In the Boston Globe this morning, Tom Oliphant, no foe of Mr. Kerry, says the nominee "essentially blew an opportunity he may not get again until the debates with Bush this fall" and "muffed an opportunity to hone great material into a powerful address."
I know what he's referring to: Kerry's sometimes rushed delivery. But this seems like a needlessly harsh appraisal and a distorted impression of the speech itself.
From the start of Kerry's speech I could tell that he kept talking into rising applause -- something like the rhetorical equivalent of spitting into the wind. He would nail a good applause line and then rush into the next verse of the speech.
In many cases I wondered or worried that some of those lines couldn't be heard over the din, though I suspected that television microphones would do a better job keeping Kerry's voice audible over the crowd.
At the time this struck me as a function of Kerry's lack of expertise as a public speaker. A master like a Clinton or an Obama can make magic of those moments, half-heartedly trying to talk over the crowd, only to let them again and again beat him back with their cheers. Kerry mowed right through them, though perhaps it was simply that Kerry had a speech he could only get through if he took few or no breaks for sustained applause.
In any case, I really didn't think it was nearly so big a deal as Oliphant did. But I'd be curious to hear others' opinions.