I still think it was quite a show, and I think the thing that stood out to me was the full-throated nature of it. The “Enough!” and the “He won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives” and the “We all put our country first” were the first times I can remember when a Democrat signaled as clearly and as loudly that he is willing to fight.
While the entire speech was pretty solid, and I thought had a nice flow, this portion stuck out to me:
I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer, and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values.
And that’s to be expected, because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters.
If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.
And you know what? It’s worked before, because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping and settle for what you already know.
I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.
Thomas Franks, call your office. Remember the “bitter” remarks, when supporters like yours truly pointed out that Obama’s comments, while not carefully scripted, were spot on? Here it is again, polished and perfected and still as true today as they were then. The Republicans have won the past few years by in part scaring the hell out of everyone with terrorism and national security issues, but by making elections about nonsense ballot issues that stir up the right-wing b ase but really do nothing for the people of America.
This also was something I have discussed at length:
What the naysayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me; it’s about you.
It’s about you.
We talked about this before discussing the differences between the standard Clinton speech and the standard Obama speech. yesterday, I was IM’ing a friend that I wish I could get hold of the Obama campaign to tell them to put a line like that in there. Actually, what I wanted him to say was that when the GOP attacks Obama for drawing large crowds and being a celebrity, the people they are really attacking is not Obama, but the crowd. You don’t know what you want, you are just dazzled by a smooth talker. You don’t have critical thinking skills, you are just awed by his celebrity. That is what the McCain celebrity attacks are really saying.
At any rate, a lot can be said about the speech, and I am sure a lot will in the next few days. I think it was a very fine speech, and it got the job done with gusto. Again, the thing that really stands out most to me is that Obama is signaling to everyone- Not this time. Not this candidate. I fight back.
*** Update ***
The Slacktivist makes my second point better than I did:
It’s become fashionable — particularly among a certain kind of Stevensonian elite — to dismiss Obama’s oratory and rhetoric as, by definition, insubstantial. The implication, often explicit, is that his audiences are rubes, idiots spellbound by a lot of pretty talk. But it is precisely the substance, not the style, of Obama’s oratory that has been winning over his audiences. That substance is egalitarian, democratic, inclusive and aspirational — precisely the opposite of elitist or condescending.