From the DNC, Day 4: Obama's record
By Isabella Fuentes
As I sat down to write this with heavy eyelids, hoarse vocal cords, and a racing heartbeat (yes, I did just see President Obama speak!), an unsavory thought dawned upon me: today, Thursday, Sept. 7, was the last day of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. This was immediately followed by a more pleasant thought: it's my favorite day of the Convention, summary day.
Like the conclusion at the end of a dreaded long-form essay, today was the President's day to speak as well as a day to sum up the events and themes of the week. While the first two days were a lot more specific, last night's speeches fell under the umbrella of reasons to reelect Barack Obama. It was about promises made and, ostensibly, promises kept. The main argument for reelection was Obama's record, which, speakers assert, is filled with checks in the 'yes' column and promises delivered on.
The mood of the electoral cycle has been almost universally negative, with candidates attacking each other's professional record, factual inaccuracies and personal history. However, at the DNC last night, many speakers tried a positive tack instead, with little mention of Mitt Romney and the majority of attention on decisions Obama has made while in the White House. Joe Biden's "the auto industry is alive and Osama Bin Laden is dead" line was quoted many times over. Ending the Iraq war, passing the Affordable Care and Equal Pay acts, saving the automobile industry, and a further synopsis of his record was the talk of the night. It was a summary of the past four years, and those who spoke claimed that America was better off these past four years than it was before.
We're better off now than then, they say. Be it Debbie Wasserman Shultz on women's health, John Kerry (less stiff and more humorous tonight then usual) on foreign policy, Antonio Villaraigosa on the DREAMers and immigration rights, or any other eminent Democratic speaker. The focus was on what Obama succeeded to do these past four years and how it positively impacted the American people. And, thanks to Vice President Joe Biden, the focus was also on how the President did it. Biden's appealingly sentimental speech focused on both the issues of the election cycle and the emotions behind them, like our VP's fierce loyalty and Obama's unwavering courage. Courage figured heavily in Biden's speech and was a main argument for the reelection of Obama -- the ability to make good, though unpopular decisions seems to resonate with the populace.
But despite the success of Biden's speech, ultimately tonight was the President's show. Nobody can make a case for the reelection of Barack Obama quite like Barack Obama. His speech, delivered with his usual oratorical excellence, was not only a summary of the evidence but a projection for the future. One of the things Obama has been most heavily criticized about was his harsh treatment of the Romney/Ryan plans without providing any of his own. That argument, however, was rendered obsolete tonight. Not only did he talk about his past treatment of issues -- the environment, foreign politics and the wars, the economy, to list just a few examples -- he is now offering a plan for what to do in the future: drill for natural gas but put heavy regulations in place, withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, and use the money not used for the war to pay down the debt while giving the middle class some tax relief.
Obama laid his record and plans out for the American people, then asked them to judge, give their opinion and grant him four more years to keep moving forward. A vote for Obama, the man himself asserted, is a step forward, while a vote for Romney is a step backwards. Prominent Democrats have used Obama's strengths and Romney's failures to make a convincing case for the incumbent's reelection. Tonight, the VP and POTUS themselves did that as well, giving the American public the information they need to make an informed decision for who they want as their leader. And now, in this democracy of ours, it's up to the people to choose.