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06.14.12

Obama's Speech: Calling Drew Westen!

I started to write a post that was pretty favorable about Obama's speech, but I just deleted it because I started to get a little bored as the speech went on.

It was fine. He did begin to attack Romney's plans for the country. He dropped Bain entirely and focused on the future and the country, which I approve of since that's what I've been saying he should do for two weeks now. Some of the lines were pretty sharp, although that portion of the speech ended far too quickly and the rest of it dragged on far too long.

He's making that old liberal error of speaking to people's brains and not their guts. Nobody wants to hear the specifics of how more teachers are going to be hired. People don't actually need to be more informed about what Obama would like to do. Specifics are important when bureaucrats sit down to write regulations, but they don't belong in speeches like this. But people don't remember that. They just remember how a speech made them feel, and I'm afraid this speech probably made people feel like looking at their watches.

There's a long way to go, in other words. The attacks need to have much more bite. Rhetorically, the speech wasn't powerful--diluted by length and tropes we've heard before (we're all in this together), which give the impression of a static campaign, a body that's stuck and not moving forward. But we'll see how it plays out over the next few days. If nothing else, the speech put the issue of Romney's plans for the country on the table for the first time, so reporters will ask him (if he ever appears on a channel that has, you know, reporters; i.e., not Fox).