A good speech has to have a memorable theme, stated early and reprised at the end. It did not emerge in this address. A theme was tacked on as a kind of afterthought — “a new era of responsibility” — and pitched to the news media a few days beforehand to ensure it would make the lead.My favorite analysis comes from William Gavin, who notes there's an eloquence of words and yet:
But the setting — the first African-American standing there in the bright winter sunshine as our new president — had an eloquence all its own. I think we will remember this occasion more for the man who gave it than for the words he said. He could have stood there for 20 minutes of silence and still communicated great things about America.
Anyhow, God bless him and his family, and I hope he is a great president.