One of the positive aspects of Barack Obama’s ascension to the Presidency is the renewed attention and emphasis being given to political oratorical skills. There’s a good (if a little too fawning over Obama for my taste) piece on oratory in today’s Washington Post. The author covers some linguistic details about why Obama and other strong political orators are effective, but also points out that strong presentation has more than once masked weak or pernicious substance.
And yes, I think the GOP will probably need to field a strong orator in 2012 to have a good shot at holding Obama to one term. That would be a break with recent trends for Republicans: The last GOP nominee for President who was consistently effective as a speaker was (contain your surprise) Ronald Reagan.