Tonight’s speech was not the stick of dynamite that last night’s speech by Sarah Palin was. It was not supposed to be. It accomplished everything it set out to accomplish. It established McCain’s personal story of heroism, but above that, it put that story in the context of his vision for the entire country. His delivery dragged and was a bit awkward at points – McCain has never been the greatest orator, but he oddly turned that into a strength by appearing almost painfully humble throughout the speech.
McCain’s message was simple: everything he does is motivated by service to his country, not himself. It was a message he hit on repeatedly, and delivered more effectively than any of the speakers earlier in the evening (who were, quite frankly, horribly droll). He talked passionately about a number of topics, including education, Iraq, and energy, but his mission tonight was clear: to rebuild the Republican brand that has been hurt by corruption and spending by emphasizing his willingness to put his country above himself.
It was an effective message. It was a necessary message. And for whatever disagreements we may have here at RedState with McCain (and they are many), we must confess that McCain alone among the candidates this year has put himself uniquely in the position to speak with authority on this issue. Let us be clear: no other candidate we have could have given this necessary speech tonight and made it stick.
McCain’s speech may not have played as well in the hall and on RedState as Palin’s speech. But I think, by and large, that it may have gone as well or better with the voters on TV, particularly the strong ending, for those who stuck around to watch.
Now, with the end of the convention, the race has truly begun. John McCain and Sarah Palin head out on the campaign trail tomorrow. They go having made their point to the American people in the best way possible. If they have returned the race to the status quo ante the Democratic Convention, this will have ultimately been a success.