The Corner

Pretty Good

I thought Obama’s speech was better than Biden’s though not as good as either of the Clintons’ speeches. It was a decent text, and a reasonably good performance, though Obama has done a whole lot better on both fronts in the past. Given his considerable talent, he could have done much better. But it wasn’t bad.

It was a more traditional liberal Democratic speech than he normally gives, and that certainly must have turned off Republicans (it turned off this one, let me tell you) and might have left some independents cold, but being perceived as a generic Democrat is not such a bad thing in this particular election year, alas.

What it didn’t do, though, was answer the basic question the McCain campaign has worked to plant in voters’ minds: what makes this guy think he’s qualified and ready to be president? If the question has really sunk in, Obama is in no less trouble than he was before this convention, and the Republican convention—where McCain’s readiness and experience will be front and center—will do him real harm. But if it hasn’t, and if what people basically want is to get away from the Bush administration, he has certainly given them a reason to see him as their guy.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

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