Concession Speeches

Concession speeches always impress me.

Romney attained the Republican nomination for President having satisified the Tea-Party fringe and extreme right. He subsequently steered to the centre to face-off against Obama and face head-on the voters. Expecting just this, Obama and the Democratic campaign quickly seized the initiative and began pressing the point by questioning Romney’s integrity and portarying him as schizoid (Moderate Mitt v Radical Romney). This made Romney look at best undecided and at worst untrusting.

The incumbent maintained composure in the face of a stubbornly faltering economy and amidst yet further headwinds. A late pre-election fall in unemployment should not be underestimated in its assistance to the President here. Nor too should the role of women.

Not surprisingly, President Obama is clearly a favourite among women. He has more ’emotional intelligence’ than most U.S. politicians, Republican or Democrat. But he was given the game-breaker late in the campaign by a woman. A strong woman, fearsome and tragic, who (perhaps inadvertently) gave her vote to Obama.

That woman was Sandy.

But for all the talk about who won and why, I was fascinated (as I always am) with the concession and victory speeches.

Not to detract from Obama. Not at all. But to my mind concession speeches are always the greatest. But why is that?

Is it simply because they (generally) come first?

Is it because of their candor – essentially devoid of ambition and so full of humility and realism?

Losing speeches have less rhetoric, they have less ‘spin’ than certainly any pre-election and also any victory speech — so un-austentatious that you wonder: if only the candidate could have spoken like that earlier.

But alas. That is impossible.

Concession speeches are great because the speaker has nothing to lose.


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