Realistically, it’s not at all fair to keep expecting Barack Obama to deliver stirring, powerful, historic addresses. Faced with key moments repeatedly over the last few years, the political world seems to consistently wait for Obama with a four-word phrase in mind: “This better be good.” And yet, he keeps managing to exceed expectations.I wound up watching Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention with a pair of friends from Minnesota, who had stopped by unexpectedly on their way from dropping off their son at college. We’d planned to go out to dinner, but decided that the importance of Obama’s address required our watching it live at my house, with pizza. Even my expectations of what Obama would and could do were exceeded. Like so many others who watched the speech, I was struck by its exceptional melding of lofty ideals and policy specifics. Obama always has the potential to inspire when he speaks; last night I think he brought to those voters who remain unsure of his insurgent candidacy confidence that he has the intelligence, determination, and experience necessary to turn this country around after eight years of Republican’t misrule. And for Democrats who’ve been wanting more straight-to-the-face blows against John “100 Years War” McCain, Obama had plenty of honest, devastating criticism that pointed out his opponent’s numerous flaws and questioned McCain’s own ability to lead a nation mortally damaged by Republican’t lies and incompetence. There may be critics of Obama who are somehow still convinced that McCain--an out-of-touch, shoot-first, borrow-and-spend GOPer straight out of the 1960s, unable to stop fighting the Vietnam War and see that times have changed--would make a better commander in chief. But last night’s address, coupled with the last several months in which Obama has shown himself to be a skilled, cool-under-pressure, warm-hearted but steel-spined, and thoroughly intelligent Democrat of outstanding character (unlike McCain, he has no history of marital infidelities), have convinced me that I was right to put my money on Obama as the next president of the United States. It’s time for America’s national nightmare of Bush-McCain policies to end. The United States, and the world, will breathe a great sigh of relief when President Obama is inaugurated on the steps of the nation’s Capitol in January 2009.
* * *A fabulous biographical video about Obama, shown prior to his speech last evening, can be found here. I was particularly moved by his fond memories of his grandfather, memories of the sort that I have about my own maternal granddad. READ MORE: “38 Million View Obama’s Speech; Highest-Rated Convention in History,” by Brian Stelter (The New York Times); “American Revolutionary,” by Walter Shapiro (Salon); “Obama’s Speech,” by Kevin Drum (Mother Jones); “Great Reviews of Obama’s Speech,” by John Aravosis (AMERICAblog).