Joe Biden scored big on Thursday with a Democratic presidential nomination speech that will be remembered as a new beacon of light in this nation's darkest time.
In fact, that's an image drawn from Biden's words — words that came from his heart.
"If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness," he declared. "Character is on the ballot. Who we are as a nation. What we stand for. And, most importantly, who we want to be."
Framing this election as a stark choice, Biden described his policy aspirations, from climate to education to jobs and the economy. But he made it clear that his first priority will be on the pandemic and the economic recession that has accompanied it. At a time of suffering and uncertainty, he presented himself as a person of unending compassion, running against a president who struggles to show any.
"If he's given four more years, he'll be what he's been the last four years: a president who takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others, cozies up to dictators and fans the flames of hate and division," Biden said.
Drawing the contrast with Trump — whose failures and incompetence have brought fear, division and pain to the nation — and himself was the very strength not only of Biden's speech but of the entire Democratic National Convention.
Biden put it quite simply: Trump failed in his most basic duty to protect us. Biden vowed to protect us always. And in a life of public service he has shown that he can — and will.
Biden speech was optimistic and forward looking — promising new technology, more jobs, child care and fair immigration that "reflects our values." He promised to preserve Social Security — and jabbed at Trump for cutting the payroll tax that pays for it. "I will protect Social Security and Medicare. You have my word on it," Biden said.
The Washington Post's columnist, Dana Milbank, also put it simply: "Biden speaks from a place Trump doesn't know — the heart. Words kept recurring: Dignity. Normalcy. Decency. Integrity. Stability. Sanity. Family. Big-hearted. Justice. Respect. Faith. Hope. Love. There was little about policy from Biden, and certainly no laundry list of proposals and promises. There was no attempt to throw red meat to the political left. This was about healing and recovery."
Jenifer Rubin, another Post columnist, wrote: The text of the speech was well-shaped, but the delivery lifted it above an ordinary address. Perhaps without an audience Biden could speak more conversationally, look us in the eye and bring a greater sense of intimacy. Not known as a great orator, he gave the speech of his life, demolishing the notion that he's lost a step (another example of ridiculous projection from Trump). The intensity and sincerity in Biden's voice, the determination with which he spoke was what we have been missing. It was the voice of a president."
Even Fox News analysts were impressed.
Brit Hume: "It was a very good speech, I thought, delivered with force and clarity by him."
Chris Wallace: "I thought it was enormously effective. Remember, Donald Trump has been talking for months about Joe Biden as mentally shot, a captive of the Left. And yes, Biden was reading from the teleprompter and a prepared speech, but I thought that he blew a hole, a big hole in the characterization."
Of course he did. It was just another Trump lie, after all.
We need truth. And we need light. Biden offers that.
"United we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America," he told us early in his speech. "We will choose hope over fear, facts over fiction, fairness over privilege."
He finished with the same unbeatable theme.
"For love is more powerful than hate. Hope is more powerful than fear. Light is more powerful than dark. This is our moment. This is our mission."