Ezra Klein believes that this was “the most devastating line in Romney’s speech”:
“If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama? You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.”
But I suppose it depends on who Klein thinks is on the receiving end of that line.
Is the line the most devastating when it comes to a Republican audience (who, of course, largely didn’t vote for Obama and thus never felt the excitement)? Or was it a devastating thing for Democrats and fence-sitters to hear (which is, I think, what’s implied in the line)?
Staunch Republicans surely liked this line. They put it on their Facebook pages. But, by and large, they didn’t vote for Obama in 2008.
As someone who did — and who felt legitimate excitement surrounding his candidacy and election — I felt that Romney’s line fell completely flat and, in fact, served the opposite purpose from its intention.
Listening to Romney’s speech — and to the speeches that preceeded it — I was actually reminded of my excitement at Obama’s candidacy four years ago. And while it’s true that I have felt very let down at times by the policies of the Obama administration, the same is likely to be true with regard to any administration. I suspect that there were some people who were excited to vote for isolationist George W. Bush in 2000 who became much less excited by his decidedly non-isolationist policies in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.
But the policies that have made me (and likely a lot of other liberals) less excited about Obama over the past few years are policies that Romney would either continue or expand if elected. The possibility of war won’t be lessened with Romney in the Oval Office; nor will the prison at Guantanamo Bay be closed; nor will human rights be better respected; nor will the death penalty be abolished; nor will drone strikes be brought to a halt; and on and on.
And the policies with which I have been at least moderately pleased (especially social policies but some fiscal ones too) — and some longer-standing policies, especially regarding women’s rights — are, in a possible Romney administration, likely be reversed or undone. He and Paul Ryan have made promises to this effect and their plans — such as they are — seem ruinous to me, not only of the relatively fragile economy but of the whole notion of an interconnectedness amongst a citizenry.
In this sense, Romney’s speech — and the Republican convention as a whole — succeeded in highlighting why I ought to feel excited about four more years with Obama in the White House. I won’t get everything I want from Obama, but I know that I won’t get that from anyone. There is no president who will do all of the things that I want. Or that you want. But it’s very clear that a Romney presidency will do just about everything that I don’t want. The GOP has set that out in very clear terms over the past weeks, months, and — really, at this point — even years.
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