Charles Keefer's Blog

Three speeches

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I don’t know if you watched the Democratic Convention. I didn’t. But I did TIVO the good parts. I saw the three speeches.

Michelle Obama. How can anyone not fall in love with this woman? And, after that speech, how can anyone not respect the hell out of the man who married her.

Only very recently have candidates wives spoken to the nation.

Ann Romney gave a creditable speech. Michelle Obama put the bar so high that I already pitty the next candidate’s wife who attempts it.

Then came Bubba. Bill Clinton extemporized a full third of his speech, didn’t miss a mark, and held me spellbound for, I’m guessing, 45 minutes. If Bill Clinton had decided to be an astronomer instead of a politician, I think we already would have the answer to God, the universe and everything.

I actually was kind of worried that Barack Obama had been trumped and not with a capital T.

Then came “I am the President.”

Here is a criticism from someone who goes by the moniker of jwb0581.

“I thought it seemed oddly out of place when he delivered that line. It now makes sense that it was lifted from a movie. A speechwriter in inserting the line may have in mind how effective it worked in the movie, but that was under the conditions that were constructed in the movie and those conditions are not the same in a different setting.”

“It struck me as petty and unbecoming — it’s not the type of thing a president himself should need to say.”

I thought completely the opposite.

In the movie, the fictional president was defending his girlfriend when he said the line and it was moving.

In real life, when the real President said it, I basically thought, “no shit.”

This guy got Osama, stopped a depression in its tracks, stopped a totally insane war, and extended medical benefits to millions. He saved the auto industry. And he did it with a Republican congress that voted against him every time not because it was the right thing to do but to try to make our government fail so he would fail.

But what I really wanted to say when I started this screed was that I so much welcome back the art of oratory to our political process.

I thought these three speeches were like chocolate for the mind.

They aren’t like great movies you can watch over and over or like great music that can raise the hair on the back of your neck every time you hear it.

They aren’t like the Gettysburg Address that was occasioned by as many casualties in three days, all of them Americans, as there were in the entire Vietnam War.

But they were literate and finely crafted and, in Michelle Obama’s case, simply stunning.

It makes me proud as an American to know that these three speeches were heard around the world, that they gave a message of hope and resolve, and that there wasn’t a single chuckleheaded “new-ku-lar” in any of them.


Written by Charles Keefer

September 7, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Posted in Blog

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