May 21, 2024

Dissecting Obama’s Acceptance Speech

24 hours ago Democrats were salivating all over themselves after Barack Obama gave his speech accepting their nomination for president.  Since then I’ve been waiting to have a go at some of his statements.  It almost seems pointless now that John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate has blown Obama out of the water and, for the moment, off of the press’ radar.

But I’ll do the work anyway.  If nothing else this post should prove to be a useful primer in how not to be sucked into the vacuum of pretty, empty liberal promises. 

Vis-a-vis formatting, Obama’s words will be indented and my comments will follow at the left margin.

It is that promise that’s always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice each of us can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams, as well.

The promise that young people can achieve whatever they’re able has made America great.  But the current generation looks at today’s leaders and sees rich politicians spending the country into the poor house.  Adults my age may never see Social Security because the Boomers will have spent it all on themselves.  Certainly they’ve failed to consider my children’s generation, their dreams, and the effect of the crippling debt they’ll inherit from their grandparents.  Small wonder the young dream of change and take for the streets for Obama, its high priest.  But what is he offering, really?

Talk, certainly.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit cards, bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach.

Currently unemployment stands at 5.7%, a 4-year high.  Yet this number is well below the unemployment rate of several Reagan and Clinton years.  If we are working harder for less – a dubious claim – why is that?  Could it be related to the homes and cars that we can’t afford?  Could the housing crisis have been caused, fundamentally, by our own lack of saving and financial discipline? 

Obama states that the federal government has failed.  Failed to what?  Baby consumers who foolishly spent money they didn’t have?  Housing prices are plummeting in many markets.  But that’s because they were overpriced, not because of some fundamental flaw in the American government.

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made.

Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third, or fourth, or fifth tour of duty.

These are not whiners. They work hard, and they give back, and they keep going without complaint. These are the Americans I know.

Yes, many Americans slip into the harness every day and work their tails off for their families and their own dreams and ambitions.  Many of that group recognize that the world is essentially an economic competition in which their contribution is measured against the value of others’ and that the winner gets the big paycheck.  But there are also many who fail to discern reality, who expect life to be an easy climb to success and the luxuries it brings.  Not so.  Mr. Gramm’s caustic evaluation of our collective mind set is not inaccurate.  Unemployment is not high, nor are interest rates, nor most consumer prices.  Gas prices are high, it hurts, and we need to diversify our energy consumption patterns.  But, as Mr. Obama’s own rise to prominence shows, America is the place of greatest opportunity in the world.  Our failure to keep that fact in mind is indeed indicative of a mental disconnect with reality and our failure to appreciate the largess God has given us is something rather close to ungrateful whining.

What is that American promise? … It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Business must obey the letter of the law and ought to obey its spirit as well.  But businesses have no responsibility whatsoever to create American jobs or to look out for American workers.  None whatever.  Businesses are responsible for financially rewarding those who own and invest in them.  Period.

Now, businesses should consider the long-term effect of their actions on Americans, but only insofar as those effects impact their own financial situation.  Companies that outsource too much risk destabilizing themselves due to lack of internal knowledge of their own business.  Companies that send too many American workers packing may, a few years down the line, find that there is no one left to buy their products and rue the day they decided to manufacture them in India.  But these are decisions for the company’s strategic planners, not for the federal government.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

And what of those millions – millions! – who are not?  Saint Paul teaches that those who are able but do not work do not deserve to eat.  Barack Obama does not, I think, agree, despite his words.

That’s the promise of America, the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation, the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.

That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now.

The belief that I am my brother’s keeper is a fundamental element of Christianity, the religion of our Founding Fathers, the religion that Barack Obama embraces, and the religion that has been banished by Barack Obama’s own political party from the institutions of government, even down to our schools.

If Barack Obama believes that he is my keeper then he needs to restore my children’s right to hear a prayer at school, to see the 10 Commandments on the wall in a government office building or on a monument in the state courthouse, and to be taught that evolution, while a compelling theory, is still only that and far from proven.

If Barack Obama is the keeper of the unborn or born even when unwanted then he must disavow the Democratic party’s pro-abortion platform and ensure that abortions are not performed on viable babies.

If we are are brother’s keepers it is through our obligation to our Creator and His son.  No other moral or ethical standard can make this claim on us.  Does Mr. Obama plan to promote God and Christianity as President Bush has done?  If not, he has no basis for this claim.

In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

No, we won’t.  And if I’m wrong it won’t be because of anything the federal government did or didn’t do – it will be because of the genius of a small group of scientists and engineers who did something that no one else could.

As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America.

That’s great.  But market conditions will dictate when these energy sources become viable replacements for oil, not the president of the U.S.A.  Only when energy companies believe that they can make sustainable profits using these technologies will they come to market in a meaningful way.  As for nuclear power, does Mr. Obama intend to reduce the regulatory burden that makes it nearly impossible for new nuclear power plants to be built?

now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons.

Sure, if it’s an equal day’s work that we’re talking about.  I work with a woman who matches or exceeds my level of work in many aspects of our jobs and whose ability and willingness to do hard, unpleasant work, accept responsibility, work overtime, and stay with an employer through good times and bad is at least as high as mine.  She deserves equal pay because her work is equal to mine.  But the truth is that she’s superior to all the women I’ve ever worked with and the only one who’s matched me in our field.

All of that said, unfettered companies don’t pay people a standard wage for job X unless it’s a cookie-cutter position.  Rather they define a salary range for the position, hire the person who they believe will give them the most return on their investment, and pay employees accordingly. 

Employees make a company go and companies that discriminate based on race or gender will not be able to compete against those who don’t because non-discriminatory companies will hire the better employees.  The fact that a company is successful means that it is not, as a general rule, discriminating against better employees in favor of preferred ones.  Ergo, women who make less than men working for a non-discriminatory organization must be worth less in real terms, perhaps due to longevity of employment or intensity of effort concerns on the part of the employer.

Admittedly there is friction in the employment marketplace that makes it a less than perfect reflection of employees’ true value.  But market wages are a much better indicator of an employee’s value to a company than anything Mr. Obama’s central planners could come up with.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime: by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow.

Liar.  The Viking Pundit:

And soak the rich, Obama will. But Robert Samuelson points out that even that won’t satiate the government’s appetite for spending:

OK, let’s whack the rich. Obama would restore the 36 percent and 39.6 percent income-tax rates for couples with taxable incomes above $200,300 and $357,700. He’s suggested higher capital-gains taxes and Social Security taxes for those with incomes exceeding $250,000. Together, these changes might generate about $80 billion of revenue in 2010, says the Tax Policy Center. By contrast, the 2008 budget deficit is reckoned at $389 billion. Even adding a $125 billion saving on the Iraq War-highly optimistic-wouldn’t erase the deficit.

Obama is promising things he can’t deliver, because the federal government can’t pay and can’t borrow much more. Strip that away from his “substantial” speech and, just like the man, there’s no there there.

More from Obama:

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against Al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts, but I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.

Nothing short of war, revolution, or an act of God can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.  I think it’s great that Obama wants to confront Iran on the diplomatic stage.  It just won’t accomplish anything because that country will ultimately do what the mullahs tell it to do in the name of Allah.

Russian re-expansionism will not be curbed any more easily, not in an era in which Vlad Putin is awash in a sea of cash taken, in part, from the U.S. national debt in return for his country’s one valuable asset:  oil.  Moreover, Russia is actively seeking to be a pain in the U.S.’s arse, whether its actions make sense or not.  Curb that, if you can, Mr. Obama.

The rest is merely more of the same and I tire of the game. 


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

View all posts by marc →

One thought on “Dissecting Obama’s Acceptance Speech

  1. Using this quote from the speech:

    It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

    You said:

    And what of those millions – millions! – who are not? Saint Paul teaches that those who are able but do not work do not deserve to eat. Barack Obama does not, I think, agree, despite his words.

    I’m not sure I agree with you here, Marc. Obama used that phrase (“…who are willing to work…”) more than once in that speech, and it jumped out at me every time.

    I realize that you see Obama as a full-blown nanny-stater, but not only do I not see him that way, his underlying attitudes on this are partly what I liked about him in the first place.

Comments are closed.