Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama's Speech

As a piece of rhetoric, and I do not mean that in a negative sense but rather the classical definition as put forth by Plato, Aristotle and others, I thought Barak Obama’s speech last night was very good. Actually, I thought the speaker before him, Senator Dick Durbin, was also very good. Durbin was able to get the crowd involved. I believe this is something that you want to do at a convention and the speakers I had heard up until then did not do that. Durbin got the crowd shouting “No,” after a number of questions. This was a successful introduction then to Barak Obama.

In terms of Obama’s speech, I thought he was charming, charismatic, interesting, and for a convention speech, fairly effective in laying out his plans. Obviously I would not expect any speaker at a convention to be able to talk on all the issues, or give you a lot of specifics. Certainly at a convention you claim to be able to do more than you can. The reason for that is, without the help of others, specifically those in the legislative branch, you can’t do everything. Still, at times Obama told you how he was going to get things down.

Obama used repetition effectively. I am actually surprised that thus far I have not heard anyone mention how he borrow from Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. Obama, like King, kept coming back to the line, “Now is the time”. Still, Barak did this effectively.

I thought Obama’s speech had a clear introduction, body and conclusion and if I were grading him in a class, he would do well on that particular assignment.

Off of the topic of public speaking for a moment, I thought John McCain was very effective waiting until the day after the convention to announce his choice for Vice President. The fact that he waited and the novelty of Sarah Palin, a little known politician, a politician from Alaska and a female, certainly have taken some of the attention off of Barak Obama’s speech. Now I am interested to see how McCain and his fellow Republicans do at their convention. Once again, I’ll be grading.