I said last night that Barack Obama's acceptance speech, while not as flashy as some others in his past and several others at the convention, "did the job" he needed it to do. It was solid, serious, and under- rather than over-emotional -- traits shared by his strikingly low-key inaugural address -- and in that sense was a better bet for the president than going all-out to repeat his "Yes we can!" performance of four years ago.
- If he had been much more flowery, at a time of discouraging economic realities, he would be teed up for criticisms that "he's out of touch," or "he's all talk," or "great at speeches, bad at results." Those would have been at least as burdensome as the "too downbeat" criticism he is getting instead.
- Instead he was sober, meat-and-potatoes, going into as much detail as a convention speech (vs. a State of the Union) allows. Anyone complaining that there was "not enough substance" in his talk needs to go look at some past nominees' convention speeches. It is possible to go too light on the details, as Mitt Romney must now regret doing in his failure to talk about Afghanistan. But Obama served up about as much policy as normal convention speeches will bear.
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