An undecided voter on President Obama's convention

An undecided voter on President Obama's convention

Summary: It's the Democrats. What could possibly go wrong?

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Rahm Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel is the current Mayor of Chicago and President Obama's former White House Chief of Staff. I've always liked Emanuel because he's capable of some of the most colorful back room profanity of any serving politician -- and as a master of the colorfully profane myself, I can appreciate that.

Although Emanuel was unlikely to move the election favorability meter (those who love him love him, and those who hate him hate him), he was bound to be a fun watch.

Sadly, Emanuel was neither profane nor inspring. He essentially went down the laundry list of the various Obama administration's claimed accomplishments (health care, auto industry bailout, national security) with a set of shout-outs to battleground states like Ohio.

What was interesting in Emanuel's speech was the difference in tone between the typical GOP convention speech of last week and the Democratic convention. The GOP convention was all about stopping what they call Obamacare, and about how nothing has been done since Obama took office.

The incumbent has something of an advantage, so this convention was structured around the claimed successes of the last four years on the part of the serving president.

Mayor Julian Castro

No matter what they try to do, the Democrats always manage to screw up their signals to mainstream Americans. There's no doubt that San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is a competent American politician, and I'm sure he'd like a future in national politics.

But, c'mon folks. How hard would it have been to avoid having a man named "Castro" give the keynote speech for the Democrats? Seriously? Doesn't anyone think these things through?

All during Obama's presidency, the Dems have been fighting the misapplied labels of "socialism" and even "communism" -- and then they keynote their convention with a man named Castro.

Think about it. What if a Mayor Gus Hitler stood up to give the Republican keynote? It would be too easy. People would be freaking out in the media for weeks.

We are not our parents, our ancestors, or our last names. But names are powerful and carry strong associations. It would be a shame to see this nice young man denied the opportunity to give an important speech. It would be equally sad to see voters scared away from voting for a candidate, not for a valid reason, but because the opposition decided to harp on how his keynote speech was given by a man named Castro.

Keynote addresses can be breakout events. I remember watching the entirely uninspired Democratic convention in 2004 (when John Kerry was the nominee). I had never heard of an obscure Illinois state senator named Barack Obama, but as a politics junky, I figured I'd sit through yet another boring keynote.

By the time Obama had finished his amazing speech (and you had to admit it was, no matter which party you belonged to), I remember turning to my then-future wife and telling her, "I think we just met a future president." Four years later, Barack Obama, with just two years of U.S. Senate experience, won the presidential election.

I strongly believe it was that keynote that put Obama on the path to the White House. On the other hand, back in 1988, an unknown Bill Clinton gave a keynote speech so bad, and so long, that the crowd applauded and cheered when it was over. Of course, four years after that, Bill Clinton was also on the road to the White House.

Sadly, Julian Castro is no Barack Obama. Oh, the young mayor gave a great speech. I'm sure we'll see more of him. He fed the audience all the red meat they could possibly want -- which, ultimately, is the job of a political speech.

But the difference between the keynote speech for President Obama's reelection convention and the keynote speech given by an unknown state senator named Obama was vast. Back in 2004, the speech Obama gave was powerful, uplifting, inspiring -- and almost completely devoid of red meat.

That Obama was a man who could be a leader of all Americans, not just blue state Americans. That Obama was a man who could see the diversity of the American population and try to unite it. That Obama was a man who could reach across party boundaries for a better future. That Obama was a man who could look forward to change with hope.

That was the Barack Obama of eight years ago.

Today's President Obama is a man more seasoned, more jaded, more worn down by the realities of leadership, not just the promise of hope.

Whether we return this Obama, the older, grayer, wearier Obama to the White House, or give the business executive the key to the ultimate executive suite, will be a direct function of how close most Americans feel President Obama got to the dreams and promises of his younger self.

Next up: Michelle Obama

Topics: Government, Government US

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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Talkback

72 comments
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  • The real party platform:

    (Think of a 'Meow Mix' cat food commercial) God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god....
    robin@...
    • "Corporate should have losses!!"

      So says the Obama-loving communists at DNC. I just wonder how Obummer would get his donation then. Hoho. The liberals just could not use their brain.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07fTsF5BiSM
      LBiege
      • less than 20 people

        how many did he go through to get those 20 people?

        would be just as easy to find a bunch of democracy hating people to say obama's a communist, socialist, isn't a citizen, blah blah blah. you know, a president elected by the people of the country. hey wait! we can start with you! that's 1.
        oneleft
      • and btw

        your democracy loving party has done something never before done in the history of our country. congress averages a filibuster about every 10 years. in the last 4 years your patriotic elected officials from the right have managed over 400.

        really really really tough to govern when you can't pass anything. when you can't even get people approved for vital positions, positions filled usually within months of a new presidency that remain empty to this day, when the opposition is only interested in obstructionism.

        your flag waving leaders have held this country and economy hostage in their determination to undermine the will of the american people. you know, those people that elected the president to do a job. now good look up the word filibuster.

        but hey, stick a camera in the face of a couple of dozen people. use the word obummer like you actually have wit.
        oneleft
        • Please see my direct response to him, as

          that includes a few links - mostly to nonpartisan sources but I included a few from both right- and left-wing sources as well...

          These guys don't get it. If they really checked up on what politicians do, they'd find Obama by and large being "Bush's third term", and whose bipartisan and compromise has given the GOP a free ride. In 2003, Obama talked of single payer. After 2009, all he did was lift Romney's own plans, using his own people.

          Indeed, noting how the GOP loves to give corporate handouts to corporations, especially those that offshore, how Obama is the C-word is the biggest LIE being told. The GOP loves offshoring to C-word countries (China), and those sites that go into detail on votes tell it all...

          It's all documented stuff.
          HypnoToad72
      • LBiege ...your a F*****g jerk

        End of story.................
        Over and Out
        • Wow, my post with links to several sites has to wait

          but your immature slop got posted?!!!!!!!
          HypnoToad72
  • Neither were good, Neither were bad

    I feel like I am watching an episode of "I wish someone would figure this out" after watching both conventions. The sheer vastness of " they get it not" fom both parties leaves one wishing for a Kable third party.at this stage I am, either way - either party, looking at four more years of my wallet getting slimmer.
    rhonin
    • We really really really

      Need edit capability.
      rhonin
      • New CMS

        It's a new CMS. I understand that's many of the items the programmers are working day and night on. But, as with all mere matters of programming, when it'll show up is, well, a mere matter of programming.
        David Gewirtz
        • it's a tech site

          day and night and still not fixed? no other tech site i visit has this problem.
          maybe you guys should contract it out.
          oneleft
    • Well, since private industry creates jobs and sets their value,

      scapegoating any figurehead from any political party won't do you much good.

      Stop whining about wages going down. The politicians, dare they do something positive for you and me and others, will be called "comm unist" or something by the usual one-liner fluffheads...

      And it's documented, stagnant wages not keeping up with inflation... tons of articles exist online... you'd be surprised... Indeed, "The American dream died in february 1973" - web search that article. And "the vicious cycle of stagnant wages".

      Then look up corporate welfare, especially as handed out by the politicians that claim to love this country, hate "Communi sts", et cetera...
      HypnoToad72
      • in short,

        ask why corporate leaders devalue the worth of your labor, why you have to do more for less, give up vacation time, etc, etc... or do you choose not to defend your own value?
        HypnoToad72
  • Wrong Site Buddy...

    I though this was a tech website. What on earth does your blog have to do with technology? Use another forum to post political opinions.
    gribittmep
    • Go ahead

      glance at the top of this page where it says topic.

      It says "government".
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Since you say it's ok I'll post my opinion

        Obama has three "qualities": He's incompetent, He's a liar and He's a Socialist. He wants the government to control everything. All money is to flow through the government and they will decide what it is to be spent on and how much each person can have to spend. Obamacare is just the start. 49% of all Americans currently receive some type of government support. The Chosen One wants it to be 100% If that's the type of country you want then by all means vote for another 4 years of "Change".
        gribittmep
        • Oh no...

          Another idiot that doesn't know what "socialist" means trying to sound intelligent.
          Qbt
        • Did you mean to say Romney care?

          Maybe you should look that up.
          mrefuman
          • I put in some news articles

            but they're being vetted. It's worth the wait; there's nothing bad in that response...
            HypnoToad72
        • oh no you didn't!

          did you just use like almost every single sound bite the right and fox has been pushing for the last 4 years!?! SNAP! truly, a singular mind indeed. true, there's no real thought in there, no valid arguments, you know, just the talking points, but if you keep working on that soon you'll start believing that you can actually think! good job laddie, good job indeed.
          oneleft