Obama’s speech: what did you think?

by Stephen Tall on August 29, 2008

I’ve just finished listening to Senator Barack Obama accept the Democratic party’s nomination for the presidency. The bar for him was high – not simply the expectations that come from being an acknowledged orator, but also following the high-octane speeches of the Clintons – and he well and truly cleared it.

I’d describe myself as an optimistic sceptic when it comes to Senator Obama – I’d love to believe in him, but I’m fully prepared for the come-down of disappointment if and when he’s president. Yet this speech is simply scintillating, a superlative lesson in crafting a message which manages to be both punchily partisan and wooingly consensual; deeply personal and intellectually sound; stirring and serious. There is absolutely no question who is the better candidate for president this November.

But of course speeches don’t win elections, and no matter how positive today’s coverage the presidential debates – in which the two candidates will be much more evenly matched – will have much more influence on the outcome.