Jen, my take on the speech is rather different from yours, as I relate in the New York Post this morning. The first half of the speech featured a dramatic shift in tone and spirit for Obama — one in which he, for the first time, endorsed the notion of an activist American role abroad and said such a role was good both for the United States and the world:
The fact that Obama was willing to use this nation’s involvement in Iraq — which he had opposed so completely and whose extension in the form of the surge in 2007 he argued against flatly — as an example of what America can do when it puts its mind to it is stunning. “This milestone should serve as a reminder to all Americans that the future is ours to shape if we move forward with confidence and commitment,” he said.
I grant you that the speech descended into liberal boilerplate in the second half, but that is to be expected; what’s interesting in presidential speeches is what’s new in them. And this was new. And surprising. Bill Kristol agrees.