I think that was a fine speech by McCain. But did it do anything to counteract one of the most resonant lines of Obama's speech? "It's not that John McCain doesn't care, it's that he doesn't get it."
I don't think so. He seemed noble and old and all that, but when he says things like "we must catch up to history" it reinforces the notion that he's still behind. It's a little close to "I want to get it!" It's like my grandmother, fresh off her first email check, offering to do IT support. No thanks, Grammy.
His attempt to claim the change mantle will probably only work with people who were looking for a reason to vote for him anyway, who are trying to "catch up" to this idea of change being what they want, after all. It's sort of hard to claim you're an agent of change when you've long been closely associated with, if not instrumental, in what needs to be changed. Even if we allow him uncynical intention in this, I think it reinforces the "doesn't get it" idea. It doesn't go well, either, with the standard conservative malarkey about the economy and taxes. That is, after all, part of what got us in to this mess and it doesn't take an economist to see that. That section of his speech doesn't do well when juxtaposed against Obama's "tax cut for 95%" line-which is pretty memorable-- and his litany of specific economic proposals.
They'll get their bump but I think it'll be fragile and short-lived.