Five Thoughts on President Obama’s DNC Speech

Barack Obama’s DNC speech rocked.

He may not have the down-home Bill Clinton way about him. And no one is talking about the tie he chose to wear like many have been discussing Michelle’s podium ensemble. But when it comes to a focus on what needs to be done and where he wants to take America, his speech crystallized that in a way that Mitt Romney’s RNC remarks didn’t. I don’t just say that as a Democrat and someone who will be voting for Obama in November. I really thought his speech was better at presenting to voters what he stands for, what he wants to accomplish and how that will help those who need help.

But there were five themes that resonated for me:

1. Clear vision. When I listened to Romney’s convention address, I came away with no clear sense of why he wants to be president or what he thinks he should do to help America. He has some plans that he thinks will benefit Americans individuals. But when it comes to his overarching view of the country as a whole, I’m not sure he thinks about that. Obama, on the other hand, reminded us he has felt an obligation for most of his life to find ways to help those less fortunate in a way that says “one for all and all for one” rather than “every man for himself.”

2. FDR. With so many Republicans banging the drum of less government intervention and visions of slashing government programs dancing in their heads, I thought it was a bold move for President Obama to invoke the name of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his “persistent experimentation” that led the Depression-era leader to create his alphabet soup New Deal programs like the CCC, TVA and the PWA, among so many others. Was he tipping his hand that he thinks that our almost-depression and continuing 8% plus unemployment rate needs that kind of kick start before things can really change? The reference to FDR was a little cryptic, but it was there for a reason.

3. Stats. While Romney spent much of his convention speech talking in broad strokes, President Obama wasn’t afraid to remind the party faithful, as well as those he hopes are persuadable, that he’s got some numbers he wants us to remember like the half-million manufacturing jobs created during the last two-and-a-half years, as well as the 600,000 jobs he believes can be created through renewable energy jobs he wants to focus on. Facts and figures are always a good thing when creating a good argument!

4. Romney dig. It’s hard not to take a little swipe at your opponent in a hot race. President Obama took his at Romney as he reminded us that the Mittster thinks that Russia is our biggest national security threat (rather than Al Qaeda). And, of course, he questioned Mitt’s judgment in openly criticizing one of our closest allies, on their own turf, when he critiqued the Brit’s security measures for the recent London Olympics. OOPS!

5. Citizenship. The themes of the two nominating conventions could not have been clearer.  The GOP had its focus on entrepreneurship. The president’s focus was citizenship. Not that the two are mutually exclusive, but Barack Obama took many opportunities to remind those in the arena, as well as those watching at home, that while working on our own behalf is good, we have a responsibility to be good citizens. He reminded us of the importance of understanding that we al have a place in the greater world, and that creating a better country, and world, for all of us is part of our social contract. I assume that there are those on the right who will play the “socialism” card at any mention of a social contract. But even th government and elected officials have a role to play in that, and Obama reminded us of that.

Did you watch the President’s speech? What was your favorite moment?

Photo credit: Pete Souza, The Obama-Biden Transition Project via Wikimedia Commons

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