Fortitudine et Prudentia

Hollywood Wows, Obama Changes and Jobs Report Disappoints

In News and Opinion on September 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm

The Democratic National Convention was hitting on all the right notes until The President took the stage. By acclamation and consensus the DNC was a well-choreographed production worthy of the highest world standards that Hollywood can create but as the famous rapper Jay Z once said, “this ain’t a movie.”

Michelle Obama showed in very real language President Obama’s empathy for hurting Americans and expressed his “common man” values compel his decision making. Bill Clinton gave a lights out rebuttal to the attacks against President Obama by his political foes. In an amazing display of mental jujitsu former President Clinton, now known as “The Secretary of Explaining Stuff”, dismantled Republican claims item by item in one of the most factually correct speeches given at either convention.

All was going very well for Democrats. Point by point they were in lock step defending Medicare, advocating women’s rights, touting foreign policy, promoting education, and, of course, saving the American auto industry. The liberals found their voice; they were speaking to their base and beyond pushing their core belief that growth and prosperity comes from the middle class out and from the bottom up – that government can be a tool good.

But when President Obama took the stage the energy flattened. Like leaving a darkened movie theatre after watching an exciting Hollywood production, the bright lights of the lobby tend to set in and minds leave the fantastical and adjust to the true light of reality. Obama was humble and gracious in his acceptance delivering a “workman” like speech more in the fashion of a stoic statesmen interested in checking off boxes rather than the fresh “A list” celebrity on the scene with a new catch phrase.

Declaring that he’s “changed” The President remained steadfast and resolute in his progressive vision for the future. Invoking President Franklin Roosevelt as the standard for his re-election Obama warned, “if you turn away now… change will not happen.” Citing the possibilities of Medicare going bankrupt and being changed into a voucher system, the protections “Obamacare” holds for sick children and uninsured adults could be repealed, and higher education opportunities would most likely be cut by his opponents. Obama pushed that this election is a choice between two vastly different ways forward. Obama has to make this election a choice between visions rather than a referendum on the economy to win because in the back of his mind, while he was giving the acceptance speech, was a disappointing jobs report.

Federal jobs reports are released to the public the first Friday of every month but the President gets the jobs numbers at 4pm the day before they are released. The August jobs report that was in the back of the President’s mind showed a mere 93,000 jobs created which isn’t enough to keep up with the amount of jobs that needs to be created to keep up with population growth. To add insult to injury over 350,000 Americans left the labor market lowering the unemployment rate from 8.3% to 8.1%. In August the job market was on the wrong side of flat. Of the August jobs report the Romney Campaign said, “Yesterday was the party, today is the hangover.”

The convention put on by the DNC was well produced and well directed. The Democrats put on a show that was unified, on message and totally behind President Obama. They set the stage as best they could for the serious tone of Obama’s acceptance speech as he sought to recast his role before the American people. President Obama is now what screen writers would call a dynamic character, one who changed or evolved in some manner but as the August jobs report reminds voters this “ain’t a movie” – This election is about jobs and the economy.

  1. I don’t think President Obama’s speech was flat at all. I think it was honest and realistic about what he can accomplish and not just finger pointing or saying what people wanted to hear. As you said, Clinton demolished the Repubs the night before so Obama didn’t have to. The soaring speeches we’re use to from him wouldn’t have flown. He had to be sober and realistic and i appreciated it. Have you wrote anything on Romney’s refusal to provide in detail on ANYTHING??? It’s insane…

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