Mike Kueber's Blog

September 7, 2012

Thoughts on President Obama’s speech at the Democratic convention

Filed under: People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 5:05 am
Tags: ,

  As I listened to President Obama’s speech, I compared it to Mayor Castro’s and concluded that they shared a desire for government to create more opportunity for advancement.  But then I realized that they were making another one of their typical “straw man” arguments – i.e., attacking a position that no one else is defending.  Neither Mitt Romney nor the Republican Party opposes the creation of more opportunity, the question is how do you do that.  As Brit Hume later noted, Obama applied the same rhetorical device when he falsely stated that Republicans wanted government to (a) do virtually nothing, and (b) turn Social Security over to Wall Street.  Republicans are not saying that.   

President Obama has been known to plagiarize from MA senate candidate Elizabeth Warren in the past – i.e., she first used the “you didn’t build that” line – and he did it again tonight.  Last night, Warren repeatedly talked in favor of a “level playing field” and against a “rigged game.”  Tonight, Obama talked about “… the heart of America’s story: the promise that hard work will pay off; that responsibility will be rewarded; that everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules – from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, DC.”

Probably the most interesting paragraph in President Obama’s speech was the following:

  • We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone. We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules. We don’t think government can solve all our problems. But we don’t think that government is the source of all our problems – any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.”

The paragraph begins with conservative thoughts, and then shifts radically liberal with another straw-man argument.  Who wants bailouts for banks that break the rules?  If the banks broke the rules, then the Obama administration should be prosecuting them.  Furthermore, why is the GM bailout something to crow about while the bank bailout is a pox?  As with the Castro speech, the Obama speech contains statements that make no sense on paper, but sound good in a convention hall. 

And finally, President Obama apparently learned his lesson about the brouhaha over the absence of God from the Democratic platform.  To avoid a similar criticism with this speech, Obama refers at different times to Providence, God, and the Creator.

At the beginning of his speech, President Obama declared that this election “will be a choice between two different paths for America; a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.”  As the speech progressed, Obama made it clear that his vision was for higher taxes and a bigger government that was more proactive in creating opportunity, and he suggested that Mitt Romney and the Republicans envisioned lower taxes and smaller government.

In the realm of political speeches, that is a pretty accurate description of the choice facing America.




  1. Mike,

    You said that “Obama made it clear that his vision was for higher taxes and a bigger government that was more proactive in creating opportunity, and he suggested that Mitt Romney and the Republicans envisioned lower taxes and smaller government.” I disagree. I think that the fundamental difference that he spoke of was the argument that the Democrats make that the Republicans are willing to experiment – again – with lowering taxes for the most wealthy while cutting government programs that benefit the middle class and poor with the expectation that everyone will benefit from that action. Clearly the most wealthy will benefit. The question is whether anyone else will.

    No one will run on a big government, high taxes platform. The platform will be centered around the question of how we deal with the deficit and the struggling economy. Having funded two wars by putting them on a credit card, and having had our financial system and housing market collapse because of lack of regulation has to be addressed. Which way will be more effective is what will be argued over the next 60 days. Do you see the Republicans offering a realistic vision of how to make the economy work?

    Comment by Robert Icenhauer-Ramirez — September 7, 2012 @ 12:32 pm | Reply

    • Robert, I realize that no one wants to run on a platform of bigger government and higher taxes, but that is what the Democrats want. It sounds better, however, when you say that the higher taxes will be on the rich and the bigger government will be for the benefit of the poor and lower-middle class. I agree that Republican tax cuts will primarily benefit the rich and upper-middle class, but that is unavoidable because the poor and lower-middle class scarcely pay any taxes (other than social security).

      There is no excuse for operating a government on a credit card, and it needs to stop. Although Bush started this obscene deficit spending, the Democratic speeches didn’t give much emphasis to the problem. The Democrats seem focused on creating opportunity while the Republicans want to balance the budget. But I agree with you and the Democrats that you don’t balance the budget by cutting taxes. That is voodoo economics. And I also think a modest tax increase on the rich would be beneficial in the long-term to America in helping to eliminate our deficit.

      Comment by Mike Kueber — September 7, 2012 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

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