Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

DNC 2012: Barack Obama trying to get supporters to love him again

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If the teabaggers had actually listened to the words in Barack Obama’s DNC convention speech, they would have heard a man who wants to work with the other side of the aisle, no matter what mean or nasty things they have said about the president. Then again, Obama had been that same person all along, even with liberals thought he was the second coming.

There is virtually no chance that the teabaggers actually paid attention to anything Obama says, rather they only want to hear what they think he is saying behind his actual words. For a group that has much in common with evangelicals, who wear their “literal translation” of the Bible on their sleeves, they certainly don’t believe in literal translation of Barack Obama.

The teabaggers, who threw their support completely behind the Republicans (despite their independent stance), have been rewarded with 0 job bills passed by the GOP-led House. While the unemployment numbers aren’t good, you can assume they are much worse for teabaggers.

Obama was criticized because of the lack of hope and change in his speech. Maybe absorbing hope and change is easier in a football stadium than a basketball arena. If you were looking for a symbol of Obama 2008 and Obama 2012, look no further than the difference between 80,000 and 15,000.

Of course, the House members voted in by the teabaggers have no interest in helping teabaggers and other people with those desperately needed jobs. The jobs numbers that came out after the convention speech weren’t great, but once again, the MSM gave all the blame to Obama and no blame to the GOP-led House that won’t pass even a bad jobs bill.

When Obama went through his “you did that” part of his speech, you almost wanted him to say, “When we as Dems worked hard to pass jobs bill and get things done in Washington, you kicked them out and put it do-nothings who were more concerned about getting rid of women’s reproductive rights than a jobs bill, you did that. When we needed momentum in 2010 to keep the House in the Dems’ hand and you weren’t as ‘excited’ as you were in 2008 and you stayed home, you did that. And now, when the Republicans are trying to take back the White House, you aren’t sure if you are as excited as you were in 2008 and you might stay home on Election Day, you did that.”

Most of the new young voters, those that have turned 18 since November 2008, weren’t born when Bill Clinton first took office. Their memories have little to do with “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” and more about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Jay Leno telling really old Monica jokes, signing the end of the Glass-Stegall Act, and his exuberance in defending his wife in the 2008 election.

For those of us who remember the early 1990s, Clinton’s speech was a reminder of why he was a president that was cool. The first unofficial black president was “cool on the outside and burns for America on the inside.” For him to say that about Obama was a long way to healing the wounds of the 2008 campaign.

Clinton was the one who stepped up and pointed out the difference between Republican presidents (24 million jobs) and Democratic presidents (42 million jobs) since 1961.

“What works in the real world is cooperation,” said Clinton. Cooperation back in the 1990s was Clinton bending to the Republicans, including the horrible “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the welfare reform now being falsely attacked by the Mitt Romney people.

Obama, like Clinton, also has bowed down to the Republicans but without the little success Clinton enjoyed. Unlike in the 1990s, Republicans are paying big prices for even a little cooperation with Obama. Clinton pointed out that the Tea Party threw out 2 sitting GOP senators and a GOP House member for working with the Dems.

If Obama gets re-elected, expect something as bad or worse than the impeachment from the Republicans. As politically opportune as the impeachment was in the late 1990s, the GOP got what it wanted: a worn-down Democratic president who couldn’t get much done. It’s no coincidence that the GOP got the end of Glass-Stegall after the impeachment.

Michelle Obama stepped up in her own way to help out her husband. At one of the few slight digs to the other side, Mrs. Obama noted that “For Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” She showcased how her and Barack’s values were in sync based on how they were raised and how that has translated in the presidency.

“He believes that when you work hard and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. No, you reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”

You really felt like if Barack Obama was white and a Republican, the GOP would love his story.

The part about “he believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care” is not something Republicans like.

Bill Clinton, Julian Castro, Michelle Obama, Sandra Fluke, Elizabeth Warren, even Jennifer Granholm did a better job at telling Americans what the Obama Administration has done and will do than Barack Obama. Some anti-Obama people were worried we would get a bunch of speeches instead of policy. Well, we got policy in the first two years and not a whole lot of speeches in almost four years.

The Republicans needed 3 days of cheerleading to remind people to hate Barack Obama. The Dems needed 3 days of cheerleading to remind people why they should love/like/deal with Barack Obama.

Obama told us that this was “time to do some nation building right here at home.” Interestingly, Obama left out of the speech and talks in general of all the rebuilding that had been going on. Infrastructure was a way to unite red states and blue states (see 2004 keynote speech). Unlike the busy work of the 1930s, the United States has real infrastructure issues and we should have spent more on those problems. Obama can be upset that we don’t appreciate what was done, but Americans need reminding every Monday night in the fall that they might be ready for some football.

Every four years, we are reminded that women usually decide the election. The fact that Obama used “her” in the speech instead of “him/her” is a subtle reminder that Obama understands women far better than Romney. Having your wife, mother-in-law and two daughters in the front row on television helped drive that point home. The president is likely to get re-elected but while that is up to us, Obama and his team need to do better on reminding us what he has done. And if he is elected, he needs to do that much more often.

One compelling footnote to Michelle Obama’s life story. Her father suffered from MS just like Ann Romney. The GOP has mentioned very little about that chapter of Ann’s story, but it would seem that the two spouses might get along better than their husbands.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro handled the keynote speech rather nicely. Though Castro certainly took his shots at the opposition, his pleasant personality was a distinct contrast with the rude approach of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Castro played on the theme of “invest in opportunity today for prosperity tomorrow.” He noted that you “can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education.”

Most people who start businesses, a theme from the Romney camp, need to have a strong education and benefiting from investment. When Romney was asked about what to do in staring a business, the presidential candidate said to ask your parents for money to start the small business. “Why didn’t I think of that?” asked Castro. Romney/Ryan seem concerned about business, but have little concern for education.

Though people were panicking, turns out moving Sandra Fluke’s speech into the key 10 pm Eastern hour was a shrewd move for the Dems. With short attention spans, many average Americans had forgotten about what Rush Limbaugh and his fellow Republicans did to Fluke just for speaking up for women and birth control when women weren’t allowed to speak before the GOP-led Congressional committee.

Fluke reminded us that Obama “thinks of his daughters, not his delegates or donors.” The Dems really want voters to think of Sandra Fluke when they go the polls in November.

Elizabeth Warren needed the national spotlight in her uphill fight against Scott Brown for what was Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Why Warren is behind is a bit befuddling, and if the Dems can’t win in 2012, this seat may be in GOP hands for some years to come, and this is a heavily blue state.

Warren is not a professional politician and she has proven that so far. Not that she needs to be very polished as we get closer to November, but for her own sake, she needs to be a bit smoother.

Referring to “bankers who strut around Congress asking for favors” definitely helps. Talking about a world where “no one can steal your pursue on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street” also helps out the cause.

If the national Dems have to spend money to win this seat, other races will suffer as a result.

One outside name some are talking about for the Dems in 2016 and beyond is Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. The governor deserves praise for his honesty in going on “Face the Nation” and saying “no” to the overhyped “are you better off than where you were 4 years ago” question.

O’Malley said this wasn’t the question, and he was right. True, he got blasted for not sticking to the script, and he later changed his tune. His honesty was nice while it lasted. Maybe voters can’t handle the truth, but when a politicians tries it occasionally, we do enjoy the show.

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