Best. Speeches. Ever.

I just haven’t been able to muster the enthusiasm to watch much of the Democratic Convention coverage. It’s a shame, too, as I understand John Kerry, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden all gave the best speeches of their lives last night. Really, though, what were the odds?

I’ll watch Obama’s performance at Mile High Stadium tonight, though.  I understand it’s the halftime show at a Broncos preseason game, yes?  Not to mention, of course, historic.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. markm says:

    The first two nights were wasted time on the Dems part, IMO. Two thirds of the first three days were about seeking some show of unity…and the Clintons. And much of yesterday was about…the Clintons. And why didn’t Hillary say Tuesday what Bill said last night (they said I wasn’t ready to lead in 92′, etc.) and had Bill build on that???. It was stagnant until yesterday until the “crazy” roll call leading up to Bill’s speech…and nobody will argue the man can bring it to the microphone. Just seems to me after two lost elections they’d have put together a much stronger appearing convention.

    I did find it interesting that Howard Dean said yesterday when asked about Obama’s stagnant polling numbers…he said “people don’t know who Obama is”. Wow.




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  2. Pug says:

    Actually, John McCain’s acceptance speech will be half-time entertainment as it should kick off right around half-time of the New York Giants – Washington Redskins game that starts at 7:00 Eastern on Thursday night.




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  3. Maggie Mama says:

    Bill said Obama was “ready” to be President.

    With his history of word parsing, I couldn’t help but wonder which definition of ready he meant:

    From dictiionary.com

    “1. completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use: troops ready for battle; Dinner is ready.

    3. willing: ready to forgive

    People assume Clinton was saying #1 but I think he was saying #3.

    I can hear Bill thinking to himself “You may be willing, Barack, BUT you’re NOT completely prepared or in fit condition!




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  4. Hal says:

    Keep laughing, guys. Just wait until old zombie takes the green screen to accept his nomination.




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  5. James Joyner says:

    Just wait until old zombie takes the green screen to accept his nomination.

    I think he’ll do fine but expect, like everyone else, that Obama will be better. Thankfully, expectations work in McCain’s favor here.

    And not commenting one way or the other on last night’s speeches, of which I’ve only heard clips thus far. Just commenting on the commenting.




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  6. Hal says:

    Thankfully, expectations work in McCain’s favor here.

    Frankly, I don’t think you can set expectations low enough. But still, quite the amazing bar y’all are setting for your party.




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  7. Anthony says:

    I’ve made much mock of John Kerry in your comments section in the past, but I’ve got to say, I thought he was rather good. Admittedly after his ’04 performances, the bar was set fairly low.




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  8. Hal says:

    Man, if the Lieberman as VP rumors prove true, the Republican convention will make the ’68 democratic convention look like afternoon tea with the Rotary Club’s women’s auxiliary.




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  9. markm says:

    “Man, if the Lieberman as VP rumors prove true, the Republican convention will make the ’68 democratic convention look like afternoon tea with the Rotary Club’s women’s auxiliary.”

    THAT…i will concede…though I don’t think he will make that pick. Just in case though, i’m keeping my newb protester kit at the ready.




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  10. sam says:

    I’ll watch Obama’s performance at Mile High Stadium tonight, though. I understand it’s the halftime show at a Broncos preseason game, yes?

    Tsk, tsk. C’mon James or I’ll be forced to characterize McCain’s acceptance speech, in advance of hearing it, as his Viva McAgra speech.




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  11. Wayne says:

    I agree Bill did what he has usually does and gave a great speech. Biden gave a speech that sounded good at the time but will hurt them in the long run. There are too many instances that the McCain campaign can use against them. For example saying McCain decisions on the war has always been wrong and Obama\Biden was always right. The surge is the most solid decision people can identify. McCain was right and Obama\McCain wasn’t.




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  12. Hal says:

    Pushing “Teh Surge” is like pushing the fact that McCain was a POW. It was a short term tactic, it’s over and we’re still there – no one can see any tangible benefits.

    But by all means keep believing that his desperate clinging to the past will save him.

    “McCain: tactically correct but strategically wrong” makes a brilliant campaign theme.




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  13. Wayne says:

    “McCain: tactically correct but strategically wrong”

    I understand your point but besides disagreeing with it most people can grasp tactical much better than strategic. Strategically if we would have pulled out back when Obama wanted to, Iraq most likely would be in chaos right now with Iran being the in the most control. Most people would consider that as the wrong strategic philosophy. It is not just the matter of pulling troops out but when we pull them out.

    I’m sure we disagree on strategies but polls have shown that people trust McCain more than Obama on such things. Biden speech pointed that discussion in that direction.




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  14. Hal says:

    most people can grasp tactical much better than strategic.

    Depends, really. It’s much easier to understand that we’re still there and nothing has changed than it is to talk about the success that hasn’t changed anything. Maybe they understand tactics better, but it’s difficult to figure out what actually got better when you’re still there and the roaring success hasn’t changed anything.

    Iraq most likely would be in chaos right now with Iran being the in the most control.

    If we had listened to Obama in the first place non of this would have happened in the first place – easy concept for people to get, and considering that the polls show that the overwhelming majority think the Iraq war a) wasn’t worth it and b) shouldn’t have been fought, I don’t think you’re abstract argument about what might have been will have much impact on these opinions.

    people trust McCain more than Obama on such things.

    Perhaps. But this supposed advantage hasn’t done much for his polling. What did seem to work was hiring the same staff Bush did, so that they could start performing the same smears that McCain denounced in 2000.

    Kind of sad when you have to rely on the negative and your positives don’t stand up to muster, don’t you think?

    Biden speech pointed that discussion in that direction.

    Again, we’ll see. I think Biden is going to tear McCain to shreds and you’re going to see whatever positives McCain has on security melt like ice on a hot stove. But that’s just me. Again, we’ll just have to see.

    But so far, McCain has seemed to decide that he no longer wants to run on the issues and simply wants to run on smearing character and questioning patriotism and the like. Couple of months of that, combined with Biden and a lot of others ripping his throat out could do an awful, awful lot of damage to the man.




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  15. Wayne says:

    “Maybe they understand tactics better, but it’s difficult to figure out what actually got better when you’re still there and the roaring success hasn’t changed anything”

    As I already said some have a hard time understanding strategic success.

    Go back and read some previous threads that explain what has change, a few example are a more stable Iraq, more competent and confident Iraqi military, a stable enough military situation that may allow the U.S. military to greatly reduce its forces there within the next few years. Nothing has change. Please.




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  16. Hal says:

    As I already said some have a hard time understanding strategic success.

    Indeed. All the things you discuss after making this bold statement are *tactics* that were designed to support the *strategy* of political goals which by everyone’s admission has not been achieved.

    The tactics were a success. The strategy has failed.




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  17. floyd says:

    It’s not the difference between tactics and strategy that matters here…..You guys just don’t understand strategery! [lol]




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  18. Wayne says:

    Training up of indigenous force so they can take over the security of their country is a strategy. The use of SF or MTT to do so would be a tactic. I suspect it is pointless explaining to you the difference between tactics and strategy and their overlap? As a matter of fact many tactics often contain strategies and many strategies often contain tactics.

    “of political goals which by everyone’s admission has not been achieved”

    Many of the goals have been achieved including elections, forming a constitution, and many others. Just because not all goals have been achieve doesn’t mean we have failed. To apply those standards to the real world is ridiculous. By those standards a football team never wins. They may score more points but they leave the field with unaccomplished goals.

    We may leave Iraq without accomplishing all of our goals but if we leave a relative stable and democratic Iraq we will have won. If we leave a Iraq that is not hostile to us we will have won.




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  19. Hal says:

    Okay, your argument is basically people understand success more than they understand why or what the success was supposed to do.

    Good luck with that strategy. We’ll see if it wears as well as the Noun… Verb… POW does.

    Doubt it.




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