If I had led a different life, I would have been a political consultant. Fortunately for all involved, I decided to make money at age 20 instead of taking an unpaid internship.
I watch political debates and speeches with part of my brain trying to feel the speech and the other part being a nagging critic.
I was fascinated by the McCain concession speech. It was the first time during the entire election I saw the McCain that "independents" liked in 2000. He was still his self-promoting Jack -- everything referred to the honor of running and the love he felt from supporters -- but he also took the opportunity to communicate the message of unity and the significance of the moment for a country constantly in a debate about race.
For a moment I wondered if McCain's acknowledgement of the significance of the first African-American president was a bit defensive, that his defeat was to caused by greater force of history. But as he kept pushing the forward a positive message of unity, acknowledged errors in his campaign, and controlled a bitter and disappointed audience I realized he truly did see this as an important moment in United States history. His speech was, unfortunately for him, his best of the campaign.
After the Obama acceptance speech I recognized how important it was for McCain's speech to lead with the historical significance of Obama's victory. Obama was not, could not, and should not have mentioned the importance of being the first black US president. He is the President-elect, not the the fist black President-elect.