Where Obama Went Wrong

Most of the speakers at last week's Democratic National Convention whipped up the partisan crowd into a frenzy. Here's why I think the main event — President Obama's nomination acceptance speech — fell flat.

The crowd was ready. The delivery, as always, was masterful. But in the end, President Obama's nomination acceptance speech spoke more for what it wasn't, in fact, than what it was. 

Republican nominee Mitt Romney has made a habit of criticizing Obama's habit of criticizing America on foreign shores. Many political observers — including the Tampa Bay Times' respected PolitiCheck columnists — found Romney's claims grossly distorted. Naturally, conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation disagree.

Nevertheless, for someone so willing to acknowledge prior administrative policy failures, Obama found little fault with himself or his way of doing business over the past nearly-four years — with the exception of not doing a better job selling his narrative to the American people.

Perhaps America has become accustomed to his extraordinary prowess on the stump. To me, his speech sounded like leftover meatloaf — satisfying when fresh out of the oven yesterday, but warmed over grease today.

Obama made his biggest mistake of the campaign by using the convention to energize his base. He didn't need to energize the crowd — they were already pumped from Joe Biden's terrific speech, which visibly moved Michelle Obama, and the fascinating entry of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro into the national consciousness.

What he needed to do was sway Independent voters. And I don't think he got the job done.

Wouldn't it have been so much more refreshing to hear him acknowledge that America is not in a better place than it was when he was first elected? Unemployment is 8.1 percent. Food and gas prices are the highest they've ever been. Housing is in the toilet. The Middle East and Europe threaten our welfare, as does China. 

(And — by the way — those 4.5 million jobs? Do yourself a favor and fact check that number. It's just a big, fat quarter-truth.)

Perhaps it would have been wiser for him to take a different tack in his nomination speech than when he was first elected. Obama's failure to cultivate relationships inside Congress — highlighted by his hiring of assertive-is-putting-it-mildly Rahm Emanuel and his arrogant hey-we-won-the-election-so-back-off style of dealmaking — made it difficult for him to get anything done, even when the Democrats controlled Congress.

Here's what's now the worst-kept secret in town: I voted for Obama in 2008. Although I liked and respected McCain (I still do), I couldn't tolerate his choice of Sarah Palin for VP. At the time I thought: 'This is your first decision under pressure, and she's the best you can do?' Plus, it smacked of pandering, which I find insulting.

But I digress.

I voted for Obama because I desperately wanted to see his vision of America come true. A more tolerant, less aggressive US of A. But things are worse now than they've ever been, and when I think that 11 years ago our Congressmen and women stood on the steps of the Capitol and sang God Bless America impromptu, I know that Obama is not the man to bridge this nation's deep ideological divide.

And this is his deepest failure. The varnish on this cool customer and undeniably brilliant community organizer who made hope and change sound so good is faded and scratched. Obama's inability to admit that his administration has made any mistakes, and the stubborn insistence that we are better off now than we were four years ago, demeans the intelligence of the man on the street.

I guess what I'm saying is, if the Democrats have to spend three days convincing America that Americans are better off, then we probably aren't.

Cliff Cuming September 12, 2012 at 10:09 AM
We are in serious trouble.
Cliff Cuming September 12, 2012 at 01:45 PM
And thus the country since we are not getting any leadership from the Dems
Really ?? September 12, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Thank goodness that localy we are so fortunate to have Gail and Toni fighting for us !! Be strong ladies !! And thank you for all you do representing us in Hartford !!
Cliff Cuming September 12, 2012 at 02:45 PM
4.) Constitutional nonsense -- Was President Obama a constitutional professor at the University of Chicago Law School, as he has claimed? Former law school Dean Richard Epstein says no. Charles Johnson reports for TheDC: "When asked about whether Obama had ever taught 'constitutional law' as Obama has claimed as president and on the 2008 campaign trail, Epstein said 'no.' Obama was interested in 'public interest law' and courses on race, he said, and was trying to 'keep his head down' after a national controversy erupted over another member of the law school's faculty because of her interest in racial issues." compare to the noise over Ryan's marathon time
Cliff Cuming September 12, 2012 at 02:50 PM
George Will, meanwhile, was shown saying, "If the Republican Party cannot win in this environment, it has to get out of politics and find another business."
Alethiologist September 12, 2012 at 04:14 PM
What are they doing to cut taxes and the size of government?
Steven Rosenbaum September 12, 2012 at 04:30 PM
At the risk of drawing numerous, pointed, remarks; I would say (Lisa Bigelow), you are not alone.
Elizabeth O'Connell September 12, 2012 at 05:42 PM
While I almost never agree with Lisa (and I certainly dont regarding this article) I will defend her choice to write about her perpective on politics, community or the price of tea in China. I find your response to her writing and those who join the conversation via the comments curious. If you think this is fluff and and due to Lisa being a mom it should be dismissed, and that we are a bunch of lamebrains who engage with her, why did you post in the first place and ask EIGHT questions? How could you possible care what we think?
Alethiologist September 12, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I was a democrat for many many years. I did not abandon them, they abandoned me. No longer are they the party of JFK. They have gone so far to the left since Johnson. Every year they keep trying to build some fantasy land. They abandoned meaningful social goals. They say they are for education, but scores are flat and teacher union salaries are up. They say they are for the working man, yet unemployment is a national disgrace. Clinton said the era of big government is over...but then touts HCA. They say they are controlling expenses but government salaries far outstrip those in the private sector. They say the republicans were led too far to the right by the tea party but I say the republicans are left of center in a nation that, when polled, is just right of center. How else to explain the ridiculous debt run up by both parties!
Amo Probus September 13, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Glad to see I am not alone! This is the most important election of our lifetime. Answer one question: Who would your grandchildren want you to vote for? Stop and think about it long and hard before answering
Ipso Facto September 13, 2012 at 02:20 PM
No need to guess who my grandchildren will vote for. They already told me and that would be President Obama. He has: >Stabilized our economy which was headed for catastrophe created by George W. Bush -- you may remember him, the guy who inherited a budget surplus but walked out of office leaving us with more than $10 TRILLION in federal debt? >Added millions of jobs...as opposed to the last Republican president who lost more jobs during his term than any president in U.S. history. >Got us out of a war we were lied into, that cost more than $2 TRILLION which we borrowed from the Chinese...and now Iraq is Iran's BFF. >Kept us safe...as opposed to the last Republican president who allowed terrorists to attack and kill thousands right here in our homeland. >Enacted healthcare legislation which is already providing tremendously helpful benefits to American families (and starting to bend down the insane costs we were paying to predatory health insurance companies). My kids and grandkids want a president who has put us on the road to recovery after 8 years of a Republican president who did an absolutely miserable job, was an incompetent and dangerously misguided lightweight. The last thing our country needs at this time is W the Moron, Act 2 -- which is what we would have were Romney elected. Fortunately, that's not going to happen.
Cliff Cuming September 13, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Is Bush running for office again?
teddy 2 September 13, 2012 at 02:51 PM
cliff, even Rushbo agrees that he DID teach constitutional law... STOP THE LIES !! Limbaugh: "Obama Did Teach Constitutional Law But What He Taught Was ... Race, Gender, Grievance Law" VIDEO ››› APRIL 4, 2012 4:33 PM EDT ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF Wiki.answers.com After Barack Obama graduated from Harvard Law School, he was hired, first as an instructor, and then as an adjunct professor of law, at the University of Chicago Law School; he taught three courses, including Constitutional Law, from 1992 to 2004. Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Did_Obama_teach_constitutional_law#ixzz26MTnkwwl
teddy 2 September 13, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Is there a difference between Dumbyea and Myth ?
Cliff Cuming September 13, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Cliff Cuming September 13, 2012 at 03:06 PM
not so fast Teddy 2 http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2929879/posts why are there so many issues with this guy's background? I can understand a few but it seems he obscured much of his past and has since disowned some 20 years in Wright's pews
Cliff Cuming September 13, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Carter and Obama?
Really ?? September 13, 2012 at 03:25 PM
blah blah blah ... Forward !! Clearly that screams Clinton and Teddy Kennedy ... Time for a change ! And Romney is the one who is available !
Really ?? September 13, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Was Al Gore to busy working on his internets to show up ??
Really ?? September 13, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I don't care what you think. Please stop posting Elizabeth. You are becoming as prolific as EMR. And that is not a good thing.
Hermann Zwergel September 14, 2012 at 12:44 AM
At least Al Gore had enough balls to serve in Nam, unlike Bush Jr who refused to take his flight physical when needed....
RD September 14, 2012 at 03:11 AM
ipso your granchildren are the ones out smoking dope and living the new american dream


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