Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Iowa Speeches

I thought I would briefly assess the five speeches given tonight by the major contenders in the Democratic and Republican debates.

In order that the speeches were given:

Romney: workmanlike, professional, gracious concession speech

Edwards: not especially gracious (he didn't congratulation Obama), impassioned

Clinton: comprehensive, gracious, dignified

Huckabee: relaxed, homespun, plainspoken and effective

Obama: passionate, inspiring, powerful

So, I thought all the speeches were good. But Edwards was a little disappointing in his failure to acknowledge Obama, and Obama's was the most inspiring - at least, to me.

Obama's speech beautifully captured what was most important about this evening: that American has moved on to a new plane, with a different approach to the challenges that face us. It almost doesn't matter what the specifics of this approach may be. At this point in the campaign, the conveyance of the feeling that change can happen is more important than the specifics. As Marshall McLuhan put it years ago, the medium is the message. And this, indeed, may be what separates Obama from Edwards, and from Clinton, too, and give Obama the nomination.

The same is true for Huckabee versus all of the Republicans other than Ron Paul. Huckabee sounds different. He seems more a person of the people than Romney or McCain.

The primaries are just beginning. Most of the possibilities prior to tonight are still in play. But the speeches we heard tonight give a good inkling as to where we may well be heading.
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