Yeah, I finally watched Barack Obama’s half-hour message, online. It’s an excellent wrap-up to a too-long campaign and it hit all the right notes for me, anyway. Some of it is production values, of course, but there were genuinely affecting passages, especially when Obama tied his own story to the particular issues he addressed, as with education or health care. Folks have compared him to John F. Kennedy quite a bit, but I think actually the better parallel is with Abraham Lincoln – a man who essentially came from nowhere by dint of study, ambition, and genuine vision. He’ll have a lot to live up to if he wins – but I’ll be proud to punch my ballot for Barack Obama.
Postscript: What if, instead of public financing, we just gave every candidate a half-hour block of TV time to use as he or she would in the week before Election Day? This long form emphasizes, if anything, the sheer volume of substantive policy proposals that make up Obama’s platform – and might point up a candidate who didn’t have anything substantive to say.