Friday, 5 September 2008

A terrible speech from McCain

Oh dear. The audience reaction said it all. In the cutaway shots from John McCain's speech to the Republican party convention, people were frowning, were looking all about them, their heads were slumped. One guy was even yawning.

That's how bad McCain's speech was. In front of the easiest crowd he'll ever have to deal with, he managed to bore his own supporters rigid. It's as though Jim Davidson had a crowd made up entirely of south London racists and died a death.

McCain's delivery was plodding and he stumbled over his words several times. At one point when he was talking about Sarah Palin, he said that she had "worked with her hands and nose". He paused. "And knows that..." Whoops.

He was so obviously reading it from the screens in front of him. He hasn't mastered the art of looking straight through the screens to give the impression of speaking off the cuff, which Obama has. Worst of all, he lacked any sort of passion and there wasn't a consistent theme or message running through his speech.

It wasn't wholly bad - the passage towards the end about his experiences as a PoW was quite effective, but even that went on a bit too long. The trouble is, that should have been at the start of his speech. It could have formed the basis of a speech in which he'd oversome adversity, and he could help America overcome adversity too.

To illustrate how bad it was, just imagine exactly the same speech in the hands of others. Had Barack Obama given the speech, it would have risen and fallen like a symphony. We would not just have been told about his PoW experiences: we would have been right there in the cell with him.

But even worse for McCain, just imagine George W Bush giving the speech. Although he lacks Obama's eloquence, I'm sure even he would have managed to give it a folksy charm which it lacked in McCain's hands.

As it was, McCain sounded just like your grandad telling you his war story for the 58th time. He knows that you've heard it before, but that you're too polite to shut him up. And because he knows you've heard it before, he's just going through the motions, without even trying to engage your interest.

I'll be amazed if McCain gets a post-convention bounce in the polls after this terrible effort.

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