In his acceptance speech at the DNC Thursday night, Barack Obama took out the mirror he usually looks into to see himself and held it up towards the crowd so the delegates could see their own reflections:
So you see, the election four years ago wasn't about me.
It was about you.
My fellow citizens, you were the change.
The crowd in the arena loved it. But these delegates were dominated by the left-wing base of the Democratic Party, and the President's speech, lacking as it was in specific plans, offered nothing but a laundry list of goals for a distant future, empty promises no more likely to be fulfilled than the same promises made four years earlier.
The speech was well delivered with the usual Obama cadence, but there was nothing in it we've not all heard many times before. And there was no mention of the highly unpopular legislative "successes" of his administration--Obamacare, the $800 billion failed Stimulus program, and Dodd-Frank. As for that $16 trillion debt and federal spending that's risen to 24% of GDP on his watch, the President had neither a mea culpa nor a solution to offer.
Obama spoke for 45 minutes, laid out a vision of goals that "could have been picked out of a hat" as Charles Krauthammer said, but gave no details to explain how the millions of new jobs he promised would be created.
Wind turbines, solar energy, clean coal and biofuel shall lead the way to energy independence, the President said, and those profit guzzling oil companies, why, we can't let them set national energy policy. He didn't tell us the details of his energy policy, though, or how those failed solar energy companies like Solyndra would accomplish more than draining billions of subsidized dollars from the federal treasury.
Obama then told the pumped up delegates they were responsible for a litany of his Administration's small ball "accomplishments":
You're the reason there's a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who'll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can't limit her coverage.
You did that.
You're the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he'd be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance.
You made that possible.
You're the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she's ever called home . . .
You did that. You did that.
They saw themselves in his mirror, and they liked it. You're like me, the President told them. You want to transform America into a socialist state where everyone pays their fair share and we focus on redistributing wealth, not creating wealth. You succeed if I succeed.
Then, President Obama told them he couldn't keep his job if they didn't help him turn out the vote in November:
If you turn away now -- if you turn away now, if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn't possible, well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: the lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election, and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should be making for themselves.
Only you can make sure that doesn't happen. Only you have the power to move us forward.
The speech was a hit with the delegates, but left independents and more traditional Democrats watching it on the television unmoved. Most probably turned to another channel long before this point.
In a speech filled with straw men and lacking specificity, Obama told at least one truth last night. He won't win in November if the rank and file of the Democratic Party aren't motivated to get-out-the-vote. While the delegates at the DNC were inspired by their own reflections in the mirror last night, there simply aren't enough far left Democrats to overcome the disappointed Obama voters, disaffected independents, and energized tea party activists for the election results of 2012 to be a repeat of 2008.
The President's speech in Charlotte was like the final concert of an aging rock star surrounded by a faded crowd of groupies. He's a one term wonder who can't write the lyrics that will deliver another four years in office. The groupies still love those old lines they've memorized by heart, but the crowds keep dwindling.