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Sen. Obama’s Acceptance Speech: Unsupported Promises from an Attractive, Decent, Eloquent but Unaccomplished Nominee

Sen. Obama’s Acceptance Speech


-Richard E. Vatz, Ph.D.

About Senator Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, a few observations…

1. It was a lengthy speech. It was a powerful speech. It was a speech that persuasively argued that the country has serious economic and foreign policy problems, and it was a speech that portrayed John McCain – especially as he was seen as a Bush surrogate — as inadequate to deal with said problems. Most persuasive was Sen. Obama’s depicting the current Republican Administration as exhibiting the Marie Antoinette attitude of “you are on your own” respecting Americans financial problems. What was absent in the speech – and of virtually all Democratic convention speeches the last five days — was even an attempt to cite any political accomplishments of Barack Obama, save the winning of the Democratic presidential nomination.

2. The speech, as expected, sported calls for change, deploring the “same old politics with the same old players.” No explanation was given pursuant to this screed regarding the major convention speakers of Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry and the worshipping of Jimmy Carter. Nor, not-so-incidentally, did Sen. Obama reconcile this disparagement with his choice of Joe Biden as Vice Presidential nominee.

3. Sen. Obama, true to his Democratic lineage, voiced support for a plethora of expensive Democratic programs, the costs of which he dismissed in a sentence or two, including his personal pledge to examine the federal budget. His promise to use tough “diplomacy” to rid Iran of nuclear weapons should frighten all of those who realize that Obaman eloquence has not shown itself to be negotiation-effective. His major error on the “surge” in Iraq? It didn’t come up. What exactly would he do differently in Georgia? In the Mideast? He didn’t say.

4. Sen. Obama gave some voice to conservative values, such as hard work and individual responsibility and mercifully dispensed with the Democratic empty but heretofore heavy emphasis on “hope.”

5. Ending his speech with empty platitudes of “We can not turn back;” “we cannot walk alone,” and “we must march into the future,” Sen. Obama ultimately was saying in his acceptance speech the following: “In tough times, invest your trust in an articulate, mesmerizing speaker who has your interests at heart more than John McCain, whose party leadership has squandered it right to lead.”

Will it work to elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden as President and Vice President? This writer thinks not, but this writer has been wrong before.

Richard E. Vatz is a professor of political rhetoric at Towson University






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