I have now had two-family related anecdotes about Senator McCain’s acceptance speech that indicate its impact may be more significant than I anticipated. The first came in an e-mail from my brother, a very smart political observer, who said (and I’m quoting him with his permission) that while McCain isn’t America’s greatest political orator,
he connected with me in a manner that I did not think possible…. [the speech] re-defined my opinion of the man, which will have a lasting impact…. I have not had as much interest (or even excitement) in a presidential race as I do in this one. That interest developed as both conventions unfolded. I never thought I could get excited about the McCain campaign, but that is now a real possibility. And for the first time in memory the vice presidential candidates play a major role (thanks to Palin).
The second data point: Earlier today I found myself sending a link of McCain’s speech to our home computer with a note to my wife, saying that I wanted our young children to watch the conclusion of his speech, which recounted his time as a POW and included his beautiful meditation on America. I told Cindy I thought it would teach our children an important lesson.
When I saw it last night, I immediately knew the coda of McCain’s speech was powerful, evocative, and deeply moving, even as I thought the policy section was not particularly memorable. But it may be that for many Americans, the conclusion was so powerful and moving, and such a tribute to the man and his love of country, that it will carry the day and make the speech more of a success, and more memorable, than I initially thought.