David Maraniss, author of a biography of Barack Obama, compared Obama’s speech in Newtown to the Gettysburg Address. Maraniss claimed that “People will long remember what Barack Obama said in Newtown, his Gettysburg address.” Maraniss found multiple levels of excellence in Obama’s speech: “philosophical, sorrowful, determined, universal, simple, beautiful.”
Noted historian Spike Lee agreed. He considers the speech “one of the greastest [sic] presidential speeches in the history of the US.”
Philosophical depth, universality, and beauty are in the eye of the beholder, of course. For me, the speech was fine. But only in the Age of Oprah could it be considered a soaring masterpiece, and even then only by those who already admire the president. I’d bet the speech will not be “long remembered.”
As for the comparison to Lincoln, I’ll borrow from the response of philosopher Sparky Anderson when someone compared Thurman Munson to Johnny Bench: Don’t never embarrass nobody by comparing them to Abraham Lincoln.