Analysis Barack Obamas Acceptance Speech Old Liberal Wine in a New Rhetorical Bottle By HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/user/1659/mark_whittington.htmlMark Whittington, published Aug 29, 2008 Barack Obama strode forth from the Temple that he had erected to himself to accept the nomination of his HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1346/party.htmlparty for President of the HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/678/united_states.htmlUnited States as well as the adulation of the crowd gathered at Invesco Field. It was the biggest speech of his career. The setting, a vast HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/750/football_season_is_here.htmlfootball stadium with the Greek HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1635/style.htmlstyle Temple erected on the field, was one designed to make the members of the audience feel small and helpless. Their eyes must inevitably turn toward the larger than life projected images of HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1787/barack_obama_presidential_campaign.htmlBarack Obama on either wing of the Temple, a comforting image of someone who had come to feel their pain, solve their problems, and lift their spirits. The spirit of the occasion of the last day of the Democratic National Convention evoked not so much Nuremburg as it did Woodstock. There difference was that there was no mud, no (presumably) recreational drugs, a better sound system, and better music. On the flip side, the audience had to listen to politicians like Al Gore. Few experiences in life are perfect. Barack Obamas speech, which lasted nearly an hour with applauds, was a curious blending of the old and the new. The HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1787/barack_obama_presidential_campaign.htmlBarack Obama people have been spooked just a little by criticisms of their candidates tendency toward grandiose rhetoric. So, instead of the usual HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1787/barack_obama_presidential_campaign.htmlBarack Obama performance about hope and change, the audience got Liberal Democrat boiler plate. Most of the speech could have been delivered by John Kerry in 2004, Al Gore in 2000, or even Bill Clinton in the 1990s. After the preliminaries, HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1787/barack_obama_presidential_campaign.htmlBarack Obama laid in on the horrors of the last eight years of Republican rule. Barack Obamas HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1482/america.htmlAmerica is one of skyrocketing unemployment, people being thrown out of their homes, and economic turmoil. There was the usual parade of victims the HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1466/woman.htmlwoman one illness away from disaster, the man packing up his factory equipment to be shipped to China, the veterans sleeping in the streets. George Bushs HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1482/america.htmlAmerica is really Hell on Earth. Next was the full throated attack on John McCain, a man HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1787/barack_obama_presidential_campaign.htmlBarack Obama claimed may well care, but doesnt get it, stupid old man that he is. John McCain is, in fact, George W. Bush, an idea that would surprise both men. But that is the theme of this years campaign. Bush-McCain. McCain-Bush, tusk to tusk, hand in hand. Next came the promises. They were, unfortunately, the same old Democratic promises that have been offered every four years and, for the most part, rejected every four years. Tax cuts for the middle class. Tax increases for the rich. Diplomacy rather than HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1691/war.htmlwar abroad (though, by God, Democrats will defend this country, just you see), a huge program to get us off Middle East Oil, HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1366/how_to_live_a_healthy_life.htmlhealth HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1589/care.htmlcare for all, HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1399/education.htmleducation for all. The problem is that many, if not most people, have grown rather cynical of the ability or even the desirability of government to deliver on such promises. They rather be left alone from people who not so much want to stomp on you, like HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1580/big_brother.htmlBig Brother in 1984, but hug you incessantly even if you dont want to be hugged. Finally, HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1787/barack_obama_presidential_campaign.htmlBarack Obama concluded with some of the HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1787/barack_obama_presidential_campaign.htmlBarack Obama rhetoric that had gotten him through the primaries. There was change, hope, heroic Americans, the spirit of America, and even a perfunctory reference to Dr. King, who have a much more inspiring speech forty five years before. All in all it was old liberal HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1496/wine.htmlwine in a HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1499/new.htmlnew rhetorical bottle. Even the fireworks display, the confetti drop, and the families on display on the stage seemed short, forced, and uninspiring. All in all a lead balloon kind of night to conclude a pedestrian Democratic National Convention. Source HYPERLINK http//www.nytimes.com/2008/08/28/us/politics/28text-obama.htmlpagewanted1_r1Barack Obamas Acceptance Speech, Barack Obama, HYPERLINK http//www.associatedcontent.com/theme/1819/new_york.htmlNew York Times, August 28th, 2008 Analysis Obama talks of change, but sticks to campaign strategy tie McCain to Bush By CHARLES BABINGTON Associated Press Writer Published August 28 2008, 1108 PM CDT DENVER (AP) _ Barack Obama, whose campaign theme is change we can believe in, promised Thursday to spell out exactly what that change would mean. But instead of dwelling on specifics, he laced the crowning speech of his long campaign with the type of rhetorical flourishes that Republicans mock and the attacks on John McCain that Democrats cheer. The country saw a candidate confident in his existing campaign formula tie McCain tightly to President Bush, and remind voters why they are unhappy with the incumbent. Of course, no candidate can outline every initiative in a 44-minute speech especially one that also must inspire voters, acknowledge key friends, and toss in some autobiography for the newly-interested. And Obama did touch on nitty-gritty subjects, such as the capital gains tax and biofuel investments. He said he would find ways to safely harness nuclear power, a somewhat more receptive phrase than he typically uses for that subject. But most of his address echoed and amplified the theme that dominated the four-day Democratic nominating convention here George Bush. John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time, Obama said. Im not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change. Some of his comments about McCain were unusually sharp. Ive got news for you, John McCain, Obama said, defying anyone to challenge his patriotism. We all put our country first. Obama, whose grin can light up an auditorium, was earnest and unsmiling throughout most of the speech, particularly when skewering his opponent. John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war in Iraq, he said sternly. Obamas aides have long complained that he gets too little credit for including detailed proposals in his stump speeches, because listeners seem to remember only his stage presence and lofty rhetoric. Obama, who earlier had promised a workmanlike speech in Denver, seemed to acknowledge the problem, saying he would fill in the blanks. Mostly, however, he touched on major issues quickly and lightly. Its an approach that may intrigue and satisfy millions of viewers just starting to tune in to the campaign seriously. The crowd at Invesco Field cheered deliriously, but Republicans almost surely will decry the lack of specifics. For instance, Obama said its time to protect Social Security for future generations. But he didnt mention his main proposal, which is to add a new Social Security payroll tax to incomes above 250,000 a year. He said he would cut taxes for 95 percent of all working families, but did not say how. He briefly mentioned abortion, gun rights, gay rights and other hot-button issues without delving into their sticky details. Passions fly on immigration, Obama said, but I dont know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. On a few topics, he was a bit more specific. I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow, he said. Even if Obama had talked for three hours, of course, he could not have detailed enough proposals to quiet all his critics. But thats not the strategy. Allies such as Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano will doubtlessly defend his approach. A few hours before the speech, she said What he should not do is what he will be criticized for not doing Give a detailed policy speech. This is not the place for that. She said Republicans will criticize him no matter what. They will argue that his lofty speeches lack substance and details, she said, and a detailed speech that scrimps on soaring rhetoric will prove he has lost his gift. They will try to Catch-22 his speech, Napolitano said. Obama seemed to say, Bring it on, were sticking to our theme McCain equals Bush. Party got what it wanted from Obama speech Democratic nominee delivers the attack many thought had been lacking ANALYSIS By Dan Balz updated 231 a.m. ET, Fri., Aug. 29, 2008 DENVER – Barack Obamas speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday night was what many nervous Democrats were hoping for a forceful challenge to John McCain and the Republicans, and a restatement of the message to change Washington and the nation that propelled him to the nomination. Speaking to a nation fighting two wars, struggling with a weakened economy and growing doubtful about the future, Obama said he would make the fall campaign a choice between a continuation of eight years of Republican policies and a new direction aimed at ending the conflict in Iraq and easing the economic insecurities of working families. These challenges are not all of governments making, he added. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush. . . . I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land Enough I dont know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine, he said. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States. To those who have questioned his patriotism, he sounded a call for a turn away from the partisanship that has marked politics for a decade or more — and challenged his rivals to make this election about big and bold issues, not small and petty arguments. Some Democrats said his highest priority should be mending any last rifts with supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, his rival for the nomination, to ensure that Democrats leave Denver united. Other party members noted that Obama needed to fill in the blank spots in his own biography for voters who wonder who he is, where he came from and how his unusual life ties directly to theirs. The portrait he painted of McCain was that of a man who had served his country nobly but who is out of touch with struggling families and is joined at the hip with President Bush on foreign and domestic policy. There followed a lengthy list of policy prescriptions. Tax cuts for 95 percent of working families, a pledge to end dependence on foreign oil in 10 years through investment in natural gas, safe nuclear power, clean coal technology, more fuel-efficient cars and 150 billion invested in alternative energy. He promised to improve education, pay teachers more, provide every American with affordable health care and protect Social Securitys financial future. The speech did not, however, set the clear priorities that some of his critics say his governing agenda has lacked. Whether that will come over the next 60 days, as the campaign is fought out, is doubtful. For a politician who won the nomination in part through the power of his rhetoric, who probably would not have been a candidate this year were it not for his electrifying address at the convention four years ago, Obama was under considerable pressure Thursday night to deliver a speech of special force and power. What he gave here was a combination of old and new — new toughness coupled with the message that got him to this point. Its time for them to own their failure, he said of Republicans. Its time for us to change America. Obamas challenge between now and Election Day is to make that stick.
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