Wednesday, January 09, 2008

John McCain's Disqualifying Speech

Last night, John McCain delivered what is surely one of the worst written, most apathetically delivered speeches in American political history. McCain might have been sleep-walking for all the enthusiasm he showed.

But it was the scripted speech itself that deserves closer attention. It was, in a word, execrable. Chock-full of banalities, adolescent bromides, and loosely associated clich├ęs. The speech was completely unsuitable -- either as an inspirational call to his followers as McCain prepares to march forward, or as a vehicle to introduce himself and his vision to the rest of the nation, or as a compelling recitation of what he stands for. It didn't even rise to the common, low level of a toastmaster's fawning introduction of his family and key supporters. In the unlikely event you have nothing better to do, you can inflict the whole thing on yourself here.

The speech simply made no sense. Worse, both the text and the delivery give a dispiriting, if not downright frightening, foretaste of just how bad John McCain would be at using the "bully pulpit" of the presidency.

Almost as remarkable was MSNBC's coverage of the event. Joe Scarborough, Keith Olbermann, Howard Fineman, and even (so it seems from the audio) the stage hands couldn't stop laughing.

We don't particularly object to derisive reviews of politicians who spout nonsense and call it policy. In fact, the nation could have used a lot more derision in the past seven years, especially when covering serial liars like this guy and that one.

Still, it would have been a service to viewers if the boys in the studio had sobered up long enough to explain why John McCain's victory speech last night virtually disqualifies him for national office.

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