CHARLOTTE, September 6, 2012 — The final night of the Democratic Convention came and went, and the next major campaign event is the first presidential debate in October.
While the Republicans did everything in Tampa to portray a moderate image, the Charlotte convention took a hard and angry left turn. From Sandra Fluke to Elizabeth Warren, the message was that life is “unfair” and that Democrats would change this.
Before President Obama could deliver his remarks, President Clinton had to finish speaking. After what seemed like days, he finally left the stage.
Despite tight security to protect President Obama, a severe breach occurred. Vice President Joe Biden got past the invisible moat with alligators and made it to the podium. Democrats at that moment discovered prayer and promised to keep God in the platform if only Biden would not be himself for one night.
Eva Longoria spoke. Many women hate it when men judge women based on their looks, but Longoria was not at the podium for her intellect or political acumen. She is a hot Latina, and the entire honest world admits this.
A heartwarming moment came when former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords led the Pledge of Allegiance. People got quiet, fought back tears, and cheered when she was done. Her survival from a gunshot was miraculous, and her role at the convention was tasteful, dignified, and non-exploitive.
In an act of charity, Senator John Kerry was allowed to speak. He lambasted Governor Romney as an out-of-touch New England elitist who waffles on issues. For once, Kerry spoke on a subject on which he’s an expert.
Then came Biden. Much of the cheering came from Republicans worldwide eager to hear his unfiltered remarks.
At first it appeared there was a seven second tape delay in case Biden dropped an f-bomb, but it turned out some televisions were on cable and others were on satellite.
His opening remarks about his wife were simply beautiful, and a man at his best.
He praised Michelle Obama for her speech “last night” before correcting himself and saying she spoke Monday night. It was actually Tuesday night.
He described the consequences of the problems they faced as “awesome.”
Mr. Biden spoke passionately about the dignity that having a job provides. President Obama always asks, “How will this affect the average American?”
Nobody is questioning Obama’s and Biden’s intentions. The results are what the 2012 debate is about. Where Biden speaks subjectively is when he says that America has “turned a corner.”
Mr. Biden graciously referred to Governor Mitt Romney as a good husband and father, as the Republicans did with President Obama. He made the mistake of praising Jennifer Granholm. She was a failed Michigan Governor, and the last person who should ever speak about creating jobs. If the left will lambaste President Bush for events on his watch, then that standard must be the same for the disastrous reign of error that was the Granholm administration.
When Biden spoke about autoworkers, his theme was the same: He and President Obama care about them. Yet people are hurting, and no plan to fix their pain was forthcoming. The auto industry has not rebounded, and saying it would have been worse does not help those still suffering.
“My dad respected Barack Obama … He would have respected Barack Obama had he been around.”
That was his second gaffe, a minor one.
While the bar was low, Biden had some strong moments in his speech. He contrasted the Obama approach with the Romney approach while still recognizing Romney as a decent human being. This was a marked change from the rest of the convention. Yet he kept saying that the automobile industry had been “saved.” No, it has not been.
“The Bain way may bring the highest profits, but its not the way to lead the highest office.”
Mr. Biden offered a narrative of the killing of Osama bin Laden that has been widely disputed. Yet the way Biden told the story could not be classified as a “whopper.” The dispute comes in the form of claims of resoluteness when others are accusing Obama of tentativeness.
Where Biden veered into whopper territory was his taking the Romney quotes about bin Laden out of context.
Biden thundered about Obama “This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart, and a spine of steel.”
Yet his line about “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive” is only 50% true. His claim about Obama’s courage is subjective. The voters will decide.
Biden waded into the class warfare falsehoods that have defined this entire convention, but he did so in a manner that was less offensive than the hard-charging Elizabeth Warren.
He addressed the culture of dependency argument Republicans advanced in Tampa. The crowd, as with much of his speech, received his rebuttal, warmly.
He praised the American people for not giving up, but getting up. They deserved a President who will not give up on them. Again, Mr. Biden substituted intentions for results.
“America is not in decline.”
America has been downgraded by Standard and Poor’s for the first time ever. That is a decline.
While Biden has long been the weak link of the Obama administration, the Barney Fife of DC, he picked a very big night to have a good night. Perhaps it was because some of the speakers before him were dreadful. Either way, his speech was one of the most solid speeches of the convention. If the Democratic ticket loses in November, it will not be because of this speech.
Bill Clinton is supposed to be the great speaker and Joe Biden the long-winded gasbag. Yet while Clinton droned on and spoke about himself, Biden kept his remarks to a reasonable length and showed fierce loyalty to the boss.
Mr. Biden has often been questioned about what is in his head and what flows from his mouth. Yet his critics, for the most part, have seen his heart as being in the right place. He showed his best and suppressed his worst, and provided a legitimately good lead-in for President Obama.
Unfortunately for Democrats, the speaker in between them was Senator Dick “Turban” Durbin. He managed to get through his remarks without insulting American troops or Israel, but most networks talked over him. Even Black Entertainment Television kept the chatter to a maximum until he was done.
Then came President Obama. Democrats and Republicans in the Time Warner Arena got quiet.
He entered clapping at everyone clapping for him. Yet the key for him to remember was to speak to the people watching on television, not the adoring throngs in Charlotte.
His joke about his daughters, “Yes you do have to go to school in the morning,” was funny. He called Biden “The very best Vice President I could have ever hoped for.” That was also very funny, but not in a good way. He praised Biden’s loyalty, which was accurate and fair.
He complained about the big-money attacks on him and alluded to his own ads: “If you’re sick of me approving this message, so am I.”
He mentioned “fairness” several times in one sentence.
He claimed that the Republicans in Tampa did not explain how they would make things right in America. This is actually false. The entire convention was about the GOP plan for governing. Now we waited for Obama to offer his own prescription of what he would actually do.
Instead he went hard negative and accused Republicans of kicking teachers and hurting students. He said, “We are moving forward, America,” but that still has not been defined.
He praised FDR but opined, “not every problem can be fixed by another program from Washington.”
He says this, but his deeds contradict this; Obama truly believes in government.
He favors exports and is against outsourcing. He said in Detroit, they “cannot build them fast enough.” This is simply untrue.
He spoke of the trade agreements he signed, but those agreements were in place before he ever took office. He waited three years to sign them. He held them up.
He kept using the word “new,” but the speech was the same speech he has been giving on the campaign trail. This does not make him a bad guy, but his speech was not original.
He insisted in a decade that cars would go “twice as far on a gallon of gas.” This cannot be verified. He bragged about reducing our oil intake by one million barrels per day. This is actually a bad thing. We have double the gas prices since he took office. He claimed we opened up new oil markets, but this is again untrue. The North Dakota oil boom is on private lands, where he has no say to block drilling.
He kept talking about renewable alternative energies, but right now Americans just want lower gas prices.
“Climate change is not a hoax,” he declared.
This is debatable.
He claimed that some of the worst schools are doing better, but even if that were true it would not be because of anything he did. He fought against the charter school movement.
The crowd applauded him, but that is because they worship him for merely being. He could have advocated driving us all over a cliff and the crowd would have cheered.
He said that his was “leadership that was tested and proven.”
He spoke about Iraq and Afghanistan, and said that a new tower in New York is above the horizon. While that last part is true, it has nothing to do with him in any way.
He claimed that he would “sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.” His budget guts defense.
He said that we reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China…” This is absolutely not true. China and Russia laugh at us.
He gave the obligatory sop to caring about Israel, despite over half his delegates wanting to remove Jerusalem from the platform.
He attacked Romney for insulting England on an overseas trip. Mr. Obama insulted England when he first took office. He has also insulted leaders of Israel and Poland.
He would take the savings from defense and pay down the debt. The problem is that the numbers do not add up. The major cost drivers are entitlements.
He spoke about “independent experts,” which means people who agree with him. He insisted he would cut the deficit, but in four years he has drastically increased it.
He spoke about an agreement based on the bipartisan debt commission, but he shelved their report.
He then waded back into class warfare attacking tax cuts for millionaires. Republicans refer to those people as “job creators.”
“I will never turn Medicare into a voucher [program].”
It will go broke if we do not. He keeps insisting he will reduce the costs of health care, but has no plan.
This was a hyper-partisan, ideological speech. It would have been appropriate for a challenger criticizing an incumbent. It was beneath a sitting president. So was implying that Republicans want dirty air, dirty water, and dead seniors.
“We also believe in something called citizenship.”
This is a meaningless platitude. Republicans are not against citizenship.
Obama’s speech was the exact opposite of his 2004 speech in terms of excitement and in 2004 and 2008 in terms of tone. The 2012 Obama speech was boring. There were no calls for unity.
“We don’t think that government is the source of all of our problems.”
Actually, many people feel it is.
Then he accused Republicans of blaming immigrants and gays as the source of our problems. This was an underhanded way of accusing Republicans of being bigots.
“The election four years ago was not about me. It was about you.”
There we go. He finally offered his favorite line that really means everything is about him.
This speech was sharply ideological. It was divisive. It also did not say a single thing he would actually do if reelected.
He railed about people “trying to make it harder for you to vote.” That is an example of his use of straw men arguments.
“Only you have the power to move us forward.”
Then to paraphrase New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, what the heck are we paying President Obama for?
Forget partisans on both sides. Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech that was much better than expected. President Obama gave a bad speech. It was bland and uninspiring. It will rally the base, not sway the critics, and have zero effect on the undecided people who are hurting.
“I am hopeful because of you.”
That is nice, but does not mean anything.
President Obama still has the October debates to make his case for reelection. His convention speech did not do this. Mr. Obama suffers from people around him telling him how he perfect he is. That actually harms him in the long run, and it harms the country.
As Marco Rubio said in Tampa, “President Obama is not a bad person. He is a bad president.”
We know this because of his plan for governing in a second term.
He still does not have one, and if he secretly does, he will not share it with us.
Joe Biden over-delivered. Mr. Obama under-delivered. Those were the two biggest surprises of the Democratic Convention.
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