I can describe this speech in one word: unbelievable. I have not seen Obama as passionate and on point as he was on Thursday. Oftentimes during long speeches I get bored and zone out, missing middle portions of the speaker's remarks (see: commencement) but Obama's 45-minute address kept me interested the entire time.
To begin with, his words about Hillary were amazing. Personally, I felt he did more with his one line about how Hillary serves as an inspiration for young girls everywhere - including his own daughters - for party unity than Hillary or Bill did during their speeches (not that they did not try, but Obama nailed the line better).
Obama also made an excellent point that this election is a defining moment for this country, and I personally agree that this is true. We are in an unprecedented time in our country. When the majority of the files of the Bush Administration are declassified in a generation, it is going to make the Nixon and Reagan Administrations look like choir boys. The Neo-Con way of running foreign policy and keeping a stronghold grip on domestic citizens goes against almost everything in the Constitution and everything that the Founding Fathers meant for this country. We simply cannot have four more years of an out-of-touch Republican surrounded by Neo-Cons.
Another excellent point that Obama made was in the form of the government's powers and their limits. He began by saying that government did not cause the majority of America's problems, but they compounded the problems by not responding in an adequate manner. Later in the speech Obama echoed this sentiment by saying that the government cannot parent children; the government has limits. This could not be more true. In a society where parents feel that their children can do no wrong, where good teachers are underappreciated, and video games and McDonald's replace reading and sports, a bureaucratic government is no match to set the youth on the right track. Parents cannot expect the government to act like a nanny.
For my last point of praise, I want to bring up Obama's assertion that we need to find a sense of common purpose for citizens and politicians. Whether pro-life or pro-choice, both sides can agree that unwanted pregnancies should be reduced. Whatever your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, everyone can agree that gangsters should not be toting AKs. Whether you're for or against gay marriage (an area where both candidates agree - anti-gay marriage), you still know that homosexuals deserve all the rights and opportunities as their heterosexual peers (unless you're Pat Robertson).
Of course, Obama's speech had some rhetoric and promises that I do not see as feasible. To begin with, to say that you are going to go through the U.S. Government's overhead line by line and get rid of the wasteful programs is a bit of a stretch. Not only would it take a massive team of experienced (and expensive) accountants to do this, but the lobbying spider web behind these programs is simply too strong to just up and rid the government of wasteful spending. It would take decades to undo the damage that corrupt lobbying has done to Washington; Obama may lay the groundwork for it if he tries hard, but there is no way he will be getting rid of it.
Additionally, he said that he would cut taxes for 95% of Americans. He may very well do this, but 96% of Americans make $150,000 or less, so this would be accomplished by simply doing a non-Bush tax cut (in other words, cut taxes primarily for the middle class and below, not the other way around). These words were political rhetoric.
Finally Obama made a very bold statement in saying that he would end our dependence on Middle Eastern oil in 10 years. It's not as bold a statement as Obama saying he would end our dependence on all foreign oil, but it's still a hefty promise. Personally, I do not see it happening. The oil companies' grip on Congress has only strengthened in the past eight years, and they will not be pleased to hear that their record profits from black gold will be imperiled by Obama's policies, and they will make sure that key Congressmen vote in their interest (right, Ted Stevens?). Again, just like with the line items, Obama may very well try in earnest to do the right thing and look for other forms of energy beyond Middle Eastern oil, but it's going to be an uphill battle that will more than likely take more than a decade.
Of course, Obama's willingness to even try to attempt these things is a positive. I certainly don't think that McCain would send the country in the right direction in terms of wasteful spending (even though he has fought against pork-barrel spending) or our dependence on Middle Eastern oil (and don't say drilling offshore is a solution to this). If Obama were to win the presidency, he may not fix this country in all aspects where it is broken, but he would get us going there, whereas I do not see McCain doing so. Peace.
Photos - Obama at Mile High Stadium (www.mtv.com), Obama and Biden at Invesco Field (www.mtv.com), A packed Invesco Field before Obama's speech (www.mtv.com), An empty Invesco Field (commons.wikimedia.org)