Obama provides strong finish to successful convention

OK, the quick, overall assessment: However this election turns out, in the short term the Democrats will likely get the bigger convention bounce. They earned it these last two nights.

Yes, there was just as much irritating nonsense at this convention as at the one last week — I turned down the sound and picked up a book to spare myself the aggravation just as many times. But the headliners were stronger. They showed greater conviction, presented more compelling ideas (and, alas, emotions), and I believe did a better job of engaging not only the true believers in the room, but the more important audience at home.

Doubt me? Honestly, now, whatever your political persuasion — do you really think Mitt Romney truly believes all the things he said as much as Barack Obama does, whether you agree with the president or not? And sincerity sells; it connects.

Of course, it didn’t hurt the president a bit that veteran Bill Clinton left him a five-run lead going into the last inning. He just had to hold on to it, and he actually did better than that.

But I’m just repeating what I already said on Twitter. So here are my Tweets as they came to me, starting at 9:02 p.m.:

  • David Brooks just made the good point that if you talk to both sides’ advisors, there’s not that much polarization over national security…
  • Biden says Romney & Obama bring vastly different values to the contest. I wish they didn’t. This nation so badly needs sensible consensus.
  • Tim Kelly ‏@tdkelly Drinking a Red Hoptober by @newbelgium — http://untp.it/NfjegL
  • One ping. One ping only, Vasily…
  • The Daily Beast ‏@thedailybeast Biden: Conviction, Resolve, Barack Obama. That’s what saved the automobile industry.
  • “The finest soldiers in the history of the world.” Hooah, Joe, Hooah.
  • This may be the first time in my life that talk of whacking a guy was applause line at a national convention. Not criticizing, just noting.
  • Benjy Sarlin ‏@BenjySarlin Clinton was about policy. Biden speech entirely about character, through policy lens. Different but very effective approaches.
  • Yeah, but only under a yellow sun… “@scott_english: Biden on Obama: “A spine of steel.” And adamantium claws? #wolverine
  • Coo-coo-ca-choo… “@TheFix: Biden’s call outs of people in the audience — “Mrs. Robinson” — is hilarious. #dnc2012
  • Even tho admiral advised against. “@alexcast: Per joe biden, Barack Obama is a man of courage. must be. He gave Biden a live mic.#cnn2012
  • God love him… “@JKuenzie: Biden says “look” at least as often as “literally.” #DNC2012
  • Sometimes I get tired of hearing about all the people who lost their jobs in the Great Recession. And I’m one of them…
  • I was gonna say “what are VMAs?” but I looked it up. Oh. “@BlondeScientist: Why in the hell are the VMAs on tonight?!?!”
  • Forrest L. Alton ‏@YoungGunCEO come on Brad, you know you’re a VMA kinda’ guy.
  • I’m not an ANY kind of pop culture awards guy. And I quit watching MTV when they quit showing videos 24/7.
  • I love movies, but hate the Oscars…
  • Commenter on PBS said it looks like Biden WILL stay on the ticket now. Funny thing was, she didn’t sound entirely, 100% certain…
  • I kid about Joe Biden, but I’ve always really liked the guy. And tonight, his performance was full of Joeness…
  • Was that George Clooney just then? The voice?
  • Dan Cook ‏@DanCookSC yes
  • So was that what we got tonight instead of Eastwood?
  • Let the man talk! [during prolonged applause when Obama came out]
  • That critique was dead-on. A philosophy that responds to every situation with a tax cut is surreal, and moronic.. .
  • “Our problems can be solved.” The candidate who more confidently asserts that is the one who wins. Or should win, anyway…
  • Cars going twice as far on a gallon of gas is at least less grandiose than lowering the oceans. Magical, but more achievable-sounding.
  • This is not, and probably won’t be, as exciting as Clinton’s speech. But then, I don’t think it really has to be. POTUS should be cooler…
  • “… and Osama bin Laden is dead.” Matter-of-fact, not cheerleading. As befits the office. More Michael than Santino
  • “My opponent and his running mate are.. . new… to foreign policy.” Excellent timing.
  • As one who sees POTUS in terms of international relations, I didn’t like that “nation-building at home” bit of pandering.
  • Nothing against nation-building at home, but don’t suggest we’ll do it by turning our backs on the world…
  • “This is what this election comes down to”… Have a feeling we’ll hear that as voiceover on an ad…
  • “Citizenship.” That’s the most welcome word I’ve heard these two weeks.
  • Roll Call ‏@rollcall Obama: We don’t think government can solve all our problems. But we don’t think that government is the source of all our problems.
  • “Responsibilities as well as rights.” Wow. Pure communitarianism in a presidential acceptance speech! Who wrote this, Amitai Etzioni?
  • This isn’t Bill Clinton, but it’s solid, even masterful. More to the point, it’s more powerful, easily, than Romney’s speech.
  • There was much irritating nonsense in this convention, just as in GOP’s. But the Democrats’ headliners have been stronger, more engaging…
  • I don’t know how this ends up, but the Democrats seem sure to get the bigger convention bounce. The headliners were more inspiring, engaging
  • … of course, it helped that Bill Clinton left the closer a five-run lead going into the last inning…
  • One big difference between Obama and Romney, for good or ill, is that you know Obama really believes the things he’s telling us…
  • Yeah. Sorta glad I didn’t end up going up there tonight… “@JKuenzie: And now, the traffic. #DNC2012

38 thoughts on “Obama provides strong finish to successful convention

  1. Steven Davis II

    “Strong finish”??? The guy is begging people for another four years to complete what he failed to do in his first four years.

    Funny how the liberal main stream media is falling all over themselves when their Messiah speaks, but says nothing.

  2. bud

    I thought Biden had the best speech of the night, nearly as good as Clinton’s. Obama’s was fine, at least what I saw of it. (By the time he came on I was drifting off to sleep). For all those who dismiss the conventions as mere pep rallies I would suggest they offer a great deal of insight into the character and thought process of the candidates. The Republicans came across as desparate to convince people that their candidate really is a normal person. They were partially successful in that regard but it cost them a great deal of air time that would normally be devoted to policy issues, political accomplishments and the vision thing.

    Obama was already regarded as a good and decent human being so he had a head start. His minions were able to bolster his resolve and toughness bonafides while at the same time asserting policy/vision ideas into the discussion.

    Mainly though the Democrats mostly managed to avoid any bizarre moments. Perhaps the decision to move the big speech night indoors was a negative but I don’t think that has any real legs as a talking point for the GOP.

    On the other hand the GOP convention was chock full of oddities. From Christie’s autobiography speech to Ryan’s mendacity screed and the topper of all Clint Eastwoods inexplicable conversation with a chair the GOP just came across as weird. So the convention grades would be:

    Dems – A
    GOP – D.

  3. bud

    Now it’s time to move past the convention. The jobs report was once again mediocre at best for the president. Only 96k jobs added. And once again the government sector actually shed jobs, this time 7k. So while the private sector gains jobs the losses in state and local payrolls partially cancels that out. What a hell of a way to fight a recession.

  4. Phillip

    Bad news indeed on the jobs front. How ironic that this time around it is the Democratic candidate who’s widely acknowledged to have a more credible record/stance on foreign policy, but as elections are usually decided on the economy especially in difficult times, that may not matter.

    Long way to go, and debates still to come. And, if by two weeks or so before the election it looks like Romney will lose, I’m still betting Israel attacks Iran at that point, and that could shake things up considerably in unpredictable ways.

  5. Brad

    While both conventions were about 90 percent nonsense, often offensive nonsense, one has to be blinded by ideology not to see that in the key moments — those after-10 p.m. speeches — the Democrats outscored the Republicans.

    That’s what an informed person with no ax to grind for either party (or someone who out-and-out despises both, such as yours truly) would almost inevitably conclude.

    But of course, Steven actually thinks I’m a “liberal,” despite all evidence to the contrary, so nothing I say means anything to him. Which makes me wonder, not for the first time, why he reads this blog…

  6. Brad

    Phillip, do you actually, truly believe that:

    a) The Israelis, for whom this is an existential issue, would actually time their attack to influence the U.S. election?

    b) That the Israelis would want Mitt Romney, who has shown no aptitude at all for foreign relations, at the helm?

  7. Doug Ross

    I listened to the speech on the radio while driving last night which is probably the best way to review a speech.

    What I heard was that if we raise the taxes on the rich, it will cover the cost of paying down the debt AND cover all the programs Obama wants to implement. Impossible.

    What I also heard was Obama’s definition of “citizenship” which apparently is based on how much you pay in taxes. For the 5% of Americans who pay 50% of the income taxes, Obama basically questioned their citizenship because they are not interested in paying more into a government that is unable to manage its spending.

    Obama’s words need to be parsed carefully. At one point, he committed to cutting the GROWTH RATE of tuition increases in half over ten years. Considering that tuition increases have exceeded inflation for many years, cutting the GROWTH RATE in half isn’t going to make any difference in making college affordable.

  8. bud

    Brad, the Israelis believe Romney will be much more attentive to their diabolical scheme to control all the Palestinian lands and create a second class citizenry out of the Palestinian Arab people. They will do what they think is best to achieve that goal. That includes a pre-emptive strike against the Iranians. Not sure they calculate that type of action would achieve the results they desire (a Romney presidency) but if they did they certainly would not be above launching such a strike.

  9. bud

    Considering that tuition increases have exceeded inflation for many years, cutting the GROWTH RATE in half isn’t going to make any difference in making college affordable.

    Doug, think about what you just wrote as a math problem. If tuition is $5000/semester and the GROWTH RATE is 5%/year (about double inflation) then next year tuition will be $5250. If the GROWTH RATE is cut in half to 2-1/2%, tuition will instead be $5125. That is $125 LESS than it would have been without the action. In my book that most certainly does make college more affordable.

  10. bud

    Its funny really that most people find it more of a concern that Israel with dozens or perhaps hundreds of nuclear weapons has more to fear from Iran with zero nuclear weapons. Sheesh indeed.

  11. Ella Minnow Pea


    I know exactly what I wrote. A 2.5% growth rate cut is still higher than inflation. And if it takes 10 years to get to 2.5%, your current 5000 cost will be around 6500 in ten years. It won’t be cheaper. So it’s not exactly any great accomplishment — and since the goal happens 6 years after he would be out of office, it’s one of those political lies that nobody remembers.

  12. Phillip

    Brad, I haven’t seen any independent journalistic confirmation of this so it may be just rumor, but several of my Israeli friends have told me that leave for reservists in the military there have been canceled for October, whatever that means.

    And yes, I absolutely believe that Netanyahu has decided to move forward with some kind of attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, but would prefer to have the US follow up with stronger action or at least a more jointly coordinated effort. If he feels Romney may win, I think they’ll postpone until early 2013 to get that cooperation, since Romney has pretty much given every indication that there will not be a millimeter of distance between the US and Israel on any matter in his Presidency, and that US will automatically and unconditionally support Israel in pretty much any course of action in a Romney Presidency. For Netanyahu, that trumps any lack of “aptitude” on Romney, in fact is an asset, as Romney will be more dependent on his foreign policy team, and we know where they stand.

    But if Netanyahu feels Romney is likely to lose by mid-October, then I think he will decide Israel has nothing to lose by attacking immediately, since it cannot then count on US joining in later, and possibly the action itself, aside from dealing some kind of blow (if only temporary) to the Iranian nuclear program, may just shake things up in the US election enough to change the outcome, as there will unbelievable pressure on Obama to possibly add US support at that point. The way that might play out in the US is still pretty unpredictable, but again, Netanyahu will feel he has nothing to lose. In other words, an impending Romney victory will delay the attack, but only by 3 or 4 months at most. Of course this is just my guess, but we’ll see.

    And if you don’t think US electoral politics is that much on the minds of the Israeli government, perhaps you missed the little frou-frou over the Jerusalem-as-capital plank in the Democratic platform.

    As Andrew Sullivan put it on his blog, “when AIPAC says jump, we say ‘how high?'”

  13. Doug Ross

    Oops.. Brad.. that was supposed to be under my name.


    I know exactly what I wrote. A 2.5% growth rate cut is still higher than inflation. And if it takes 10 years to get to 2.5%, your current 5000 cost will be around 6500 in ten years. It won’t be cheaper. So it’s not exactly any great accomplishment — and since the goal happens 6 years after he would be out of office, it’s one of those political lies that people forget about later.

  14. Brad

    Doug has a secret identity!

    Wow, he had me totally fooled. He put on those glasses, and neither Lois nor Jimmy nor I could see the resemblance…

  15. bud

    And if it takes 10 years to get to 2.5%, your current 5000 cost will be around 6500 in ten years.

    $6,400.23 to be exact. Which is far less than it would be at the old rate ($8,144.47), a savings of $1,744.24. You can argue that the program doesn’t go far enough, I would, but to suggest it doesn’t make college more affordable is nonsense. Even if it was only $1 cheaper that would still qualify as “more affordable”. Hence the statement is true.

  16. bud

    Brad, I’m completely indifferent between the death of an Israeli and the death of an Iranian. Both are tragedies. Both are contemptible acts by the perpetrator. Both are largely none of the business of the United States government other than to express condemnation for the act. So I could just as easily say:

    “You’d probably be more afraid if you lived in Iran”.

  17. Brad

    It remains important to Obama, of course, to sound like an anti-war president to much of his base. So it is that you had all that talk this week at the convention about how Obama got us out of Iraq, when the truth is that we’d have been out of there even if Bush had still been president.

  18. bud

    Brad, don’t you think a President McCain would still have troops in Iraq? I certainly do. And to me that’s a huge difference in policy and hardly suggests continuity.

  19. bud

    And let’s not forget Libya. McCain and the other warmongers were ready to go in with guns blazing. Seems like a pretty big difference in policy to me.

  20. Brad

    What really bugs me about that talk is the way they said it — that he “ended the war” in Iraq. The antiwar folks in the party have always used that language, even though what they meant was “end U.S. involvement.”

    To a person who looks at things realistically, either the “war” was over there well before we withdrew, as a result of the Surge (which I would hold), or (if you subscribe to the Bud view that as long as there are terrorist incidents, it’s still a “war”) the war continues on, whether we are there are not.

    It’s just amazingly chauvinistic, or something, to think that whether we are there or not determines whether there is a war…

  21. bud

    I can’t really argue with that, there is still a war of some sort between the various factions trying to gain control. And that’s a shame (actually a horrible tragedy) since there wasn’t a war of any type before we invaded. But for the American military personnel the Iraq war is over.

  22. Brad

    Wow… there are lots of people who practice relativism to an alarming degree with regard to international affairs, but Bud takes it to startling lengths.

    Bud, the reason why you would be more alarmed as an Israeli than as an Iranian is because of the extremely different goals of the two nations in the conflict:

    — The leadership of Israel wants to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

    — The leadership of Iran wants Israel to cease to exist.

    These are not fine points of policy here. They are as different as night and day. And I think it a great tragedy that anyone would have trouble telling the difference.

  23. bud

    – The leadership of Iran wants Israel to cease to exist.

    Seriously, that’s your fallback position on this? Iran can’t make Israel “cease to exist” anymore than I can flap my wings and fly. But Israel can and probably will at some point drop bombs on Iran thus killing Iranian civilians. And the defenders of Israel have no problem with that.

    Besides, even IF Iran were to somehow invade Israel and make them “cease to exist” without Israel launching nuclear weapons in retaliation (this is a fantasy but let’s continue) what business is that of the US? Sure we should use whatever diplomatic efforts that we can, but this is simply not something our military should be concerned with.

  24. bud

    Here’s a better answer. If you were nation A and nation B was always threatening to bomb your country and kill your people wouldn’t you want nation B to “cease to exist”?

  25. Brad

    So… apparently this is how Bud sees the history of this situation.

    There was this country, Iran, whose leaders loved everyone and simply wanted to coexist peacefully with all the nations of the Earth, including the Great Satan, the United States.

    Then out of nowhere came this diabolical “entity” (to use one of the favorite anti-Israeli expressions for Israel, used by those who refuse to recognize it as a country with a right to exist) that for no reason whatsoever wanted to bomb Iran. Probably just because they wanted to kill civilians, seeing as how they are so wicked.

    So poor Iran was forced, entirely against its will, to start developing nuclear weapons, in order to defend its inoffensive self. For whatever reason, the only way the leadership of that precious, peace-loving country could imagine to defend itself would be to glassify the threatening entity.

    Have I got that right?

  26. Juan Caruso

    Well, last night Obama referred again to his “vision”, actually contrasting it with his wantonly distorted version of the the GOP’s. The problem is that he offers no more detail than he used in his 2008 State of the Union.

    Obama’s unannounced quest for U.S. socialism is no more an answer to anyone’s plight than Castro’s Cuba has been.

    Despite his lack of accomplishment (aside from Bin Laden and GM) the mediocre/medicare con artist hopes for the same transformative change with waning support. I heard no more than a plaintivr swan song.

  27. Brad

    Here’s the thing… I just don’t see all that much space between the Dems and the Repubs on significant questions of international relations. The parties like to grab onto little symbolic differences and inflate them into something significant. Thus you have Republicans trying to capitalize on that platform wording — as though platforms meant anything. And you have many ardent Obama supporters in 2008 latching onto his not having supported the Iraq invasion — ignoring the fact that he had not been a member of the U.S. Senate at the time, which meant his opinion was consequence-free, and very convenient politically later (I could be wrong, but I doubt he would have voted against Clinton and Kerry and Biden on the resolution, had he been in that position at the time — context matters).

    Personally, I have been much more impressed by the real-world continuity between the Bush and Obama approaches to national security.

    I tend to notice more the similarities. I tend to notice the fact that Obama is something of a fan of prominent neocon (and Romney adviser) Robert Kagan, who in turn has had good things to say about the president. I recall an interesting interview I heard with him several months back on NPR, which reinforced my impression of the broad agreement on fundamentals.

  28. Lynn T

    It may be useful to recall that we have had trouble finishing wars with both Afghanistan (which suffers from a history of no effective state-level organization) and Iraq (which is a cobbled-together creature of the late colonial era in world diplomacy).

    Iran is another thing altogether, having had one of the first true states in the world when Europe’s robber barons were still ignoring their national governments, such as they were. Iran’s people would not appreciate being invaded, and most are not primarily identified with tribal groups. Most Iranians are very accustomed to working together when necessary, and they are not nearly as third world in education and technology as a country like Afghanistan.

    I believe that it is useful to ask whether we have any chance of anything that can be defined as success before embarking on another war. In the case of Iran, the answer is surely no, not unless we institute the draft again and send hundreds of thousands of soldiers (are any of Romney’s five sons still draft age?) or simply nuke the entire nation. Neither is an attractive option.

  29. Steven Davis II

    So where’s this big Obama bounce in the polls that was supposed to happen after the convention? Democrats are starting to realize their experiment didn’t work.

  30. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    Doug is most definitely not SD II. Doug is never snarky. He’s always sincere, and for that, among other things, I respect him.

  31. bud

    What the president should do (but won’t whether it’s Obama or Romney) is demand that Israel refrain from any and all military action against Iran. Likewise we should refrain from any further cyber attacks. Then we should approach Iran and point out Israel has every right to exist as a nation and to deny that will continue to endanger Iran. Under no circumstances should the United States embark on any military action in the region. Any disagreements without the region should be settled by the players in the region. If the parties involved ask for diplomatic and/or humanitarian aid the US should oblige. Military support, no.

  32. Doug Ross


    I used an alias one time with a specific purpose and have explained why in an email to Brad.

    You, on the other hand, haven’t got the guts to put your name on anything you write. It must be tough to keep up a facade as a public official unwilling to take the risk of letting people know what you really think.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *