The Speech: Final Thoughts UPDATE: Transcript

Before a crowd of nearly 80,000 Barack Obama accepted his nomination as the Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States. Forty-five years after a young preacher from Georgia marched on Washington, and illustrated for America a dream of equality, a product of that ongoing dream took the stage and made a national call to continue that dream, and to fight to fulfill the promise of a country.

In an address that clocked in at just about forty-three minutes, Obama did what he had to do.  He threaded the needle, in fact, he threaded the two dozen needles put before him.  At once he was challenged to soar in rhetoric, and yet bring it back down to Earth.  He had to define himself, and define McCain.  He had to go on the attack, and yet he had to rise above it all.  And he had to prove he is not an empty suit.

In this context, it is important to understand that this was not Barack’s most inspirational speech, nor should it have been.  But even a lackluster Obama speech manages to come off as more lofty, more inspirational than the efforts of many others.  And when he acknowledged the moment forty five years ago, it was difficult to not get chills.

But this was not a moment to prove that he could shake the rafters with his words.  This was a moment of introduction, and a moment to prove that there was meat on the bones, and stuffing in the suit, and he did just that.

When even David Brooks on PBS gives Obama high marks on substance, well, there you go.

And Obama took the fight straight to McCain.  He showed he had policy meat on his political bones, and he was able to toss out red meat to the base.  He was able to champion bipartisanship, whilst at the same time defining McCain exactly as needed to be done.

Finally, Obama made it clear that he was not going to stand for cheap political attacks heaped upon him.  He hitback on all of the patriotism and character attacks, and made solid hay specifically against McCain’s grotesque comment that he would be willing to “lose a war to win an election.”

Tonight’s performance will not be made into a music video, but it does show that Obama is ready to challenge and beat John McCain in this election.

UPDATE: For your reading pleasure, a transcript.

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