The editorial staff at The Week thought Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama gave great speeches at the Democratic National Convention, but President Obama himself did not give a speech that lived up to expectations. The article noted that Ezra Klein of the Washington Post tweeted that "This speech felt very safe to me" and "It’s a speech you give when you think you’re winning." Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast called the speech "dull and pedestrian." Garance Franke-Ruta at The Atlantic bemoaned that the "easy swagger and rambunctiously playful enthusiasm" of Obama in 2008 isn’t there because he "will never be that man again." The pundits seem to agree that Obama was playing it safe in his acceptance speech, in spite of a known tidal wave of paid media attack coming from the Romney campaign.
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Obama’s Acceptance Speech
Comments by the Blog Author
President Obama’s acceptance speech in Charlotte just escaped being a dud. Originally scheduled outdoors at a stadium that seats 80,000, it wound up indoors with a smaller audience, jilting some of the stadium ticket holders. The speech itself was designed to placate the attitudes and motivate the enthusiasm of voters as discovered in millions of dollars of focus group studies.
The speech warmed up with a paean to critical parts of the base – union workers and teachers. Then a nod was given to those faithful toward the global warming theory. Obama said nearly nothing about the record deficits, apparently embracing a view that they would magically shrivel once everything else was going well. He waffled on where cuts would come from except from ending the Afghanistan adventure in 2014. He added a flip-flop on coal, which he stated in 2008 was an industry he wanted to see go bankrupt. Four years later, he finds himself a supporter of clean coal.
Obama knitted his thoughts together under a philosophical umbrella of continental European communitarianism. We’re all in this together. Individualism is old-fashioned and doesn’t matter. Obama offered an open society welcoming all who agree that society comes first.
Which of his lines will make good sound bytes for the commercials in the fall campaign? Because his address did not speak effectively to the long term unemployed or blue-collar underemployed, it was nearly a dud.