But these sorts of wonky considerations are not the issues on which the success of the speech will ultimately be judged. The real question is whether it persuaded voters. On that score, I have my doubts — it seemed over-wonky and complicated, with Mr. Obama’s signature rhetoric left for the end, when a lot of viewers had probably already tuned out. His supporters were no doubt thrilled, and his detractors annoyed. But the mushy middle he very much needs to win? I suspect a lot of them were watching the season premier of “So You Think You Can Dance.”Obama needs to court people who aren't sure whether or not they want health care and care so little about the question that they'd rather watch that crook Tom DeLay dance? The people McArdle implies are too stupid to understand the words coming out of Obama's mouth and that have the attention span of a preteen raised on 30-minute Disney sitcoms? That mushy middle?
The middle votes on basic economic issues. "Am I doing better now than I was four years ago?" and "It's the economy, stupid." Obama won the mushy middle because Bush squandered the public's money and let the financial sector run wild and free. McCain would have won otherwise, for no red-blooded Real American will turn down tax cuts or the chance to go to war, where they can pretend to be part of a real-life action movie and watch foreigners blown up in spectacular explosions.