Where did these speeches come from?

First John Kerry, now Al Gore. Maybe there’s something liberating about losing an election, but they sure didn’t sound like this when they were running. Wow!

Listening to the man we all called “Al Bore” eight years ago give a calm, serious, engaging, convincing, devastating speech &#8212 one that would have won him the Presidency had he given it eight years ago at this time &#8212 after listening last night to the man I called “John $#@&ing Kerry” give a very different, but similarly brilliant speech last night &#8212 one that would have won him the Presidency had he given it four years ago &#8212 makes me wonder whether it’s losing a Presidential election that unleashes the inner Demosthenes in a man, or merely being rid of the Bob Shrums of the world.

It also makes me hope we never have to find out what Barack Obama would be like as a defeated Presidential candidate. There’s such a thing as too much power. He could probably convince me to convert to Christianity.

Update One of Chris Suellentrop’s commenters pointed out that Hillary Clinton also played well above her game. Had she given that sort of speech during the primaries, she would have been speaking Thursday night instead of Tuesday night.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com