Obama's Last Pitch
Panned. The greatest orator is the history of American politics (I'm channeling Chris Mathews here) fails to get rave reviews for his acceptance speech.
Barack Obama is deeply overexposed and often boring. He never seems to be saying what he's thinking. His speech Thursday was weirdly anticlimactic. There's too much buildup, the crowd was tired, it all felt flat. He was somber, and his message was essentially banal: We've done better than you think. Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?
There were many straw men. There were phrases like "the shadow of a shuttered steel mill," which he considers writerly. But they sound empty and practiced now, like something you've heard in a commercial or an advertising campaign.
It was stale and empty. He's out of juice.
I take back every criticism I made of Romney’s speech last week. Next to Obama, Romney was Demosthenes. I’m not the first to say tonight of Obama’s speech: That’s it?? I’m reminded of the story George Will likes to tell about Orioles manager Earl Weaver, who once said to an umpire after a blown call, “Are you going to get any better, or is this it?” That now applies to Obama. If this is his high water mark, he’s going to lose the election badly. I’m actually starting to feel good about Romney’s chances tonight.
I was stunned. This is a man who gave one of the great speeches of our time in 2004, and he gave one of the emptiest speeches I have ever heard on a national stage. Yes, it had cadence, and yes, there were deceptions in it, but that is not what is so striking about it. There was nothing in it. This is a man who believes that government can and should do a lot. There is nothing in here that tells us how he's going to go from today to tomorrow. For any of the so called goals and what government is going to do, what is he going to enact?
Let’s be blunt. Barack Obama gave a dull and pedestrian speech tonight, with nary an interesting thematic device, policy detail, or even one turn of phrase.
It wasn’t even the best speech of the week, never mind his career.
Instead, President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech last night at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, was a prosaic call for support accompanied by some vague plans for action.