Some random thoughts... Both Dion and Kennedy suffered by being shown up by their introducers. Glen Pearson, who introduced Dion, is a hell of a speechifier. By the end of his introduction I felt I must vote Dion or the future of the planet was in peril - and yet he didn't lambast, he just spoke reasonably. Then Dion came on and was sort of flat and seemed nervous. Kennedy had the same problem. Justin Trudeau is a million-watt light bulb of charisma and made Kennedy look lame by comparison.
I'm partisan so it's not going to surprise anyone that I thought Bob Rae was the best. I wondered if his decision to speak off the cuff was an appeal to the delegates who don't know him and don't trust him. It looked like the crowd was really engaged. In particular, there was a shot of Paul Martin listening to him, leaning forward and smiling; and a shot of Jean Chretien nodding along. It was also a real relief to hear someone talk in sentences rather than sound bites.
I didn't like Ignatieff's speech much. It seemed glitzy and political, and yet strangely flat. But my reaction may have been due to his being last and my being burned out on same-old same-old political stump speeches with massive applause following every trite sound bite. I didn't take many notes from tonight but here's one I took during Ignatieff's speech: "Together we are building a better Liberal party!" ---thunderous applause... "All Canadians will know what Liberals stand for!" ---clap clap clap clap clap clap
Brison and Dryden were very good. I liked the fact that they talked reasonably without all the constant breaks for screaming. Brison had the best line of the night: "Attacking Stephen Harper is easy - it's even fun!"
But for best speech of the week, I'd have to hand it to Howard Dean.