President Obama did a lot of good things in his convention speech, but here are the five brilliant points in his acceptance speech.
1). The Republican Obsession With Tax Cuts
What Obama Said, “Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years: “Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.” “Deficit too high? Try another.” “Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!””
Why it was Brilliant: The President could have made some dry argument about tax cuts, but instead he made a joke that was completely true. No matter what the problem is, the first Republican and sometimes only Republican solution proposed is tax cuts. Obama’s tax cut humor was not only true. It is going to be replayed and repeated for the next 24 hours on every newscast.
2). Mitt Romney the Blustering Bumbler a.k.a George W. Bush
What Obama Said, “So now we face a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly. After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – and not al Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. I have, and I will. And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.”
Why it was Brilliant: President Obama used his Commander in Chief status to remind viewers of George W. Bush, the Republican pro-business president who blustered and bumbled the nation into two wars. The characterization of Romney as stuck in a time warp also plays into the idea that on the world stage he will be another George W. Bush, and the last thing roughly two thirds of the American people want to see is a return to the days of W.
3). Expanding the Playing Field on Medicare to Include Protecting Social Security
What Obama Said, “And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care – not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it – not by turning it over to Wall Street.”
Why it was Brilliant: President Obama offered up a standard promise to defend Medicare, but at the end he did something different. He opened the door to attacking Romney for wanting to privatize Social Security. Make no mistake about it, privatization is the mainstream Republican position on Social Security. Obama opened the door tonight to letting seniors and future seniors know that Mitt Romney is no friend of Social Security.
4). Obama Takes Back the Flag
What Obama Said, “Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us – because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home.”
Why it was Brilliant: Patriotism was strong theme of this Democratic convention. Veterans spoke at the convention, their service was honored, and the promise of a better life when they come home was emphasized. After watching George W. Bush’s Republican Party shamelessly flag away for eight years, it was refreshing to see Democrats embrace a different kind of patriotism. Unlike Bush’s GOP, Obama’s Democrats believe that our debt to veterans doesn’t end when they take off the uniform. Republicans have collective blind spot when it comes to treating our vets right after they come home. The Republican Party spent their convention telling America how lousy everything is. Democrats embraced all that is good about America, including her veterans.
5). Obama’s Hope and Faith in America
What Obama Said, “I don’t know what party these men and women belong to. I don’t know if they’ll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us. They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a “future filled with hope.” And if you share that faith with me – if you share that hope with me – I ask you tonight for your vote. If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election. If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election. If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.”
Why it was Brilliant: This passage gave America the starkest contrast between how the two candidates view America. Mitt Romney treats our country like a girl who is out of his league, so he has to belittle her and destroy her self-esteem in order to bring her down to his level. President Obama’s message was that he loves our nation, and even in the hard times, he still sees her beauty and bright future. Voters love a positive candidate. Nobody votes for a Gloomy Gus who delights in telling them how screwed they are. History tells us that the dynamic of this race is backwards. Romney should be the challenger with the bright vision of the future, and Obama should be the defensive incumbent. Instead, the exact opposite is happening. Romney has been playing the role of the unlikable incumbent on the constant defensive, while Obama is offering the hopeful vision of the future. All the credit for this role reversal goes to Obama For America, as they have masterfully defined Romney and controlled the discussion since the campaign began.