Rating Obama’s speech

| August 29, 2008

All in all, I thought it a very powerful, well-delivered speech. He is, without a doubt, the best orator that the Democrats have put forward since JFK; he is, I think, more polished than Reagan, though Reagan knew how to be folksy without sounding either stupid or condescending.

I thought his attacks against McCain were effective (I’ll let others critique whether they’re accurate), but I do think he slipped big time with this statement:

If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

Obama has been in the Senate for 4 years and doesn’t have much of a record prior to that. I expect this line to show up in McCain ads, pointing out who has a record and who doesn’t.

The domesitic policy part of Obama’s speech had me hearing cash registers in my head (“cha-ching!”) for each new proposal he mad. Beyond that, I have serious questions whether he can enact — in a recognizable form — any of these policies, especially with a Democratic Congress. Bill Clinton made very similar promises in 1992 and then had a disastrous first two years — with a Democratic Congress — so much so that the Republicans gained control of the House in 1994.

The foreign policy portion was better, though given that we now have more support from France and Germany than we did a few years ago, I’m not sure what the basis of his “restore respect” comments are. I will frankly admit that — with a son (Jon) serving in Iraq and a nephew (Darren) most likely head to Afghanistan in a few months — this passage made me tear up:

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.

Against all odds (and my own misgivings), the stadium venue worked — even the Grecian columns. It was a profoundly effective setting.

Setting aside my own policy and political preferences, I would rate the acceptance speech as a 5 out of 5, simply because I’m not sure what more Obama could have done to fire up the Democratic base, reach out to independents, and leave an amazing sets of sound bites and images for the whole country to ponder. Plus, having most of the mainstream media in the tank for him, Obama won’t face a lot of critical analysis over what he said and what he proposes. I suspect Obama may go over 50% in the polls this weekend, and McCain has his work cut out for him.  ..bruce..

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Category: 2008 Election, Main, Media, US Politics

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at bwebster@bfwa.com, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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