DNC Speech 2012
When he delivered his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on the 6th of September 2012 , President Barack Obama had several models to live up to. To begin with, his speech here in 2004 when he addressed the convention as a presidential candidate had inspired millions of Americans and immediately grabbed the attention, and support, of voters. His acceptance speech at the convention four years ago has also won over hearts. Rousing performances by Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton before the president’s speech had set a very high standard that was obviously expected to be surpassed when the president took the stage. The speech, however, was hardly eloquent.
The speech acutely lacked the power that his earlier addresses held. In fact, the president’s speech purposely toned down, possibly to set the stage for the change in direction that it was meant to convey. President Obama launched his term as president with the promise of change. Eight years later, he was to convey that he was no longer the personification for change, but had donned the mantle of perseverance. “Times have changes and so have I. I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the president’ he said, drawing the attention of the audience away from past promises to current issues. He then went on to highlight the experiences that he has had when dealing with the consequences of tough decisions that he had to make. By quoting Abraham Lincoln on this note, he indirectly drew a comparison in the audiences mind that even one of the most respected presidents of America was tested.
As with any other political speech, the president sought to highlight the achievements of the last 4 years, focusing on subjects where he starkly differed from Republican opinions and yet had the support of the people. As a result, the president spoke of tax cuts for the wealthy, effectiveness of his foreign policy, climate change and the use of renewable energy, and saving jobs in the auto industry. The speech swerved away from controversial yet crucial topics such as the budget deficit. Further, the president failed to provide conclusive data and statistics to back his claims. Hence, while the speech did keep a focus on achievements, its blatant avoidance of sensitive issues and shortcomings was a sore. It made it seem that the president was avoiding confronting issues for fear of losing public support. This in turn reflects a lack of confidence that can be suicidal in an election campaign.
On the positive side, while the president’s speech lacked detail, was vague and conveyed a lack of conviction towards controversial issues, at the same time, it did not over indulge in political rhetoric, which is the bane of ill-planned political speeches. The speech was peppered with calls for support, hope and constancy. The president gave credit to the American people for all that he has achieved in the 8 years he has been in office and concluded with statements such as “We have been there, we’ve tried that and we’re not going back We are moving forward”. It was not the speech of a president hopeful, but rather of a workman – all about America not giving up, steeling itself for a tough road ahead, a commitment not to turn back until the job is done.
The White House. (2012, September 7). Remarks by the President at the Democratic National Convention. Retrieved October 6, 2012, from The White House - President Barack Obama: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/07/remarks-president-democratic-national-convention