It took a while, but Obama finally got the speech he wanted from a Clinton.

No doubt about it, Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonJam-packed primary poses a serious threat to Democrats in 2020 Will the Mueller report go public? The courts, not Barr, may ultimately decide Lessons from the 1999 U.S. military intervention in Kosovo MORE knocked it out of the park last night. He always does. His speech laid out the Democrats' case for Obama and against McCain. Clinton also reassuringly used a key word his wife did not: ready.

It was a good night for the Democrats. Arranging to have New Mexico and Illinois cede their votes and to have New York and, specifically, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGraham: McCain 'acted appropriately' by handing Steele dossier to FBI Why Mueller's hedge on obstruction decision was a mistake Giuliani says news media treat Dems better than GOP MORE, nominate Obama provided the visuals the party wanted to send. The nomination of an African American is a profoundly good thing, something Republicans would be foolish not to recognize.

But one can't help but think how much stronger the Democrats would be today if all of this had happened sooner. Forget about the long, divisive primary — these things happen in elections — but had the party unified sooner, had the Democrats not had the public airing of dirty laundry that continues today, had there not been a Democratic National Committee meeting that resulted in clashes over Florida and Michigan delegates and chants of "Denver! Denver!," and had there been a clear, ringing endorsement by Hillary Clinton when she left the race and had Bill Clinton not continued talking about Candidates X and Y, the Democrats would be in a much stronger position.

Expectations are high for Obama's remarks tonight. He sets the bar rather high himself and Bill Clinton's speech last night raised the bar a little higher.

Obama's speech tonight, whether from Mile High or Mount Olympus, will be pure political theater. But will he meet his own expectations and lead a unified party?