Some are saying it was merely o.k., but my judgment on one hearing is: exceptionally good.
Perhaps it wasn't astonishing stylistically, but I thought he said the things that needed to be said, he said them in fairly memorable ways, and--and this is much of what makes him a great orator--he clearly understood and meant it all.
The bits that resonated most with me, unsurprisingly:
These bits also got the most applause in the Artful Dodger, the local lefty-artsy-type coffee shop where Johnny Quest and I watched it. (True to form, though, some of the lefties gave me a look of some kind when I (and others) clapped for that very last bit there...).
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
Our founding fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations.
Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake.And so, to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.
They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.We are the keepers of this legacy, guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations...
And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, "Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."
I was prepared for a feeling of relief when Bush left, almost no matter who took his place. Mediocrity would have seemed like a blessing. I never thought we'd get somebody like Obama. Who knows how well he'll handle the nuts-and-bolts of the mess Bush left him? But one things for sure: the guy gets the idea of America in a very deep way.