The Corner

Obama-Biden 2008

I have now watched and read Senator Biden’s speech in Springfield earlier today. From the perspective of the craft of speechwriting, it was quite a thing to behold.

In a speech of just over 16 minutes, Biden used, by my count, the phrase “ladies and gentlemen” 18 times. (Apparently “ladies and gentlemen” is to Biden what “my friends” is to Senator McCain). Biden’s speech was filled with the predictable hackneyed phrases. We were told the American Dream is both “slipping away” and dropping off a cliff. And “the future keeps receding further and further and further away as your reach for your dreams.” Biden feels things with “ever fiber of my being.” Barack Obama possesses “steel in his spine.” And so forth. Biden also made silly claims, such as this 

being the “last chance to reclaim the America we love, to restore America’s soul.”

But what was particularly (if unintentionally) humorous was Biden using the phrase “literally” at least seven different times — including several times when Biden meant to say figuratively. For example, Biden said we have an opportunity “literally to change the direction of the world.” Really? Is Obama so all-powerful that he can actually make the world travel in a different direction? We also learned that on day one in the Senate Obama “literally” reached across the aisle and passed legislation to secure the world’s deadliest weapons? Wow; Obama not only figuratively but literally reached across the aisle and, on day one, passed legislation? That would be impressive. It would also be impossible.

For those of us who have watched Biden over the years, especially during Judiciary Committee hearings, this is nothing new. But for the uninitiated, it is something to enjoy. As my 10-year-old son put it to me after hearing Biden’s speech, “This is going to be like Get Smart.”

Indeed. We’ll be watching Biden closely — and loving it.


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