Barack Obama’s speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination was . . . long. Too long.
The last fifteen or twenty minutes of it, when he went into preacher mode and talked of unity and reconciliation and change and such, were uplifting and solid political theater. Whether it’ll meet the ridiculously high expectations that he had coming in — and which he amplified by moving it to a sporting arena rather than staying in the convention hall — we’ll see.
The irony of the speech, though, is that the talk of a new politics followed forty minutes or more of a speech that, with some minor biographical edits and obligatory references to current events, could have been delivered by any Democratic presidential nominee in my memory. I’ve watched all of them since Jimmy Carter’s 1980 convention and they’ve all, with the possible exception of Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996, had the same theme: the country’s going to hell in a handbasket but, don’t worry, I’ll fix everything that ails you — even if it’s not remotely within the scope of federal authority — and pay for it by taxes on the top 5 percent, greedy corporations, and ending trade with foreign countries. Oh, and the magic energy pony will end our dependence on foreign oil, too!
Not the time for small plans, indeed.
UPDATE: Those were my quick thoughts before going off to bed. For my more detailed morning-after analysis, see Obama’s Acceptance Speech: The More Things CHANGE, The More They Remain the Same
Photo credit: Stephen Crowley/New York Times