You Don’t Even Have to Put Pants On

Kal Penn on Tuesday night gave the second-most-important speech of the Democratic convention. The actor and one-time youth liaison for the Obama White House gave a lively, hip speech that aimed at turning young people into voters again.

Because of so-far-successful voter suppression laws, college kids and kids who’ve moved recently will find it harder than ever to vote this fall. It is crucial to Obama’s reelection that young people jump through the suppression hoops and cast their votes.

Penn, 35, laid out what the Obama administration has already done — change that has already happened. Penn cited friends no longer fighting in Iraq, friends who have health care coverage, friends who can marry whomever they choose, friends who can afford college because Pell grants haven’t been entirely gutted — yet.

People vote their self-interests, by and large. As Democratic speakers in Charlotte lay out how RomneyRyan cuts to EVERYTHING would affect regular people, it becomes easier for people to vote for Obama. But are enough not-yet-committed people watching the Democratic convention? Are enough young people?


Enter YouTube. Kal Penn’s speech should become a hit on YouTube — that’s where young people will hear his message. That’s where they’ll understand the stakes of this election. Twitter should rocket this thing around the world. Let it rock.

The speech, BTW, was damn good. Fluid, funny, short, punchy, engaging.

Let’s hope the speech has electronic legs.

–Bruce Benidt

One thought on “You Don’t Even Have to Put Pants On

  1. Newt says:

    The most important speech wasn’t a speech. It was the DNC’s sudden “suspension of rules” and Antonio Villargarosa’s three-time override of the delegate vote to continue keeping any reference to God or Jerusalem out of the Democratic platform.

    Despite the media blackout, all of America was able to wtiness how far gone from the mainstream Obama and his Democratic Party are, thanks to youtube and other media channels that bypass the former gatekeepers.

    Images of the DNC’s angry Godless anti-semites are already finding their way into GOP commercials.

    This election is over. We tried in ’08 picking a president on the basis of race-ethnicity. It was exciting and fun. But now Americans know substance and credentials matter more.

    Game over.

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