Obama’s Speech

It was really, really good. It had it’s soaring rhetoric, it had it’s impassioned overtures to the American dream and the working class, and it had plenty of attacks on John McCain. I especially liked this part:

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America — they have served the United States of America.

So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

As some others have noted, this basically uses McCain’s own narrative against him. Instead of calling him a flip-flopper and leaving a window open for a wink and a nod from McCain implying he doesn’t really believe this stuff to swing voters, you use the idea that McCain is just too honorable to ever lie about his positions (straight talk!) to lock him into his new far-right inclination. Very good form, and the closing basically dares McCain to question Obama’s patriotism, which in large part neutralizes that card. It’s sort of like the idea that the Clintons were going to stoke a backlash after South Carolina by making Obama the “black candidate,” it can be very effective, but only if it’s implicit. Once you shine the light on it and the media starts talking about it in a negative light, it blows up on you. He also heavily emphasized that he was going to cut taxes for 95% of people, again, daring the Republicans to lie about his tax plan.

Not that I think they’re skittish, but it’ll be interesting to see if the Republican speakers stick with these lines of attack, now that they’ve had the light shone on them about as brightly as you could.