Stepping back a tad, the bottom line from todays Edwards and Obama speeches is that they were both really, really good qua rhetoric. If either of those guys is the nominee, Democrats can at least sleep soundly at night knowing that their party’s general election speeches are going to be delivered by people who can deliver speeches very, very well and who have good speechwriters.
I’m not sure I’d really agree with Brian Beutler that Edwards’ speech was “more substantive” — what it was was more policy-oriented. The point of Edwards’ speech was “I have these seven policy ideas that you’ll think are really great and therefore you should infer that I’m a good guy.” Obama’s speech, by contrast, is aimed at convincing you that “I’m a really good guy who has a good approach to politics and legislating and therefore you should infer that I’ll implement good policies.” Thus, Obama spends less time on the details of his program and more time on his theory of political change.
All of which, I think, is fine, but it does make his campaign the much more conventional one, which is slightly ironic in light of his greater pretense to be running a different kind of campaign which is, itself, a very conventional kind of claim to make. All that said, they’re both very impressive, and I wish both of them (or, indeed, Hillary Clinton who I suppose is most likely to win) — or at least one — would adopt my view of Iraq and the residual forces issue.
Here’s Obama’s speech:
And here’s Edwards’ speech: