Obama’s pessimistic convention speech

There has been some raving about the greatness of Barack Obama’s speech at the Democrat’s convention.

Like “That was incredible.”

I haven’t seen or heard any of it but haven’t been a fan of much of his speaking in the past.

I’ll watch some of it when I get a chance:

CNN: Barack Obama slams Trump, makes appeal for Hillary Clinton

President Barack Obama made a fervent plea for Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, casting the Democratic nominee as a custodian of his legacy while rejecting Republicans’ message as fostering anger and hate.

In remarks that demonstrated Obama’s lasting appeal to wide swaths of the Democratic Party, the President sought to describe country headed firmly in the right direction, despite the loud protestations otherwise by Donald Trump.

Obama said his former secretary of state is a better qualified candidate than even he or her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had been when they sought office.

“I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, nobody — more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America,” Obama said to a roaring crowd — and a belly-laughing Bill Clinton — at the Democratic National Convention.

Even as a pessimistic attitude pervades the presidential campaign, Obama attempted to harness the optimism that propelled him into office eight years ago.

“America is already great,” Obama insisted, rejecting Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” “America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.”

In remarks that defended his own record as a progressive leader as much as they boosted the candidate who could maintain them, Obama argued that two terms of a Democrat weren’t enough to finish the work he started.

“I have confidence, as I leave this stage tonight, that the Democratic Party is in good hands,” Obama said to scattered sighs among the delegates. “My time in this office hasn’t fixed everything; as much as we’ve done, there’s still so much I want to do.”

An army of writers should at least make to content passable.

But Vox: Comparing Obama’s 2004 convention speech and his 2016 convention speech is depressing

 In 2004, a much-younger Barack Obama stepped onto the stage at the Democratic National Convention and gave a speech that literally changed the course of American history.

“There are those who are preparing to divide us,” he said, “the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.”


That was the Obama who thrilled an unsuspecting nation. He didn’t have a plan to heal the country. He had an argument that it wasn’t really sick. The impression of division, he said, was the work of “spin masters.” It was “the pundits” who liked “to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states.”

Then there was the Obama of 2008. In four short years, he had shot from state senator to presidential nominee. He had served in Washington. He knew the divisions were real. He had stopped blaming the pundits and spin masters.

Now he sought to convince both sides that the gaps, though real, could be bridged with new thinking, with a spirit of compromise. He warned that “Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past.” He said that what is “lost is our sense of common purpose, and that’s what we have to restore.”

The Obama of 2016 wrapped his speech in the language of hope. “While this nation has been tested by war and recession and all manner of challenge,” he said, “I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your president, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America.”

But it was not a hopeful speech. Obama no longer suggests our divisions are illusory; he no longer proposes new thinking as a salve for old battles. Tonight, the choice wasn’t merely between red and blue, but between democracy and authoritarianism, between a public servant and a would-be autocrat.

The Obama of 2004 did not think it necessary to say Americans don’t look to be ruled. The Obama of 2008 was happy to say, “I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.” The Obama of 2016 was reduced to warning of “homegrown demagogues” and a “self-declared savior.”

“This year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me,” Obama said tonight, “to reject cynicism, reject fear, to summon what’s best in us.” Implicit in that cry was that 12 years after Obama gave his inspiring speech in Boston, our politics courses with more cynicism and more fear than ever. Donald Trump is campaigning for president — as of this moment, he is even leading in the polls — by summoning the worst in us.

Obama says he is more optimistic than ever about America’s future, and he may well be. But this was a speech that revealed a deep pessimism about America’s present, and correctly so.

Pessimistic about the present, and pessimistic about future possibilities.

Leave a comment


  1. Zedd

     /  28th July 2016

    Obama knows he cant get another term.. so he is trying to get the next best thing ! 🙂

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  28th July 2016

      Their system wouldn’t let anyone have another term, so he’d be standing for something that he’s not allowed by law to have, as far as I know.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  28th July 2016

        No, he can’t have another term, they can only serve two. I wouldn’t have thought that anyone but a masochist would want to even if they could.

    • Gezza

       /  28th July 2016

      An emirate?

  2. Corky

     /  28th July 2016

    One failed president. One last speech. Looking at a stadium full of liberal drips crying and wrist wringing. Watching a procession of Hollywood stars ( that’s a moral endorsement) supporting Hills cause she’s a woman and she’s shattering glass, I suddenly yearned for a bible bash’n, crewcut, gun totting, sister-lovin Montana Mountain Conservative. At least you know what you see, is what you are gonna be a gettin.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  28th July 2016

      I have never seen or been to one of those Montana ones, so can’t comment.

      I didn’t see people crying and wringing their wrists, they all seemed very happy to me.

      • Corky

         /  28th July 2016

        I must confess I was talking of the clips on TV news. Surely you saw the ones of Bernies Brigade sobbing, or the lady with glasses , who looked like you, with tears running down her cheeks when Hills took to the stage? Had me saying ”No More,” and trying not to fall off my sofa laughing.

        Trust me, sister. As long as you aren’t a sister, you will be alright with Conservative values. That reminds me. Glorivale(?) doco on tonight. See how good Conservative values produce productive people.

  3. Gezza

     /  28th July 2016

    Bush’s & Obama’s combined legacies are the mess the whole country & its domestic & foreign policies are in. The very mess that created this shambles of an election with voters being given for election as their President only a choice of two completely inappropriate candidates, both of dubious intent & moral & intellectual rigour, there being no other worthy & worthwhile alternative candidates capable of being funded & promoted into the role.

  4. Pete Kane

     /  28th July 2016

    Across the board analysis. They are taking it as ‘positive’ in sentiment.

  5. Carol Barrick

     /  29th July 2016

    I watched both Trump and Obama speak at their conventions. And I listened to their wives speak. The world is full of so many challenges and many families are dealing with grief. Do we want our new president to add to the current challenges the world is throwing our way, or do we want a leader who is in there with us, encouraging us and the people of the world to fight every day to make this a better Earth for all of us? I know personally Obama Care has enabled thousands of families to benefit from care for Cancer. That makes this world, never to be perfect but, better for many of us as we get up each morning. As I supported President Kennedy years ago, I support Hillary today, to guide us through these changing times.


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