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Obama’s Speech



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I jotted a few notes while he was delivering it. Let me give you those notes, in order, and then make a comment at the end. (My view of this speech, and of Joe Biden’s, differs from the consensus.)

His comment to his daughters that they’d have to go to school tomorrow, regardless — charming. Their reaction — even better.

Talk about a “human” moment.

What did Obama do when the economic crisis hit? He hit America with the “stimulus.” And then hit it with Obamacare.

These were not responses to the crisis, really: These were things that liberal Democrats have yearned to do in any season. As Obama’s chief of staff said, Why let a good crisis go to waste?

The “stimulus” and Obamacare made a terrible situation worse. They were like throwing weights on a man trying to get out of a ditch.

I believe that “history,” if she has her eyes open, and is not too partisan a Democrat, will find these measures — the “stimulus” and Obamacare — blameworthy, and very much so.

“If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me — so am I.” A great line.

I must say — and a guy has a right to do with his grandparents what he likes — I’m a little sickened by how Obama uses his grandparents. When he needs them, they’re good, Norman Rockwell Americans. When the need is different, the grandmother is just a typical white person, racist.

It’s none of my business, really — hell, maybe she was — but I still burn a little at this.
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Obama has an interesting habit, and I think it’s typical of Chicago — although Obama got there relatively late in life: His speech was formed, or should have been formed, elsewhere.

When the rest of the country pronounces a final “s” like “z,” he says “s.” Take the word “overseas”: From Obama, it’s “over-cease.”

This is how Obama mocked Republicans: “Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning.”

Very, very good.

“I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy . . .”

I thought of something a Californian told me last month: “In my community, they’re firing teachers in order to pay for the pensions of retired teachers.”

That is our problem — or a big part of our problem — in a nutshell. The public-employee unions, in many parts of the country, are killing us. This is what Chris Christie, in New Jersey, has addressed so effectively. (Scott Walker, Mitch Daniels, John Kasich, and others have dealt with it too, of course.)

The guy really, really knows how to give a speech — really. “I have a gift, Harry,” he told Senator Reid. He does.

Said Obama, “. . . those of us who carry on [FDR’s] legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.”

I was hoping the convention would boo!

If I had been in a coma for four years, and had woken up in time to watch this speech, I might have said, “This is a sensible, patriotic, trust-inspiring man. He would make a good president!”

When Obama mentioned wind turbines, I smiled inwardly, thinking of possibly my favorite fact: A major component in each of those blades is petroleum.

When Obama talked of schools and how kids need opportunities, I was filled with disgust: remembering how he snatched choice away from those impoverished D.C. kids. The teachers’ unions had to be obeyed.

Disgusting. (Both Obama and the unions.)

“In 2014,” said Obama, the Afghan War “will be over.” Well, then: If I were the enemy, I’d just sit back!

“My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy” — um, not as new as Obama was four years ago. And more sensible now.

Now he admits Britain is our closest ally? Evidently, it takes the imperative of trashing Mitt Romney to blurt this out . . .

Romney did not “insult” Britain, over the Olympics — unless telling the truth, giving an honest answer, is insulting.

But, of course, Barack Obama — the great, omniscient Barack Obama — would know more about running the Olympic Games than pathetic, clueless, inexperienced Mitt Romney.

Obama keeps talking of “ending” the war. I guess winning is out of the question.

He keeps talking about government jobs, about how the government can hire men and women to repair bridges and so on. This view of our economy is very sad. We became a juggernaut because the energies and talents of people were unleashed — benefiting all, not just the most energetic and talented.

On taxes, Obama’s attitude seems to be: I own your money. And I’ll let you keep what I feel like letting you keep.

Obama:

We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success. We have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers, who have always been the driving force behind our free-enterprise system — the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known.

Let me say something harsh: This is strictly campaign talk, to be forgotten between campaigns.

Let me say something else quite harsh: If a Republican said this to them, the Democratic audience would boo — or at least remain largely silent.

For much of the past four years, Obama has seemed to me cold, caustic, arrogant, contemptuous, self-absorbed, and dislikable. But the likable Obama from the ’04 speech, and from much of the ’08 campaign — that Obama was back last night, I think.

I had a memory from the first Bush-Kerry debate: Bush was a mess, barely able to defend himself; Kerry was strong, and often conservative-sounding. I thought — and wrote — “If I knew nothing — if I were completely ignorant — I would vote for Kerry.”

(Fortunately, Bush came back to deliver excellent performances in the remaining debates. He was quite tired the night of the first, in part because he had helped out with hurricane relief, in the broiling sun, earlier that day.) (This was Florida.)

Okay: The president who spoke at the convention last night? He was unlike the president I have witnessed for four years, in form and substance. Far more impressive and compelling.

When the speech was over, I listened to a variety of talking heads. And, to a man, they said Obama’s speech was weak. That he had pretty much blown his chance.

I was quite surprised.

The commentators also said that Biden’s speech was very good, maybe the best of the convention.

I was surprised at that too — I thought it was overly sentimental and boring.

I thought Obama did as well as possible, under the circumstances: that he delivered an A-1 speech. Another Obama home run, on a big occasion.

There is a well-known music critic in New York who occasionally disagrees with my reviews (which is very rude of him). After upbraiding me a little, he’ll say, “Ah, well — horse races.” His allusion, of course, is to “That’s what makes horse races.”

If the world thinks Obama was poor, fine with me: I’m rooting for Romney, hard. I’m just surprised.

Isn’t it kind of odd that, on the campaign trail, Obama doesn’t talk about his two biggest acts: the “stimulus” and Obamacare? Shouldn’t the Republicans talk about these things a lot?

And remind the world of that term “shovel-ready”?



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