Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The NH Election Night Speeches

After all the excitement and positives things said about Obama's and Huckabee's victory speeches in Iowa on Thursday, here are my thoughts on tonight's speeches:

Romney: He seemed very upbeat, even though at the time he made his concession speech, he was down about 9 points (he eventually catched up to McCain, down only by 5 points right now). He is a very good speaker, very eloquent, and I can understand why people are appealed to him. But if it wasn't for his flips and flops and such negative tone in this race, he might actually be leading at this point. Instead, you get him, in good 'ol Olympic fashion, talking about his two "silver place" finishes and him taking the "gold" in that all important primary state: Wyoming!

McCain: Boy did his age show tonight! He wins NH, keeps his campaign alive, and he bored me. Now, I'm a big Rudy supporter, no question about it, but one of the main reasons (aside from the issues) is that every time he speaks, I'm on the edge of my seat. I do have misgivings with McCain, but his life story inspires me and I would naturally support him (or any of the other GOP candidates) if he ultimately wins the primary. Yet, if he wins the primary, he has to generate excitement to win in the end, and tonight's speech didn't do it for me. And with NH proving that a win in IA doesn't translate into a win in other states, and with his lack of resources at this time, he's going to have to be more inspiring than he was tonight.

Edwards: Why is he still in the race? How does he inspire people? He has always come across to me as a complete and utter phony. The Southern charm shtick just doesn't work for me.

Obama: Truly the best speech of the night, and it came after a stunning loss. I hardly agree with him on any issue (though he is good on pork spending), but he definitely inspires people. My only concern is how long can he keep this "change" momentum up? It worked in Iowa, but after a certain point, he'll need to start being much more specific, and as he details his positions on more issues, people will ultimately realize just how liberal he is. In fact, most of the criticism about his unspecified "change" sounds just like Russell Kirk's sixth tenet of conservative thought: "Recognition that change may not be salutary reform: hasty innovation may be a devouring conflagration, rather than a torch of progress. Society must alter, for prudent change is the means of social preservation; but a statesman must take Providence into his calculations, and a statesman's chief virtue, according to Plato and Burke, is prudence." Nevertheless, his speeches do work much more effectively when he's not so issue-oriented, i.e., laundry list proposals don't inspire most people, and actually appear to be very similar to Ronald Reagan's style, who of course was the "Great Communicator."

Hillary: Please, please, please, let me NOT have to listen to this for four years. For all of her husband's failings, he was certainly a great speaker. You knew he was lying through his teeth, but at least you wouldn't mind talking one-on-one with the guy at your local bar. Hillary is certainly the anti-Obama speech-wise, doing a short laundry list tonight and in most of her other speeches. And tonight, I was not inspired at all. It was all "me, me, ME" and not enough "you, you, YOU" as Obama's speech was tonight.

No comments: