After praising Sarah Palin’s speech, I realized that I’ve had a positive reaction to all three of the major speeches at this year’s conventions. I guess it’s now up to John McCain to make it a clean sweep of solid performances.

Even if McCain tanks (a real concern given his numerous lackluster speeches), I do feel the need to point out, once again, how much better our choices are this election. Just going on the convention speeches alone, I remember cringing through George Bush’s arrogant and John Kerry’s haughty acceptance speeches four years ago. And John Edwards was so wan and timid that I actually went away concerned about his capability to lead the nation if called upon. As for Dick Cheney – yeah, well, he doesn’t give speeches so much as he tells you how it’s going to be.

Speeches don’t make the leader and I’m not suggesting that comparing this year’s oratorical moments with those of four years ago is a proper method of judging candidate quality. But these speeches are one more indication that, in serious times, our parties have delivered choices more compelling than the ones we’ve had in recent memory.

I’m sure, to partisan readers, I sound foolish. Don’t I know McCain will burn the Constitution and keep us in perpetual war? Don’t I know Obama will sell us out to our enemies our tax us into third-world status? I guess I don’t know all that. But what I do know is that presidencies succeed or fail not just through the policies the president supports but how the president reacts to unexpected events. I think we have two tickets who will give us better leadership than their counterparts four or even eight years ago would have (and have) provided.

As we move out of the conventions and into the stretch run of the election, I’m still excited. And I’m still not 100% sure for whom I’ll vote – not because I can’t decide who is the lesser evil but because I haven’t decided who will make the better president. That’s not the worst position to be in.

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