Throughout the Big O’s speech I had the nagging feeling that something was missing. Don’t get me wrong. ‘Twas a good speech. Indeed it was a great speech. But it wasn’t one for the books and it didn’t provide a decent one-liner. In that respect it wasn’t an inspirational speech.
Word cloud of Big O’s speech (source)
On a politically rational level, however, there is little that the speech left to be desired. He clearly laid out his priorities, pointed out the weaknesses but reassured the people that things are doable. The fact, that he took a big but well measured swipe at Dubya only strengthened the power of his words. However, he apparently felt the need to support his words by drawing from history, not in the least by quoting George Washington and following (quite literally) in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln.
I must admit, however, that I was slightly unsettled by Obama putting communism and fascism in the same basket when he said that “(…) earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.”. Without trying to put too fine a point on it, it should be noted that while Fascism and its equally despicable offspring, Nazism, were defeated by brute force, Communism crumbled because it was outspent, outdeveloped by capitalist (or liberal) democracy. Hence, fascism was defeated by missiles and tanks whereas communism was defeated by sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. I’m sorry if I sound too anal about it. I realize that the above might make little to no difference on the other side of The Pond, but I feel these things should not be left unsaid. History is important over here as well.
In any case, The Big O set himself the task to remake America. Good luck!