More surprising was that John Kerry gave a rousing and fiery speech. If he had been like this on the campaign trail in 2004, he might be sitting in the Whitehouse. Ezra Klein has some thoughts on the speech.
The message of Kerry's speech could be summed up like this: "From one flip-flopper who would say anything to get elected to another, Mr. McCain." Kerry was brutal.
The Democratic Party has a tendency to write its losers off. For years after he failed to attain the presidency, Gore was discarded by the very party that nominated him. After Kerry lost to Bush, he was similarly derided: It became impossible, in retrospect, for anyone to explain why Democrats trusted in a wooden windsurfer.
Achieving the presidential nomination is not easy, though, and tonight Kerry reminded the convention center of how he did it. Kerry wasn't exactly courageous as a foreign policy voice in 2004, but he was nominated because he had the potential to be one. There was a gravity to him, and a somberness that came of experiencing both war and its manifold betrayals. Hemmed in by a sense of political caution that reacted poorly to an adverse political environment, he never quite rose to the occasion. Tonight, however, he did. He delivered arguably the greatest speech of his career.
Biden was really good too.