I just had a rare privilege. CNN carried live telecasts of the speeches by the two candidates, back to back. John McCain was in Independence, MO, and Barack Obama in LaCrosse, WI, and the speeches came as the candidates were ready to come back to Washington to vote on a revised financial recovery bill.
So, the basic tenor of the speeches were similar. Financial crisis. Don’t point fingers now. Support the new legislation. Without it, catastrophe. With it, hard work will still be needed. That was the basic tenor.
So, let me tell you what happened:
McCain said what you expected he would say. Nothing particularly frightening (other than his recent decision to pledge cuts across the board in all government programs). And then he was finished.
Obama said pretty much the same things that McCain said about the need to pass bail out litigation, but he wasn’t finished. He was just getting started, and he went on to talk about what his administration would accomplish or attempt to accomplish in tremendous fashion.
McCain’s speech was, more or less, OK.
Obama’s speech was inspiring.
Who could disagree with what Obama said? Only those voters who think he is lying, or too ambitious. Other than that, I don’t think he said anything that virtually anyone wouldn’t agree with.
Of course, there were issues that separate Democrats and Republicans that were not part of either speech, but Obama’s pledge to cut taxes on everyone making less than $250,000, to cut all capital gains taxes on small businesses and start ups, to reform the tax code and the health care system, to analyze all governmental programs for efficiency, to work to balance the budget, to protect the environment, to make good education the norm for everyone through college. Who can disagree with this?