I’ve been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I have been her servant first, last and always. And I’ve never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn’t thank God for the privilege. — John McCain, Sept 4, 2008
Sen. John McCain is not a natural at the teleprompter, and his speech was at least ten minutes too long, but he struck the right tones, and the last twenty minutes of his speech were humble, heartfelt and tremendously moving – moving enough so that the last paragraphs of the speech were drowned out in emotional cheers. I think he did what he needed to do. And I liked that both he and Gov. Palin talked about being “servants” to the country.
I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.
If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.
I’m going to fight for my cause every day as your President. I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank Him: that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on earth, and with hard work, strong faith and a little courage, great things are always within our reach. Fight with me. Fight with me.
Fight for what’s right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.
Fight for our children’s future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.
Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.
He was clearly speaking from his heart, and I admit, I was inspired, and proud of my country, and genuinely admiring of McCain for his toughness and his humility. And once again (despite what the critics say) we heard, as we did last night, an invitation to all Americans, not to simply consent to be led, but to go out and lead, doing great things in small-but-meaningful and invaluable ways. Yes, I liked the speech; it was real. I think it is time to get back to some of the volunteering I’ve sort of gotten out of, and I will do that.
Kate at Small Dead Animals: It’s what makes his campaign slogan work so well
As Betsy Newmark seems also to note: McCain is at his best, and most moving when he talks about what this country means to him. I was struck also by this line:
I loved [America] because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s.
I liked Cindy McCain’s speech, too. Also too long, but authentic and heartfelt.
Four words Jim Geraghty did not expect to hear: “And they broke me”. I didn’t expect them either, and they shocked me. They also moved me enormously. Poignant. Humility like that cannot be faked.
I liked his off-the-cuff moments, as when the Code Pink Clown tried to charge the stage, and he said, “don’t let the ground noise throw you off.” He also noted, America “wants us to stop yelling at each other!” Amen, sir.
Reactions – will be updated continuously, most recent first, so check back!:
Victor Davis Hanson: the last minute was WORTH the whole hour! Completely agree.
Gay Patriot is glad he followed his gut and voted McCain in the primaries.
Cobb’s got the cartoons going on
Strata: Also moved by McCain’s simple love of country, and his humility in confession he was “blessed by misfortune”
Megan McArdle liked the video
The Corner is mostly shrugging
MSNBC: Uses a Bush Derangement Headline.
Patterico: Shamefully exploiting female issues.