Though not a speech for the ages, Senator Barack Obamas acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday night was one firmly rooted in the age. Already renowned for his oratorical prowess and having secured his place in American history as the first minority to receive a major partys presidential nomination, the Senator discarded the soaring rhetorical prose that ushered him onto the national stage a mere four years ago at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Presented with a canvas of unprecedented scope, Obama sacrificed the broad thematic strokes of the past for a flowing series of bold, sharp, punctuated stabs. The result was a Neimanesque caricature of an eager young warrior steeled for the combat that is about to begin in earnest. Having created an irresistible gravity for the speech by raising expectations and provoking Conservative derision by moving the location of his acceptance speech to the airy environs of the 75,000 seat Invesco Field, Obama commanded a combined in-person and viewing audience of truly gargantuan size. Presented with the opportunity to reach more of the electorate in a singular moment than at any other time in the campaign, the Senator delivered a tactically brilliant performance that included a demonstration of his mastery of political jujitsu. After acknowledging Senator Hillary Clinton, her supporters and former President Bill Clinton as well as his running mate, Joe Biden and graying Party lion Ted Kennedy Obama quickly launched into a laundry list of the issues weighing heavily on the minds of voters. From jobs to the housing crisis; health care to gas prices; credit card debit to skyrocketing college tuition; Obama painted a picture of an America assailed by economic tumult that threatened the viability of the Middle Class and the hallowed American Dream. Leaving no doubt of where he believes responsibility lies or his willingness to engage in the bare knuckled fisticuffs of the campaign, the Senator forcefully asserted, These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush. America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this. The sharp opening jab signaled the aggressive offensive tone that would color his speech. While Obama would go on to unleash a flurry of attacks and indictments against his opponent, he acknowledged Senator McCains military service .with bravery and distinction, and for that, we owe him our gratitude and respect. Seeking to dispel the image of presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain as a maverick; calling his judgment into question and linking him directly to President Bush in one fell swoop, Obama said, John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? Following this with concrete proposals to cut taxes on 95 percent of working families; tap American coal and natural gas reserves and invest $150 billion in renewable energy; the junior Senator from Illinois attacked Republican caricatures of him as an empty suit head on. Co-opting criticisms of Democratic pandering to teachers union, Obama proposed higher standards and greater accountability for higher pay and increased educational funding. Defending the Democratic Partys honor on the national security front, Obama declared, We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. Casting himself as the heir to Roosevelt and Kennedys mettle, he added, As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation Boldly throwing the gauntlet of McCains perceived advantage on national security issues squarely in the Republicans face, Obama insisted, If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander in chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have. Drawing the lines on what he believes to be acceptable in the course of the coming campaign, Obama declared, ..what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism. Seeking to reach beyond the base of the Democratic Party, Senator Obama sought common ground on controversial issues that define the political fault lines between Conservatives and Liberals. While defending a womans right to choose an abortion, he proposed that agreement could be found in reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies. Acknowledging the importance and cultural roots of gun ownership as well as he condescending remarks on the matter in the primaries- he insisted that keeping automatic weapons out of the hands of inner city criminals was not an assault on the Second Amendment. Acknowledging the historic significance of the day, Obama quoted a young preacher from Georgia who stepped into the pages of American history with his own remarks before a teeming throng of his fellow Americans 45 years earlier. Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, Senator Obama insisted, "We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back." And with a closing quote from scripture, Obama completed what was a tactical campaign masterpiece. Though his speech was not one that will be recorded in the annals of great oratories, it is one that left no doubt as to his resolve, his proposals and his dreams. In doing so, he has challenged Senator McCain to engage him on the very ground the Republican has accused him of vehemently avoiding; that of consequence and substance. And so it begins, faithful readers. With a bold cry from the West, the battle is joined. Stay tuned for further updates as events warrant and the Republican counterstrike is delivered.