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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.

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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