton today: Say something off your script

When I watched the debate on Tuesday night I could almost predict- line for line, word for word, what was going to come out of both candidates mouths. Even though the candidates were speaking extemporaneously, it was as if marketing has taken over and the brand message gets repeated over and over until we all “just do it” automatically.

And while Senator Obama is an accomplished orator, I’ve yet to hear anything approaching a “I have a dream” speech. In fact, when I went to see him at the Nutter Center back in February, the speech just rolled out like an audio technician had hit the play button. He’ll be at 5/3rd field today, and giving another one, just like the one he’s going to give in Cincinnati a few hours later.

Sure, good speeches are hard to write, and yes, they do localize the speech a bit for each community, but- just once, I want to hear something off script. Not off message- off script. Like when Sean Penn just drops into a role and just ad libs lines and they make it in the movie.

I know that candidates are real people, just like you and me, being asked to be held to a higher standard than anyone of us could reasonably follow. I know that it’s dangerous to go off script, but, I’ve done it when I was campaigning (maybe that explains why I don’t get elected) and the response has been good.

Things to talk about in Dayton:

Wouldn’t it be great if the electric utility CEO (DP&L CEO and President Paul Barbas) admitted that it’s not that complicated running a monopoly, and instead of trying to charge the people for upgrades to a smart grid– he was going to cut his pay to no more than 10x the lowest paid employee in the company and stop spending money on advertising and instead spend it on improving customer service?

How we used to have two independent newspapers, that would compete for readers and breaking stories- which gave you confidence that you weren’t being manipulated by a single all powerful media source? And, how do we bring that kind of competitiveness back?

How Dayton and Wilmington are suffering from the actions of companies “too big to fail”- GM, DHL, pulling out of the market, costing thousands of good paying jobs and hurting all of us- and how this bailout seems to be consolidating power more than sharing it- and how that concerns me, and should concern you.

While your neighbors are losing their homes, the banks are still charging 29% interest on credit cards, so that they can get involved in questionable investment practices, pay their people exorbitant salaries, and then beg you to bail them out with your tax dollars? I’d point out that before deregulation, banks were limited to much lower caps, and weren’t allowed to issue so many credit cards. It’s time to end the casino on Wall Street- and stop thinking that a casino monopoly in Wilmington is a good idea either. We’ve been gambling too much in this country, and if we continue on this same path, we could very well lose everything. When Budweiser isn’t owned by Americans anymore, that should be a wake up a call that even Joe Six Pack understands.

On my travels of the world, meeting with other world leaders, that I know that people far away think of Dayton in a way that people in Dayton don’t realize: it’s the place where the peace talks were held, that helped stop a war over ethnic battles that have gone on for too long, for no good reason. And, if we could do that Dayton magic again- we could possibly see peace the world over, because, like it or not- we’re all on this planet together. It is something the people of Dayton should be proud of.

And, it’s in that same spirit- that we should look at joining together, cities and suburbs, to look for new ways to govern- that bring smart growth, and efficient government to the region, and then to the State level and finally to Washington- because, throughout history, people from Dayton have been innovative thinkers and brought change to this world- the same kind of change that this young, bi-racial, single parent raised, Honolulu born Senator hopes to bring to the world. A world where….

I have a dream….

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