Can we just get to the deliciously nasty Clinton/Cuomo primary of 2016?
I was underwhelmed by Obama’s speech. I thought the convention was going well for Democrats. Clinton and Biden gave long speeches, but of the type that can help Obama with precisely the demographic group he needs to not get destroyed in: whites from Scranton to Omaha.
Overall, the Democratic convention did a better job advocating for their candidate. The staging was better. It felt bigger. The delegates were more excited, and that enthusiasm came through on the broadcasts.
But honestly, Obama’s speech was strangely defensive. And for all of the rhetoric about moving “forward,” the speech contained no clues about what he would do in his second term, besides reducing the deficit. (The sort of policy Keynesians should hate.) All the other policy details referred to things already in motion or to the status quo itself: wind down our Afghanistan mission, let some top tier tax cuts expire, let defense cuts happen, keep the major middle class entitlements as they are. All this could be achieved without Congress holding a session, or even electing a new occupant to the White House. Just go by what’s on the books.
There were some effective sections. This was aimed at exactly the type of voters that can be moved:
I know that campaigns can seem small, and even silly. Trivial things become big distractions. Serious issues become sound bites. And the truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me – so am I.
This should tell you a lot about the type of voters that can be moved.
Obama framed the election this way:
It will be a choice between two different paths for America.
A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.
It’s just not true. There are some issues that distinguish these candidates. Even issues that I think are important. Romney is more likely to conduct have an aggressive foreign policy and to dismantle parts of Obamacare. Obama is pro-choice and has a view of religious liberty that I find restrictive.
Beyond that we’re really talking about a few percentage points on the tax side or on the spending side. And “political reality” intrudes even on these small promises.
This is a small election.