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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 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.

Crafty Spiker September 11, 2012 at 08:58 PM
I know the GOP would rather forget "Mission Accomplished" - but we shouldn't. Let's remember how we got to where we are.
scarletxknight September 12, 2012 at 02:19 AM
.....pretty sure no one was thinking that - but ok.
Erin September 12, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Personally, I think u should quit your job!!! Your article has about as much enthusiasm as bin laden is going to have on elction day!! U probably voted for obama because u r a follower not because u r a true independent thinker. Part of the problem in this country as americans is we want what we want and we want it now....as bill clinton stated "no one could've cleaned up this mess in just 4 yrs!" The man was handed the job at the worst time ever in this country...economically and morally. Was handed a war that should've of never been, based on lies. U should stop fear mongering in your article and GET UR FACTS STRAIGHT and the person who called u a racist is dead wrong...its not ur fault u can't help being ignorant!!!! Proof that ur a follower is u probably even voted for kathleen turner!!!!
Blue September 12, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Where your opinion falls flat is at the front door of the Republican Party. To declare their number one job to make President Obama fail was very bold and is dividing the country. President Obama has been analyzed and polled everyday of his presidency. I get tired listening to the polling results of the day!!!!! I don't know how he does it and why he wants to continue to try to make a difference in the face of such racist hostility. The ruling on the case of Citizens United has proven that the Mitch McConnell's of the world will spend their last dime to defeat any margin of progress the president wants to make.
Jason DeSalvo September 16, 2012 at 12:43 AM
I always read the kinds of posts from the OP in a state of awe that people really believe that Obama has been a failure. He inherited a once in a lifetime mess and then had to battle an opposing party that made its job #1 to see that he failed. Forget what side of the political aisle you prefer...stating that you want our President to fail is the most blatantly un-American thing anyone can possibly do. Disagreeing in a substantive, fact-based manner to proposed policies is one thing, but a full frontal attack with no willingness to compromise and only wanting to see us (remember that the President is the symbolic embodiment of the American People) fail? That is not leadership, it is pathetic. 4 years ago we were at the edge of a very serious abyss. One that we did NOT fall into. Handled the wrong way and the Great Recession very well might have become The Great Depression II. Is Obama perfect? No. Are we better off today than we were four years ago? Yes. Someone please site an economic statistic that shows that we were better off fours years ago. Everyone cites the unemployment rate. Allowing that there is at least a 6 month lag in these numbers, in June of 2009 the unemployment rate was 9.5%. Today it is 8.1%. The deficit? In Bush's last Fiscal Year (2009) it was $1.413 Trillion. Obama's last full Fiscal Year (2011) it was $1.300 Trillion. Folks let's base these discussions on facts. We owe it to one another.

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