Barack Obama knows how to deliver a speech well. But, in all seriousness, a good delivery doesn’t make the message delivered any more true than if it is poorly delivered. And the very worst liars are often enough the very best talkers.
According to FactCheck.org, Obama “stuck to the facts except when he stretched them.” I would argue that he stretched them beyond the point of ridiculous on a number of occasions.
At the macro level, one serious criticism is that Obama fundamentally contradicted himself. He spent the first third of the speech engaging in classic old-style politics, delivering several unfair and frankly over-the-top attacks. Then he spent the last third talking about new politics, rising above attacks, coming together, and having the grace to build bridges. You can’t start off delivering an old-style attack, and then claim that you represent a new style.
Also at the macro level, Barack Obama, whose campaign theme has been “change we can believe in,” promised to “spell out exactly what that change would mean” and deliver a “workmanlike” speech. But, as two Associated Press articles report, Obama too often only “touched on major issues quickly and lightly,” and when he actually offered specifics, the vision he presented “collided with reality.”
For the links to the AP stories, and for more analysis of Obama’s speech, continue reading.
A transcript of Barack Obama’s Democratic Nominee Acceptance Speech is available HERE.
As an example of both an unfair and over-the-top old-style political attack and as an example of the very sort of vague, fuzzy statement that Obama promised to avoid, Obama said, “You know, John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives.”
Obama is clearly insinuating that McCain talks tough but has no intention of delivering on his promises to hunt for Osama bin Laden, which is plainly both false and over-the-top unfair. And then he ventures into the realm of the nebulous; when he says that McCain won’t follow bin Laden to the cave where he lives, he’s talking about Pakistan. Is Obama saying he knows what cave bin Laden lives in? And even more significantly, is he telling the American people that he plans to launch an invasion of Pakistan?
At least when President Bush invaded Iraq, he was attacking an actual enemy; Pakistan has been an important (if very imperfect) ally.
Obama said, “When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists.” Does anyone in their right mind actually believe that John McCain ever said any such thing? Further, John McCain has been as aggressive in his promise to send more troops to Afghanistan as Obama has been. McCain merely doesn’t want to transfer them from Iraq until military commanders believe such a transfer won’t undermine Iraqi stability.
And Obama said, “And today, today, as my call for a timeframe to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficit, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.” Obama is clearly referencing McCain’s “hundred years” comment. McCain said that we might be in Iraq for a hundred years as long as our troops aren’t being killed, and that we’ve been in other countries such as Germany and Japan for over 60 years now. The only thing that McCain has “stubbornly refused” to do has been to leave in failure and defeat.
Barack Obama also said, “But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but, really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time?” What Obama doesn’t mention is that he has voted with Harry Reid more than 97% of the time, in near lock-step with a Congress that currently has a 9% approval rating. What kind of judgment is Obama showing?
And the same Barack Obama who took one cheap shot after another early in his speech then attempted to pass himself off as being an incarnation of a “new style of politics” that would transcend the very attacking style of the past that he himself had just used. The only change I see in that is a candidate with more chutzpah than ever before.
Barack Obama also spends quite a bit of time decrying the economy. He said, “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. These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.” But the recent Census data demonstrate that many of his claims simply are not true. For example, read the official press release titled, “Household Income Rises, Poverty Rate Unchanged, Number of Uninsured Down.” The very title itself refutes Obama’s claims.
Obama promised, “I will — listen now — I will cut taxes — cut taxes — for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.” But recognize this: those earning less than $40,000 in taxable income a year – more than 43 million Americans, representing 41% of households – pay no federal income tax at all.
So when Obama says he will “cut taxes” for these Americans, he is frankly misrepresenting the truth. In reality, he is promising a socialistic redistribution of wealth, in which those who are already heavily taxed will be taxed more to give money to those who weren’t paying any taxes to begin with.
Moreover, lowering tax rates for those earning more not only results in an actual increase in the revenues the government actually raises, but it in fact results in the wealthier paying an actual higher percentage of the tax burden:
Tax rate reductions increase tax revenues. This truth has been proved at both state and federal levels, including by President Bush’s 2003 tax cuts on income, capital gains and dividends. Those reductions have raised federal tax receipts by $785 billion, the largest four-year revenue increase in U.S. history. In fiscal 2007, which ended last month, the government took in 6.7% more tax revenues than in 2006.
These increases in tax revenue have substantially reduced the federal budget deficits. In 2004 the deficit was $413 billion, or 3.5% of gross domestic product. It narrowed to $318 billion in 2005, $248 billion in 2006 and $163 billion in 2007. That last figure is just 1.2% of GDP, which is half of the average of the past 50 years.
Lower tax rates have be so successful in spurring growth that the percentage of federal income taxes paid by the very wealthy has increased. According to the Treasury Department, the top 1% of income tax filers paid just 19% of income taxes in 1980 (when the top tax rate was 70%), and 36% in 2003, the year the Bush tax cuts took effect (when the top rate became 35%). The top 5% of income taxpayers went from 37% of taxes paid to 56%, and the top 10% from 49% to 68% of taxes paid. And the amount of taxes paid by those earning more than $1 million a year rose to $236 billion in 2005 from $132 billion in 2003, a 78% increase.
Benjamin Franklin said, “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” You simply don’t build an economy by taking money away from those who invest and produce and give it to people who don’t. And that is precisely what the Democrats under Barack Obama fundamentally want to do.
The reality is that – in spite of all the constant negative blathering about our economy, it is largely a figment of a frankly biased media. The latest news hasn’t born out all the negativity.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy was much stronger in the spring than first thought because of better exports and less inventory liquidation by businesses, the Wall Street Journal said, according to a government report that surprised economists.
The Commerce Department said gross domestic product, or GDP., increased at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, the Associated Press reported. The revised reading was much better than the government’s initial estimate of a 1.9 percent pace and exceeded economists’ expectations for a 2.7 percent growth rate.
Barack Obama delivered a great speech on rhetoric. But it was sadly lacking in substance, and generated a lot more distortion than truth.
Tags: 90 percent, 90%, Afghanistan, attack, Barack Obama, Bush, cave, change, convention, cut, Economy, gates of hell, homes, income, John McCain, negative, Osama bin Laden, speech, taxes, text, unfair