On Tuesday, the 88th anniversary of women being granted the right to vote, Hillary Clinton was the living embodiment of the dream of electing a woman to the White House deferred as she pledged to support rival Barack Obama’s bid for the White House. On Thursday, the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Obama was the living embodiment of King’s dream being realized as he accepted his party’s nomination for the presidency.

Obama’s 45-minute speech was an amalgam of lofty rhetoric (“[w]e meet at one of those defining moments — a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.”) and red meat (“we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight”); of a call for change (“[t]onight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land – enough!”) and reiteration of the usual liberal laundry list every other convention speaker recited by rote (“you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach”); of a plea to rise above politics as usual (“[t]he times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook”) and the usual attacks on the “Bush-McCain Administration (“what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time?”).

[By the way, Obama cannot possibly keep his promise to “go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less” because the Supreme Court has ruled that giving the executive branch the line item veto is an unconstitutional encroachment on the powers of the legislative branch. The clueless crowd cheered and waved their blue-and-white “CHANGE” signs. Could it be that Obama – who hasn’t completed his first term in the Senate – really doesn’t understand how Washington works? No, because he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School part-time for 10 years – which means he’s just another cynically manipulative pol.]

As The Stiletto was wondering how to sum up the speech, Obama summed it up for her: “If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.”

Indeed, because Obama has no legislative record to run on much of his speech was devoted to attacking his opponent (“I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn’t know” and “Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years, and John McCain has been there for 26 of them.”).

But since national security is The Stiletto’s Number One issue this election cycle, let’s cut to the chase: Did Obama make the case that he has the judgment and experience to be commander-in-chief? Obama outlined the geopolitical legacy of the Bush Doctrine – and both at the beginning and end of this rhetorical riff, challenged McCain to a debate on how to resolve them:

If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander in chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.

John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of hell — but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we’re wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war. …

You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice – but it is not the change we need. …

As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

Obama did not explain how he could invade Pakistan to go after bin Laden when that country’s leadership has already put him on notice that it would be considered an act of war; or how he plans to “finish” the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban, and what criteria he would use to determine they no longer pose a threat of global jihad; or how he will curb Russian aggression and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

So it looks like it’s going to be a one-sided debate, with McCain doing all the talking.

Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog, chosen an Official Honoree in the Political Blogs category by the judges of the 12th Annual Webby Awards (the Oscars of the online universe) along with CNN Political Ticker, Swampland (Time magazine) and The Caucus (The New York Times).

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