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President Obama Fails To Inspire At The DNC

Nick Brown |
September 7, 2012 | 5:41 p.m. PDT


In 2008, Obama inspired Americans with his message of hope and change. (LouisL, Creative Commons)
In 2008, Obama inspired Americans with his message of hope and change. (LouisL, Creative Commons)
Barack Obama failed to stir inspiration among his supporters during his speech Thursday at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte.

After Joe Biden's solemn speech urging support for returning troops, a DNC video and an introduction by FLOTUS Michelle Obama, the 44th commander-in-chief took the stage.

Obama entered to rousing applause, shook one hand of a press member and walked onstage. POTUS’ entrance markedly differed from that of Mitt Romney’s two weeks ago. The former Massachusetts governor took two minutes to reach the stage, slowing to shake hands and feign admiration of convention attendees. Though his entrance took longer, it was more effective because it showed the Republican candidate's connection to the audience.

The president, meanwhile, entered quickly and was warmly received by his supporters when he declared, “I accept your nomination for President of the United States of America.” But much of the crowd’s reaction felt obligatory.

Overall, Obama’s address lacked the revolutionary spirit with which he delivered his speech in 2008 during the Denver convention. This time, he seemed to focus on reflection of his last four years as president, rather than echo the optimism and planning for the future so prevalent in his 2008 campaign. In his 2008 speech, he laid out a vision for a hopeful America; this year, that hope was absent.

Of course, speechwriters took jabs at the Romney campaign, including the Mormon candidate’s claim that Russia is “without question our number one geopolitical foe.” The incumbent’s team reframed Romney’s statement as equating Russia to our “number one enemy.”

On the other hand, the benefits of Obama's healthcare plan were illustrated by the examples of a girl in Arizona and a boy in Colorado (winning this swing state is vital for both campaigns) who would now receive the treatment they deserve.

But the headline that stuck out to Dan Schnur, Director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California (USC), was "Obama preaching patience."

Perhaps the closest rhetoric Mr. Obama used to garner support amongst his weakest constituencies consisted of references to an increase in job growth, to the fact that Americans are going back to work and to the execution of Osama bin Laden.

Whether these claims will register at the ballot box remains to be seen. However, the Democrats must start preaching with a rhetoric that plans for the next four years, rather than one that remain stuck in the past, reflecting on prior successes.

If Mr. Obama wants to win this election, he has to begin working harder, showing his commitment to improving the lives of the people around him and planning for his next term. Perhaps his unwillingness to lay out solutions for the next four years stems from his own uncertainty about whether he’ll be in office, or, like roughly nine percent of Americans, unemployed.


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