Obama: The morning after

David Martosko Executive Editor
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The Walk of Shame! A friend once told me that a certain Mr. X must be good in bed, because women were always saying “I can’t go on seeing you. It’s just not working. So let’s spend one more night–and then that’s it!” This is kind of how I feel about Obama’s acceptance speech. It was empty, but empty in a good way. We weren’t crazy to be inspired by this guy. In the cold light of morning, however, …. some complications:

1) The little things you do that annoy: Tax reform got a bit harder because of this sentence:

I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.

Yes, Obama can ask them to give up their deductions for other causes. Still, he’s stoking an entitlement grudge where it’s not helpful …

2) You’re so insecure: I cringed–literally literally, not Biden-literally–when Obama said “I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President,” If you really are the President–i.e., if you’ve filled the role–you don’t have to say “I’m the President.” You don’t let that line get written.

3) You never admit you’re wrong: I missed the acknowledgement of “mistakes” Joe Klein heard.   Acknowledging mistakes –e.g. even after the 2010 midterms–doesnt’ seem to be in Obama’s repertoire. The word “mistake” only occurs at the end of the speech when he’s talking about how all Americans (or all Democrats) learn from them.  True, the President does admit to “failings,” but that turns out to mean failing–like Lincoln!–to always defeat the vast forces arrayed against him. A boastful kind of apology.

4) Where this is going? Klein says: “I wanted him to say: Here’s what we did that worked; here’s where we need to work harder; here are a few things we’ve learned we have to do differently; here’s what I hope we can do.” I agree–also with this excellent Klein paragraph:

But I still wonder: What is he going to do with his second term? What are the next things we need to do as a nation? Why did he limit his defense of the Affordable Care Act to a sentence or two about a girl in Phoenix with a pre-existing condition? Why didn’t he say more about the revival in manufacturing that seems to just be beginning? Why didn’t he get more specific, and dreamy, about the whiz-bang new energy products that are being developed by basic-research government agencies like ARPA-E? He talked about goals; why did none of them seem big? Why can’t I remember any of them? Why didn’t he talk about the world’s largest solar farm, under way in Nevada? Why didn’t he envision an America — happening right now, by the way — where people can put solar tiles on their roofs, take care of their own electrical needs and sell the surplus to their local utilities? Or something else. Whatever. Something to hang on to and aim for.

5) What about my needs? No ringing endorsement of welfare work requriments.

I’m not sure this relationship is good for me. Need some space to think. I’ll call  …

Update: Clive Crook didn’t even have a good time. … Republicans pretend that they once did. …

David Martosko