...despite the general badness of his speaking manner, McCain does have highs and lows. You can tell that he gets excited, personally, when talking in a generic way about how America is awesome. But when he waxes about reforming government institutions, it's obvious that McCain is bored and not at all the kind of person who's inclined to immerse himself in the details of these kind of issues.
McCain's speeches are better on paper. I thought the Iraq passage was fantastic when I read it in the advanced text--but McCain's delivery deadens it somehow.
The content of McCain's speech is basically what you'd expect, but the delivery is really peculiar. His voice is artificially high, he's grinning more frequently then usual, his tone is jumping octaves to soften the end of his sentences. It's a cuddly, almost delicate delivery, as if he were reading a storybook to really young children. It's extremely disconcerting.
Not to offend those who might be offended, but this speech is a mash and tough to digest.
You have to get through the self-congratulatory praise of independence and commander-in-chief pose from the Senate, then you have to try to follow the inconsistency of some of his big-government ideas vs. his anti-big-government rhetoric, and his inconsistency even on his supposed strength -- the surge in Iraq vs. closing GITMO and conferring additional rights on the detainees.
It was aggressive, feisty (especially the repeated mantra of “that’s not change we can believe in”), a bit funny and showed some growth in the McCain campaign’s strategy a new determination to make this race about something, not just about the candidate. Still, I suspect the rather staid setting and energy level won’t compare well with what is sure to be the rock concert-like event for Obama later tonight. And on two final cosmetic notes, McCain looked a bit washed out in the setting and is improved (but not yet great) on the teleprompter.