By DAVID BEILSTEIN
PEGGY NOONAN OVER at the Wall Street Journal posted this following President Barack H. Obama’s acceptance speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention.
I share much of the sentiments Ms Noonan articulates. The problem, for me, with the Democratic National Convention is how much social issues, not belonging to the purview of government were front and centre — radicalised to be sure, on stage.
Given President Obama’s advisors have informed him based upon numerous polling he cannot touch the economy the president wisely stayed away from the issue … but it will not do him much good if team Romney stays on message and makes this a referendum on Obama’s record. Beyond that, the Democratic National Convention failed to fire lethal lead at Romney and Ryan’s plans … no doubt mindful that negative conventions war against bounces that team Obama—Biden need.
It will be interesting to see how this transpires in polls the next week.
If anything — and if Obama loses in November — the Democratic National Convention will have made the same mistake President Obama has made whilst governing the last four years: that is, putting special interest, fringe issues ahead of the well being of the common people of America. This is why it was anticlimactic to put former President Bill Clinton on stage, a man who, despite his leftist compass, did seek to handle economic issues first and foremost, wisely assuming this opened up the door to tackle private convictions.
Instead of tackling the economy straight away, Obama wasted precious time and political capital in his first few years as president (his approval ratings tanked) pushing through a bloated healthcare bill. Still later, whilst jobs and productivity were (and are) the biggest issues needing attention, Obama has bobbed and weaved on all manner of issues affecting small slices of the populous. His need to be involved at the ground floor of social issues is beneath the jurisdiction of the president and has betrayed an indifference to what most Americans see — and are struggling with.
In talking to many people, I don’t see voters as severely ideological. And so the notion of government as community — theme throbbing throughout the DNC festivities — would appear to be poverty to an America that needs productivity and jobs for individuals suffering. In the end, America is made up of individuals who have a series of base needs and desires. Those needs and desires are not fringe issues — as people will work those private machinations out themselves, apart from governments broad hand.
Obama’s delivery was good tonight. But it always is — and yet, his ability to communicate solutions for average Americans has always been banal — even stale. This White House has been throwing talking points at the American people for four years, and still, his polls numbers have continued to sink the more Obama opens his mouth.
That’s a problem. The patience for fringe issues increases when Americans feel their basic needs and desires are being met by the normal processes of living … of working and loving and being. But they become excuses, — unnecessary field trips when basic necessities are threatened for basic peoples. If Government is community and Obama is the vessel to bring that about, the argument is made solid when that community is healthy and robust.
It is not and polls suggest routinely voters feel the community of America is on the wrong direction. This is where Obama is right now and the question will remain — can Romney illustrate this and define it?
There was a strange feeling, this week, and that is the party that used to have a large advantage of being for the common man and woman slipped into the mud of partisan extremism and obnoxious banter — of private issues people are free in this country to pursue, regardless of government.
Early reports suggest Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney impressed because he was great where he once was often bad. Obama, on the other hand, was underwhelmed because he did not rise to a new level. It is no longer 2008 — and if there is an advantage to the challenger in a presidential election — it is that expectations are low for challenger, but high — higher! — for the man who has won the presidency and based his platform on promises.
Obama was somber. Probably because of dampening ratings on his favourability and his penchant for going negative in which his numbers faded. This may help him, short term. Long term, it will be a difficult fight for Obama, as he faces a course and plummeting economy. His talents are not those of fixes and solutions — but of rousing normal people to hope and change.
But that time has passed. The question is will team Romney articulate that and illustrate it in congenial, stark terms. Americans now want to see — in their own lives and moods — security and prosperity. Sweet effulgences will do little now, for the president.