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Thanks to the 2012 campaign and Mitt Romney, President Obama has found his voice. That gives him a big advantage over Republicans the next two years.
For all his writing and oratorical skills, Obama never found a way in his first term to effectively tell his story – and sell his message. That led to the 2010 electoral disaster.
But something has changed. It started election night. Democrats asked: “Where was this guy in that first debate?” It continued in his inaugural speech. And he showed it again last night in the State of the State.
Obama even looks different – looser, more relaxed, more confident. And he has figured out how to explain his vision of government in as strong and compelling a way as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton did theirs.
Here was the key line last night: “They (the American people) know that America moves forward only when we do so together; and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all.”
Here’s how he said it at the inaugural: “The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”
That theme set him up last night to draw this contrast with Republicans: “…we can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and most powerful. We won’t grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling, or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers, cops, and firefighters. Most Americans – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share. And that’s the approach I offer tonight.”
Of course, Obama might never have found that message without Mitt Romney. Romney set out an opposing vision, and Obama had to counter. And Romney gave Obama an opening that he seized with alacrity.
In 1996, remember, Bob Dole talked about “building a bridge to the past.” Clinton countered with “building a bridge to the future.” That became the theme of his second term.
In 2012, Romney and Republicans – sometimes deliberately and sometimes clumsily – talked about a nation of builders and a nation of takers, the “47 percent.” Now Obama has flipped their own message against them.
Marco Rubio is a prettier, more pleasant face than John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Rand Paul. But Obama has him and the Republicans in a rhetorical box, hoist by their own words.


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2 comments on “Obama's Edge

  1. dap916 says:

    That all was excellent, Gary, for folks that are lock-step Obama supporters and die hard democrats. Obama and the democrats won pretty convincingly in 2012 so anything and everything said about why that happened and about how republicans are bad and republican candidates are wrong for America will get good marks in the democratic fold. Hey, when republicans won big in 2010, that’s what they presented and it was just really tough to argue knowing the results of that election. How many blog posts and speeches and emails did I read after the 2010 election from democrats that were “gloom, dispair…agony on me” presentations? Now? Democrats definately have the upper hand…at least nationally. Now, republicans are “…deep, dark depression..excessive misery” (Gary, you’re old enough to have watched Hee Haw and that was one of the mainstay songs they had on there, remember? 🙂 )

    One thing about Obama’s speech, though. You mentioned his statement: “They (the American people) know that America moves forward only when we do so together; and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all.” Obama doesn’t truly believe that, Gary. I don’t think most democrats today believe that. If they did, they’d know just how ludicrous it is to ask only half of the population to pay into the tax system and to provide the revenue that is necessary to run our government. It’s no secret that only about half of the working American citizens (and that includes people drawing unemployment) actually pay into our federal tax system. Actually, more and more, people that are of a certain income level actually get “back” money from the federal government every year that is significantly more than they ever have taken out of their paychecks (or unemployment checks) than they pay in. Those people aren’t interested in “working together” to improve our country’s plight. Everyone should pay taxes on income earned. That can be accomplished by either a “flat tax” or by some kind of “graduated” income tax system that at least collects even a minimum amount from even those that are in the lower-paid classes. Think about how much revenue that would bring into our fed….and think about how much it would save not having to pay out lump sums to lower classes because of the idiotic “tax credit” clause in our IRS code.

    Finally, and I know you hear this just far too much from me….if the democrats are able to continue to “own” the media, there’s absolutely nothing republicans will be able to do to thwart what the democrats are doing to our country or stop the Obama/democratic agenda. We can have all of the best intentions, all of the best ideas, all of the greatest plans for the future of our country but so long as that is not presented to the populace and so long as everything republicans say and want to do for our country is bashed/trashed and then that is defended by the media, we lose. It’s great strategy by the democrats and it has worked and it presents a very huge obstacle I’m not real totally sure the republicans will be able to overcome.

  2. Carbine says:

    I doubt most people still care to listen to what the deceiver in chief has to say. Four more years of a flat line economy ought to shake the scales from the eyes of even his most deluded lackeys. Except perhaps, Gary.

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