Editor’s note: BLAST officially endorsed Senator Barack Obama Jan. 10 as the Democratic candidate for president.
It was a tale of three speeches. On the night when the Democrats finally had their nominee, the two general election candidates — and the one just vanquished — all gave speeches laying claim to the title of Best Equipped to Be President.
The first, a plodding and awkward ramble, given in front of a grotesque lime green backdrop to what seemed like only a few dozen onlookers, gave viewers a taste of the John McCain they will see over the next few months: a grumbling curmudgeon who will try to steal the “change” platform from Obama by explaining his “change” means a third term of George Bush domestic and foreign policies that promise to change absolutely nothing. The listless, same-old speech from McCain was roundly panned by critics, even his buddies at Fox News, as not what he probably wanted compared to what everyone was about to witness from the new Democratic-elect.
The last orate, by contrast, was a soaring, transcendent victory claim given in front of 33,000 people; 18,000 who filled the arena and 15,000 more that stood outside in a constant, frenzied state. Everything that John McCain’s speech wasn’t, Barack Obama’s was.
In a booming voice that crescendoed over the uninterrupted screams and applause of the massive crowd, he gave the American people a taste of the Obama presidency: An end to the war, negotiations with our enemies, rescinding the ridiculous tax cuts for the rich and an actual energy policy were laid out as rebuttals to McCain, who has been in lockstep with George W. Bush on all the vital issues facing the people of the United States.
On the historic night when Obama finally became the west’s first real African American candidate for president, he pronounced, “America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past.”
And then there was the speech in the middle.
A defiant, grasp at something that has been lost for months, Hillary Clinton, who many were expecting to at least concede something last night, gave what was at best a confusing quasi-victory speech for someone who had just lost and at worst a selfish narcissistic view of the contest that dripped with delusion and self denial. Ceding no ground to Obama, except that “he and his supporters have run an excellent campaign,” she went on to mimic asking what everyone in the press has been for the last few days, “‘What does Hillary want?'” and then refused to answer. She left the door open to her future plans and addressed the crowd as if she had not just lost the Democratic Nomination for President, which, unfortunately for her, she just had.
What Hillary Clinton will do in the next coming months for now remains a mystery. She will almost certainly have to admit she lost in the coming days, and with any luck, will fade into the background. But the two who remain will undoubtedly give us more of the taste they gave us last night. For John McCain, it will be idea that the world is extremely dangerous and only a war monger like himself can run it. And for Barack Obama, it will be the chance to bring a new face, a new voice, to the Presidency, one that has never been heard before.
Let’s hope, this time, the American people make the right decision. Though, if they just listen to the speeches from last night, it will really become an easy choice.