by John Hawkins | August 29, 2008 9:05 am
“It is with great humility that I accept this nomination at a temple in front of 80,000 with fireworks blasting overhead.” — A reader at The Corner mocks The One
Before Obama’s speech, I switched from CNN, which was universally in the tank for Obama over to MSNBC to watch the coverage — and Oh. My. Gawd. — I think it was the single most partisan display I have ever seen by the press. Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews weren’t just partisan when they talked about Barack Obama — They sounded like fretting mothers talking about their 10-year-old daughter’s first ballet recital. It was so nauseating, I decided to go back to CNN to hear the more unbiased opinions of Paul Begala and David Gergen.
Anyway, the expectations for the speech were sky high and quite frankly, Obama didn’t meet them.
Overall, the ostentatious setting didn’t work that well. In fact, the people and the chanting were a little “pass me the poison Kool-Aid” creepy at times after watching the McCain ads. Plus, the fireworks, confetti, and the “escape from danger mountain” instrumental in the background at the end of the event was just way, way over-the-top. It just gave you the impression Obama would be happier being Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler than President of the United States.
As to the speech itself, Obama did not bring his “A” game. It was definitely too long and he tried to do too many things in it without successfully accomplishing any of them. He attacked Bush weakly, attacked McCain weakly, talked about unity, gave a shallow run through of some of his policies, and trotted out a lot of tired, socialist rhetoric.
But, what did he accomplish with the speech? Was it a great attack on Bush or McCain? Not at all. Did he have any great lines? None that I remember. Was it a fiery, red meat speech? He started to get the crowd revved up a few times, but the speech was too long to maintain that. Did he assuage any of the doubts about his experience? No. Did he put flesh on the bones of his agenda? No, he was still very generic.
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Worse yet, it was a little dull in parts and was way too socialistic. Basically, the idea you got from listening to Obama was that he believes nobody in the country should have any sort of problem or misfortune without the government getting involved — and oh man, did he want to get involved.
If you put Obama and Bush together, it reminds me of that great PJ O’Rourke quote,
“The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.”
So, in the end, what did Obama accomplish with the speech? Not much. He would have been better off making a shorter speech, in a less extravagant setting, that covered 1 or 2 themes instead of the long, rambling speech he gave.
David Gergen called the speech a “masterpiece,” but I’d call it about a “B-” overall and would say it was the 5th best speech I heard at the convention behind the ones made by Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Brian Schweitzer, & Hillary Clinton.
Now, am I saying the speech hurt Obama? No, but I honestly think the introductory video played before Barack’s speech, which was designed to humanize him and talk about his upbringing, probably did more for him than his big speech did.
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