In a remarkable speech delivered yesterday at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta (Martin Luther King’s church), Barack Obama called for unity, and while he did not single out identity politics by name, his attacks on divisiveness speak for themselves:

For most of this country’s history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.
And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.
We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.
Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.
So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The division, the stereotypes, the scape-goating, the ease with which we blame our plight on others – all of this distracts us from the common challenges we face – war and poverty; injustice and inequality. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.
Because if Dr. King could love his jailor; if he could call on the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time, and bind up our wounds, and erase the empathy deficit that exists in our hearts.

It’s a hell of a good speech, and while of course there are the usual attacks on big business, he zeroes in on what is wrong with the Democratic Party (and very cleverly positions himself as a voice of dissent). He was of course subtle enough to avoid all mention of the Clintons, much less their skillful playing of the Latino card.
Who knows? I’ve been ready to count Obama out, but…. If he can get the voters to see the Clintons as having manipulated identity politics and crushed dissent, Obama might just be able to regain some of the momentum he lost.
MORE: Kevin Drum seems to be arguing that Obama is sounding too conservative:

Obama has clearly chosen his course, and there’s really no way for him to give a wink and a nudge to folks like Matt and me to let us know that he’s just kidding about all this kumbaya stuff. After all, it’s part of his whole appeal to both independents and moderate conservatives, and his candidacy depends on that. So if you’re a liberal in Obama’s camp, you just have to cross your fingers and trust him.
Because in the end, this is what it all comes down to. Is Obama kidding or not? Does he really believe that he can enact a progressive agenda by reaching out to Republicans and bridging the red-blue divide, or is he just saying this as a way of shaping public opinion and winning an election? And if he does believe it, is he right?

Paul Krugman is also after him.
MORE: Fred Barnes thinks Bill Clinton gives Hillary a huge advantage:

As an ex-president he can command extensive media attention. What he says gets widespread coverage. In effect, he has a megaphone as big as his wife’s, maybe bigger. No other presidential candidate has a surrogate like Bill Clinton. Obama certainly doesn’t.
When every candidate except Hillary wants to put out unfavorable information about an opponent and be sure to draw heavy press coverage, the candidate himself must handle the task. And there’s a downside: the candidate is deplored for “going negative.” But if an aide or supporter is assigned the task, the media is likely to yawn and the information the candidate wants to
trumpet gets far less coverage.
But not in Bill Clinton’s case. He’s the one supporter of a candidate whose words are reported to the world under blazing headlines. Thus when he criticizes Obama on Iraq and other issues, as he did in New Hampshire, we hear about it. And when he scolds the press for giving Obama a free ride, we not only hear about it but the press takes the criticism seriously.

I think Michelle Obama should demand equal time!