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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 U.S. 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.

Gerry Esposito September 11, 2012 at 04:28 PM
There is no greater honor to the 9/11 victims and survivors (of which I am one) then to let democracy and the political discourse continue today. The U.S. has lost its way since 9/11 and there is no better time like today to try to save it.
momofthree September 11, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Lisa, I am a registered independent...don't pay attention to the extremists on either side and felt very much the way you did until I read this: http://mobile.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2012/08/the_new_new_deal_a_book_argues_that_president_obama_s_stimulus_has_been_an_astonishing_success.single.html
Siwanoy September 11, 2012 at 05:16 PM
"But things are worse now than they've ever been" Great Depression, Civil War both come to mind....
Joe Pankowski September 11, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Gerry: we'll agree to disagree. To my mind, today is a day to honor the victims, the survivors and their families, not for a blog which is likely to start a flame-war on Patch.
sebastian dangerfield September 11, 2012 at 10:28 PM
How did he 'save the auto industry?' And if possible, can you explain why the bank bailouts are bad, and the gm bail out was good? (keep in mind that the american taxpayer will see a profit from bailing out banks, and will see an estimated 50 bio dollar loss on GM.) Gm was never going out of business. Bush , in fact extended the life of GM first-- but filing chapter 11 would not have ever put GM out of business. It would have allowed them to renegotiate the onerous retiree benefits that were struck in better times. Since Obama was elected the unemployment rate has gone from 6.5% to now 8.1%. It has gone from 10% when the Republican House was elected to 8.1 --despite all the rhetoric of how the republicans tie his hands. Since Obama took office, the military budget has expanded by 20%-- if being a neo con is wrong--and you want to save money on defense (as I do--then Obama is not the man --(nor is romney for that matter) --but 'interested--just like Ms Bigelow, you might want to check facts, rather than rely on the b.s that Mr Obama spews. 7 trillion of debt since he was elected--and a net loss of 1.1 mio jobs. That is a terrible record. And if you didnt like bush, you cant like obama-because he didnt change much, except create another entitlement program.
Jane September 11, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Well said Lisa! Thanks for taking the time to write that. President Obama is a big disappointment- dividing our country, not leading on any issue and piling up the debt all the way. Mitt is a fix-it guy and I have every confidence that he will work with Dems and Republicans to solve our nations problems.
John M. September 12, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Jane, how is mr fix-it any different from mr disaster George W. Bush, who sent the USA to the brink of financial disaster, in the fast lane? Not to mention his 9/11 debacle and Iraq fiasco?
sebastian dangerfield September 12, 2012 at 03:40 AM
john m Thanks -- can you tell me the specific policies that george bush created to send us to the brink of financial disaster. Just to let you know, this is about the 17th time I have asked Democrats who repeat the Democratic mantra as though it's real, to explain. So, would be very nice of you, to offer up the exact policies he put in place that caused unemployment and the housing market to fall. (and remember john m....the 9/11 debacle should be clinton's if you blame the first 4 years of stuff on the previous president... but if you want to claim wars as the policies that caused financial disaster--can you have a look at the effects of other wars (created by democrats) and then explain how this war caused fianancial issues, where as the other wars, generally cause financial stimulus. Ill give you a hint as to the policies generally held responsible for financial collapse (repeal of glass steagall and community reinvestment act. ) but you are welcome to actually support your contention any time you want--I want to be educated, but you msnbc fans seem to be unable to support this concept.
sebastian dangerfield September 12, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Other fun facts for the democrats ---bush inherited a recession when he came into office, and the dot.com bubble collapse. I dont remember him blaming clinton. But maybe he did. If he did, would be a very weak/lame thing to not be able to correct things in 4 years, and then continue to blame the guy who was before him 4 years later. Unemployment rate at election time 2008 was 6.5% today 8.1% Net loss of jobs since obama took over 1.1 mio jobs. Number of jobs this guy is saying "created 4.5 mio " but he forgot to mention the 5.6 mio lost during that time. And 7 trillion dollars of debt issued--money wasted on crony projects (why are pork barrell projects even allowed? by the way? I dont like military spending--but why on earth do we do these pork barrell things? The Obama campaign yesterday said that romney , weighing in on the chicago teacher's strike was over -reaching. He should not meddle. hmm--ok, like trayvon marting required the president to say "he would have looked like my son" ---that was not weighing in on local police matters? hmmm gotta love the principles these people have.
Siwanoy September 12, 2012 at 01:36 PM
"The Obama campaign yesterday said that romney , weighing in on the chicago teacher's strike was over -reaching. He should not meddle. hmm--ok, like trayvon marting required the president to say "he would have looked like my son" ---that was not weighing in on local police matters? hmmm gotta love the principles these people have." hrmm, one is the President of the United States, the other is a Governor of Massachusetts. Did the Trayvon Martin incident take place int he United States, yes, ok we're good, there, Did the Chicago teacher's strike take place in Massachusetts, no.
Chris B. September 12, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Maybe the fact that you are not better off now than 4 years ago might have something to do with what you have done with your life in the intervening 4 years. Just a thought.
Lisa Bigelow September 12, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Thanks to all for reading and commenting. As far as the teacher's strike goes, as a voter I am certainly interested in what Mitt Romney has to say about it. Interesting that Emanuel, now Chicago's mayor, has such a contentious relationship with Karen Lewis (Chicago union leader) that the city couldn't send Emanuel in to negotiate with her. That says a lot, I think, about the way the Obama administration did business in the early years. What a wasted opportunity. Thanks again. Lisa B.
sebastian dangerfield September 12, 2012 at 04:11 PM
siwanoy? Again--you baffle me The obama campaign said that presidential candidates should not meddle in local politics. Are you really saying that Romney can only comment on local politics that occur in Massachusetts? Are you serious? Or can you not see the hypocrisy and double standard? Is it your serious contention, that Candidates for The Office of the President of the United States, should confine their remarks to the locality for which they governed or currently govern? Or is your only purpose here, to try to identify differences in the candidates and then decide that each of them gets different rules on what they can comment on? You are big on the Constitution when it comes to DWI. Im wondering why Romney cant comment on Chicago? He cant have an opinion? Can't utter his views? Wow--
sebastian dangerfield September 12, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Please! Im not looking to be combative (this time) --I seriously want one of you guys who are a Democrat that says " do we want to continue the policies of G W Bush--the ones that got us into this mess--cant someone tell me those policies. And how did George Bush create the policies in Iceland, Greece, Spain, Ireland etc? I read a lot. But, aside from the usual rhetoric, I have yet to hear one person cite any specific Bush policy. They may try "dishonest war" --but of course, wars have taken place in basically every decade of the United State's existence. The 3 week war, and 8 year occupation of Iraq cost nearly 5,000 lives. Terrible. Didnt support it in 2003 and didnt support it in 2012. But i also dont support our action in Libya, and the democrats somehow have not been up in arms over that one? Why? Obama said "not a regime change. It is a regime change. Its not a regime change. We fault Bush for not aligning ourselves with Germany and France on Iraq--but they dont fault Obama for not going to Congress for approval on Libya? Since when is germany more important than Congress, either Constitutionally or pragmatically? I am simply for understanding what is real. Not what these politicians want you to think.
Siwanoy September 12, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Luca.... siwanoy? yes? Again--you baffle me The obama campaign said that presidential candidates should not meddle in local politics. (ok.. you didn't bring it up in your previous post, but bring it up now.. haha, ok) Are you really saying that Romney can only comment on local politics that occur in Massachusetts? (once again you ask a question about something that was never said..., where did I say that Romney can only comment on local politics?) Are you serious? (i never said that original statement, so i'll turn that one back on you.. are you serious?) Or can you not see the hypocrisy and double standard? (I don't "see" it, because I never made that statement...) Is it your serious contention, that Candidates for The Office of the President of the United States, should confine their remarks to the locality for which they governed or currently govern? (I never said that, nor do I agree with that statement.) Or is your only purpose here, to try to identify differences in the candidates and then decide that each of them gets different rules on what they can comment on? (I applied the rule equally to both candidates) You are big on the Constitution when it comes to DWI. Im wondering why Romney cant comment on Chicago? (where did I say he can't comment on Chicago?)He cant have an opinion? (never said that) Can't utter his views? (never said this either) Wow-- (wow indeed)
sebastian dangerfield September 12, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Sinawoy I think the author interpreted your comments in a similar manner than I did. But --Could you explain why you say "Did the Chicago teacher's strike take place in Massachusetts, no." Why did you bring on Massachusetts? Thanks. (I may have misinterpreted that comment "did the chciago teacher strike take place in massachusetts." So, if you'd like to clear up why you said it--Id appreciate it. )
sebastian dangerfield September 13, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Silence on the bush policies? Ive read it hundreds of times....but not one of you democrats can actually tell me the specifics? Sinawoy wants to tell me that the chicago strike is not in massachusetts--and wont tell me why he said that? (after I mistakenly took that to mean if its not in massachusetts he should not be involved). But who knows-- One thing that I seem to be able to conclude is --that for all the finger pointing of 'fox news watcher' as though republicans are heavily influenced and cant think for themselves, ---the truth is-- that democrats apparently repeat stuff mindlessly. So go figure.
sebastian dangerfield September 13, 2012 at 02:40 PM
sinawoy ill ask again- Why did you say "did Trayvon incident happen in the United states, yes. we are good there. "Did the Chicago teacher's strike take place in Massachusetts, no" I interpret that to mean if trayvon happens in the US-then its obama's domacile. if it didnt happen in massachusetts, then romney should not comment. I think that is a reasonable interpretation, but you claim that I interpreted wrongly..... Could you help me understand--thanks sinawoy.
Siwanoy September 13, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Luca, I didn't reply to you sooner because I do things other then read/comment on patch. I said it, it being "one is the President of the United States, the other is a Governor of Massachusetts. Did the Trayvon Martin incident take place int he United States, yes, ok we're good, there, Did the Chicago teacher's strike take place in Massachusetts, no." to illustrate the differences in the two people, which you had seemed to miss. You seem to be confusing what I actually say, and how you in interpret it. I said that quote, you took it as me saying that Romney can't say something... which isn't what I said, as evidenced by my original post. You like to read in-between the lines, there is no need for that with my posts, if you are to read my posts, do yourself a favor and just read the words I typed and not the ones you think I meant to write.
Siwanoy September 13, 2012 at 05:14 PM
"Sinawoy wants to tell me that the chicago strike is not in massachusetts--and wont tell me why he said that?" I won't tell you? or was it that I didn't reply fast enough for you? ha!
Jane September 13, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Let's see...Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Bill Clinton (community reinvestment act), and Chris Dodd all had a hand in the financial disaster and the "9/11 debacle" came shortly after Clinton left office...John M., you need to do your homework.
Jane September 13, 2012 at 08:22 PM
momofthree, how did we pay for that stimulus? oh that's right we borrowed that money from China. Are you comfortable with $16 Trillion (and growing) of debt that we have piled up?
Siwanoy September 13, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Jane, What is China going to to do with all the debt we have to them? Stop selling their products to us? Invade us?
sebastian dangerfield September 13, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I m sorry I still have no idea why you mention massachutsetts. And you have not explained what you meant. Ill ask again--(3rd time) why did you mention massachusetts. Thanks.
sebastian dangerfield September 13, 2012 at 09:40 PM
No you didnt explain. You just said "to illustrate the differences between the 2 people. That doesnt illustrate anything. (im not allowed to interpret--but why do you think saying the chicago strike is not in massachusetts? Its also not in conn. also not in guam also not in england. Just tell me WHY you mention that its not in massachusetts. (the thing here is that sinawoy hates to take responsibility---so even though he actually meant that romney should limit his observations to events in massachusetts, he hates to ever admit he is wrong.)
sebastian dangerfield September 13, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Sinawoy What exactly are you saying (no one can interpret) Ask a question? Then give us your answer? When I lend money to people, I feel indebted to them. I dont think the idea is that they may invade us. Its that there is an awful lot of smoke and mirrors out there. Obama lost 1 mio jobs despite piling up 6tril debt. Is the next 4 years piling up another 8 tril? (our GDP is lower, so as a % of gdp the debt level is unsustainable.... ) He has to come up with real policies--not just " lets be nice people --borrow a bunch of money--pass it on to younger generations and kick the can." One truth is that the government ALWAYS does the wrong thing at the wrong time. We SHOULD have imposed regulation under Clinton-when times were good-and complacency at a high level. What WE DID-is deregulate. Now that the economy is lagging--we REGULATE--when in fact this is the time when we should DEREGULATE. The government always gets it wrong---
Peter Chaou PhD September 14, 2012 at 12:28 AM
The problem with calling it "bullying dissent" is that at some point, it becomes self -focused. In other words, you are saying that anti-shuffle people have a right to say 'come up with better ideas", but the pro shuffle crowd can be labeled bullies, by saying " where is your plan?" Thats a pretty unfair way to argue. To the best of my ability to read and listen, there has been zero people who say that a referendum is not allowed, or that the process should be stopped. Just like you, deb ann, they are arguing their opinion that they see something happening that they disagree with. You opine that the shuffle should not progress, and others question the the motivation of the anti shuffle crowd. why is only the side that questions your side, termed bullies? By the way, Im not going to totally disagree with your point on the RTM, but if you can say that the rtm is loyal to their party, then can you also say that the shuffle is a reflection of party loyalty, and equally draw the organizers and participants motivations into question? (I hope that isnt a bullying question). If there were contested elections, by the way, if you are honest, and you firmly believe this body is a reflection of party loyalty --how different would the make-up of the body be? Would it then suddenly contain a higher level of competence? This is not rhetorical--Im actually wondering if you had more people running --do you think more democrats --more capable people would be there?
sebastian dangerfield September 14, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Finally you say something smart.
Yooper September 15, 2012 at 04:32 AM
It has taken you a while, but you have finally dropped your "fair and balanced" facade (I don't recall your exact phrasing). You are absolutely entitled to your opinions. At least you are no longer pretending that you are objective and unbiased.
MAC September 27, 2012 at 12:52 AM
There is an ^^existential Muslim threat^^ to our survival, so please watch "The Project," a two-day documentary on http://www.theblaze.com/theproject/ or on Dish Network channel 212, starting tonight at 8 p.m. If you don't have DN, you can go to theblaze.com/tv and start your 14 day FREE trial of TheBlaze TV Plus. Then you can watch 'on-demand.' 

In 2001, an inconspicuous manifesto now known as “The Project” was recovered during a raid in Switzerland: A manifesto that turned out to be a Muslim roadmap for infiltrating and defeating the West. Today, files containing evidence from the largest terror financing trial in U.S. history, which include details about “The Project”, are being withheld by the Department of Justice. 

In an explosive two-part mini-series, TheBlaze documentary unit investigates how the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the American government and exposes how our nation’s safety is in jeopardy as a result of this dangerous government cover up. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/white-house-visitor-may-have-ties-to-the-project-a-muslim-roadmap-for-infiltrating-the-west/ As Paul Ryan said recently: "If we project weakness, they come" and if the nation is "strong" our enemies "will not test us." Obama's assessments of democracy coming out of middle eastern riots, and calling the murder/torture of Amb. Chris Stevens "a bump in the road" are deluded, misguided, unconscionable and DANGEROUS to Americans and our sovereignty!

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