Hillary Clinton is, on the whole, enjoying rave reviews for her speech at the Democratic convention last night. Well, it wasn't terrible, I suppose. But she wasn't exactly fulsome in her praise either. I mean, she could have said something like:
You know, as I look at all of you here tonight, and I think of all the people watching at home, I don't see Clinton supporters or Obama supporters, I see Democrats. I see a party that recognises the importance of this election, that appreciates that this country faces a choice between the change we need and four more years of the same old Republican policies that have done enormous damage to this country.
We enjoyed - perhaps I should say endured - a campaign that was long and arduous. It was an old-fashioned American epic in a new political age. The age of Youtube and the blogosphere and a voracious media that hypes even the tiniest difference of emphasis while ignoring the common ground and principles that make us all proud to be part of the Democratic family.
But in a long campaign, sometimes you say things in the heat of the moment that you regret when the battle is won and lost. I know and you know that John McCain is a good man who has done this country great service in the past, but his ideas for the future cannot meet the needs or aspirations of the American people. You cannot vote with George W Bush 90% of the time and be the change our country needs. No biography, however heroic, can compensate for reckless misjudgment and a blithe indifference to the struggles of ordinary Americans.
This election isn't about biography or celebrity; it's about judgement and policy. We need a President who can inspire and lead the American people. We need a President who can make up for eight years of squandered promise and missed opportunities. We need to make up for lost time. We need a Democratic president.
Barack Obama is a good man who will serve - and lead - his country with distinction. He won't just be time-serving President wrapping the failed politics of the past in a shiny new wrapper, he will be a great President, offering the hope and the real change our country desperately needs. I know that; you know that. This is his moment; this is his time. His presidency is our future. And I will do everything in my power to secure that future; for Barack, for you, for all of us. He is ready; we are ready. And together we will change this country for the better.
That took me about 15 minutes to write (and perhaps that shows!), but there you have it. For other takes, see the reactions from Crowley, Chait and Welch who were, on the whole, more impressed than I was. Also worth reading is David Kusnet, Bill Clinton's chief speechwriter from 1992-94.