Put aside the merits of the two speeches by Barack Obama and Dick Cheney. What is interesting is the timing. I think Toby Harnden has an interesting observation:
But the very fact that Obama chose to schedule his speech (Cheney’s was announced first) at exactly the same time as the former veep was a sign of some weakness.
I think it’s more than weakness. Rather, Obama seems uncomfortable with dissenting voices being heard without a rebuttal. The war of words is one Obama is confident he can win if only he is heard, which is why Obama constantly is holding prime time press conferences, giving major speeches, and so on. While the need to counter-schedule a speech to offset Cheney’s previously planned speech reflects weakness for sure, it also reflects a lack of faith on Obama’s part in the ability of the American people to decide important issues.