This’ll be fun to revisit, especially the bit at the start about the “false … choice between our safety and our ideals,” if/when he adopts that classified loophole for enhanced interrogations. Ed is right that the speech was pedestrian, but Obama’s speeches always are; for all the lip service paid to his talent as a stylist, it’s the performance, not the platitudinous prose, that rescues them from feeling prosaic. He strains for lyricism but never quite manages liftoff, which is why no one remembers anything he’s said afterwards. Good luck getting the media to draw that comparison with Lincoln.

His best moment comes at the very end. Let’s hope he means it. Exit quotation as the market tanks this afternoon: “They didn’t hear something new.”

Tags: Barack Obama